We’ve been taking a look recently at wall paneling and wood veneers, and now we’re going to dive a little deeper into the world of wood veneer matching and more specifically end-to-end vs sequence matching.
Wood veneer matching
With wood veneer matching it’s possible to achieve various visual effects, altering the appearance of a panel or even of a whole room. There is an art to veneer matching, using the natural repeat of the grain from leaf to leaf and arranging the leaves to create a variety of decorative patterns and effects on each panel, and then matching the panels together.
That makes wood veneer matching a richly complex area, so there are numerous veneer match defaults in the Architectural Woodwork Institute standards to support and guide woodworkers and design professionals. However, there are also many bespoke wood veneer matches, and challenges can arise when the default standards aren’t the matches a client is expecting, or if you as a woodworker or design professional aren’t aware of the differences in matching techniques. That can mean a job isn’t specified correctly, resulting in cost issues or losing out on projects.
Wood veneer matching is most successful for the design professional, woodworker and client when the shop drawings clearly show the matching sequence, how panels should be built and how they should be installed.
Sequence wood veneer matching
In sequence matching, veneered panels are sourced or manufactured in sequence, meaning that each consecutive panel will be well matched for both grain and color.
Sequenced panels are a uniform width and height. If more than one log is needed to produce the number of panels you need, similar logs are used so that you do not lose the overall effect. Sequence matching is best used when you need an uninterrupted panel layout, and when the design requires equal-width panels. You may lose some matching if you need to trim panels for doors or fittings within walls (which in themselves cannot usually be matched to panels).
Alternatively, you can have bespoke panels, doors and other components made to match sequentially. This requires very exact knowledge of the project, intricate coordination, longer lead times and higher cost. However, the end result is extremely impressive.
End-to-end wood veneer matching
End-to-end matching is a more technically complicated matching technique. For example, on one panel a leaf is laid, with the next leaf inverted and laid on top, followed by the next, etc. Then the panels themselves can also be inverted to create an end match.
If the log the leaves come from is a lot shorter than the room requires, you have to end match more than once – and that’s when it gets really complicated. This matching technique is quite labor-intensive, especially as the panels are often handmade. There is also typically more wastage than with other matching techniques. For these reasons, end-to-end matching is usually a more expensive matching method, but it does yield excellent results.
End matching also has to be specified by the design professional – it’s not a default matching technique. If it’s not specified the technique can be left up to the woodworker, and that can create a gap between client and design professional expectation and reality. Additionally, if it isn’t specified the cost could then increase in order to produce the originally desired outcome. In that case it would be necessary for the general contractor to satisfy the owner and the architect, getting all parties together to discuss the possibilities and still achieve a successful product.
From vertical to horizontal wood veneer matching
Over the last ten years or so, the trend has switched from vertical to horizontal wood veneer matching. This has created a new challenge for woodworkers and also means that architects who are specifying a project should have a good understanding and be aware of the differences between the two in order to create accurate shop drawings.
If you are employing the end-to-end matching technique and turned your panels from vertical to horizontal, they would have to be matched all the way around the room. That would be extremely challenging in itself, and then you also need to think about the size of the log and how many square feet are needed for the project.
You will find a lot of handy information and guidance about all types of wood veneer matching in the Architectural Woodwork Standards. This section covers specifications in detail, as well as compliance requirements.
Contact us to find out more about how you can join the American Woodwork Institute’s Quality Certification Program and build your reputation for high-quality woodwork.