Grain Cuts and Joints
We hope everyone is having a successful 2020 so far. This year, we wanted to give you more of a behind-the-scenes look at what makes us tick here at Shape. This month, we are spotlighting timber and a selection of details; Grain Cuts and Joints. Get in touch if you spot any nice examples of these out in the wild!
The way the timber is sliced to produce solid panels or veneers affects the resulting grain pattern, producing varying degrees of wavy to straight lines. The resulting patterns will vary between species of timber, however generally, the typical patterns outlined below should give a good indication of the most common cuts.
Photography by Adam Scott
Bookended – Whilst timber is cut in narrow planks, we often want to create panels that are larger than the width of the plank. To achieve a seamless finish, the planks are bookended, where matching sides are placed adjacent to each other, creating the illusion of a wider panel and repeating the natural pattern of the grain from leaf to leaf.
Grain Matched – When creating a set of drawer or cupboard fronts, it is important to ensure the grain runs consistently between panels. This can either be created by a single large panel (that is often created from bookmatched veneers) being cut into smaller panels, or using a crown cut to dissect the timber into matching sections, which are bookmatched to create the continuous grain pattern.
Also known as plain-sawn, this is produced by cutting the log in consistent straight strips across the breadth of the trunk. It is one of the most common veneer types, and produces a wavy or arcing decorative pattern in the grain. Due to the timber being cut in adjacent slices, you can achieve a good grain matched finish.
A rotary cut cuts the timber in a continuous spiral. As the veneer (a very thin slice of timber, that is bonded to MDF or another substrate) continues, the wavy pattern varies as the lathe traverses the tree’s growth rings. It is the most economical method of cutting as there is very little waste, however you cannot bookmatch the veneers as each section is different.