A list of common terms used within the timber veneer industry is provided below.


Back: the category of cheaper veneers that are glued to the back of a panel in order to balance better-quality veneers glued to the front face.

Balanced construction: a balancing back of equal or similar density to face veneer to prevent warpage by moisture and/or pulling.

Bleed through: glue or components of glue that have seeped or penetrated through the veneer sheet and that show as a blemish or discolouration on the surface.

Blue stain: occurs where there is contact of green timber with iron or the effects of fungal attack.

Blockboard: composite board consisting of a core made up of narrow timber strips edge glued to form a slab (corestock) that is then veneered.

Birdseye: figure in veneer exhibiting numerous rounded areas resembling
small eyes.

Book-matched: veneer leaves are alternately folded out as if opening the centre spread of a book, so that one veneer is a mirror image of the next. This is the most widely used veneer matching method.

Box match: seeMethods of assembling’ page for picture.

Bundle: comprises consecutive leaves of veneer, usually bound in groups of 24 or 32 leaves.

Burl/Burr: abnormal growth resulting in tightly packed buds and knots producing highly decorative veneer that mostly appears as rings and dots.


Crazing: fine cracks that occur on or under the surface of a lacquer coating.

Cross-band: where the grain direction runs along the width of the panel. Standard practice is for veneers to be laid with the grain direction along the length of the panel (long band).

Crotch: see Flame.

Crown (cut): the appearance produced generally by the flat cut method (see 'Different veneer cuts’ page for diagram).

Curl: see Flame.

Cure: the irreversible process of changing the physical properties of an adhesive (hardening) by chemical reaction to attain bond.

Curly: is a strong irregular figure found in North American Maple and Birch.


Delamination: separation of veneers from substrate through failure of the bond.

Diamond matched: see Methods of assembling’ page for picture.


Edge strip: a protective strip of solid wood or laminated veneer edging applied to the edge of a panel.

End match: see Methods of assembling’ page for picture.


Face: a term used to describe better quality veneers that are used to cover the visible surfaces of a panel.

Figured: the markings, often forming wavy shimmering patterns. These may be regular or irregular, ranging from fiddleback to block figure.

Flame: otherwise known as curl or crotches. This veneer is from the fork in a tree and the pattern resembles a flame.

Flat cut: generally produces veneer with crown cut appearance.

Flitch: pieces of wood sawn from a log for slicing into veneers or sequential bundles of sliced veneers.

Four way match: see quarter matched.


Glassworm: straight diagonal tracks of distorted grain which usually intersect.

Grain: the direction and arrangement of the fibres in timber and veneer.

Gum vein: a ribbon of resin between growth rings, common in Eucalypts.


Herringbone match: see Methods of assembling’ page for picture.

Hob-nail: series of brown spots caused by infestation.


Inlays: pieces of veneer or other material which are inserted into the face of veneered board to produce borders or other special patterns.


Knot: a portion of a branch that is enclosed by the natural growth of the tree (refer picture under mismatched/random matched).


Layon: veneers joined to create a usable size sheet.

Log: the full complement of veneer produced from a log of a tree.

Long band: where grain direction runs along the length of the panel.

LVE (Laminated Veneer Edging): is produced by laminating veneer together and is used as a substitute for solid timber.


Marquetry: the process of laying relatively small pieces of veneer to make decorative pictures or patterns.

MDF (Medium Density Fibreboard) also known as Customwood and Craftwood: building boards made from fibres of wood bonded together with resin under pressure.

Medullary rays: also called pith rays or wood rays, extend radially from the pith outwards as ducts to convey moisture and nutrition more easily and rapidly through the tree. In quarter cut treated White Oak the rays maintain their original colour and appear as flecks or ‘silver grain’.

Mill run: veneer delivered from the production line unsorted and without grading. Usually has a combination of backing and face grade material in varying percentages.

Mineral stain: naturally occurring discolouration of the wood caused by elements in the soil.

Mismatched: see random matched.

Moulded (curved) plywood: layers of veneer bonded together and moulded by pressure into a variety of shapes.


Particleboard: (chipboard) building boards made from small chips of wood bonded together with glue under pressure.

Picket fence: book matching veneer strips appearing alternately light and dark.

Pips: small circular distortions in the grain.

Plywood: an assembled product made up of 3 or more plies bonded together with the direction of the grain in alternate plies usually at right angles.

Pommele: a scalloped figure, most usually found in Mahogany.

Profile wrapping: a range of wood veneered profiles can be produced through the profile wrapping process enabling manufacturers to complement their products with matching veneer wrapped profiles.


Quarter (cut): the appearance produced generally by the quarter cut method but also includes false quarter that is produced by the flat cut method (see 'Different veneer cuts’ page for diagram).

Quarter matched: this is the most common method of joining burls. The pattern can be continued in all directions until the required panel size is obtained. These panels can be continued in a sequence-matched manner.

Quilted: blistered appearance, shimmering scalloped pattern.


Random matched: individual leaves are random matched for effect. Knotty Radiata Pine is often laid this way. This is done to disperse characteristics such as clusters of knots evenly across the sheet.

Reverse box match: see Methods of assembling’ page for picture.

Reverse diamond match: see Methods of assembling’ page for picture.

Reverse slip matched: veneer leaves are slip matched, and then every second leaf is turned end for end. The method is used to ‘balance’ crowns in the leaves so that all the crowns do not appear at one end.

Rift cut: a variation on the quarter cut appearance specifically used to eliminate medullary ray in White and Red Oak, which results in a broader stripe.

Rotary cut: veneer is peeled (as opposed to sliced) from a log by turning it against a knife that is stationary.


Sapwood: the outer wood of the tree immediately under the bark. Generally it is lighter in colour than the heartwood, which is the part of the tree that is used for veneer.

Semi rotary cut: veneer produced when log or flitch is clamped off centre in the lathe, and advancing knife peels individual sheets/leaves.

Sequence-matched: a method of arranging veneer faces so that each face is in order relative to its original position in the tree and therefore contains features of grain and figures similar to adjacent faces.

Sheet length: dimension in the direction of the grain of the face of the sheet.

Sheet width: dimension perpendicular to the direction of the grain of the face.

Sliced veneer: a knife stroked across a flitch repeatedly in a flat plane, produces individual leaves.

Slip-matched: veneer leaves are kept face up and laid side by side. This style results in the same grain pattern being repeated at the width of each layon across the layon.

Soft forming: laminating veneer onto bullnosed edges.

Spliced veneer: a veneer sheet made by edge gluing together jointed veneers.

Stitched: veneer leaves are pulled together and held in place by fibreglass glue thread applied in a zig-zag pattern to the underside of the veneer.

Sunburst: see Methods of assembling’ page for picture.

Substrate: base panel on to which veneer layons are applied.

Sugar: darker markings that resemble clusters of sugar crystals.


Trimming: process of squaring and sizing panels to final face dimensions.


V match: see Methods of assembling’ page for picture.