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Rotary Cut vs Flat Cut Veneers

Plain Sliced (or flat cut) veneer: Plain Sliced (or flat cut) veneer is the most commonly used to produce solid oak floors. In this method, the log is repeatedly sliced parallel to the center. It’s the same way most boards are cut, just in much thinner layers.

Rotary-cut veneer: Rotary-cut veneer is used to make many unfinished engineered hardwood planks. This veneer is created by spinning the log and peeling off a continuous sheet. Think of a roll of paper towels, and you get the idea. This is the least-expensive way to produce the veneer, and it can be laid onto the plywood core layers in one big sheet, so this type of plywood is usually the least expensive, as well. Rotary-cut veneer has wild, random grain patterns so please be aware before you purchase this type of flooring.

Rift-sawn veneer: If you’re after a more straight-grained look for your plywood project, you’ll want to look for a sheet with rift-sawn veneer. It’s made by tilting the log to a slight angle, so that the slices are more perpendicular to the growth rings. Just like with the plain-sliced, the slices get laid out side by side, but the grain pattern shows up as fairly straight lines instead of as a repeating arches.Also, expect to pay more of a premium price for rift-sawn because the veneer-making process is more involved and creates more waste.

Quartersawn veneer: One more type of veneer, called quartersawn, is also made for very specialized applications. Oak is probably the most common species that gets made into quartersawn flooring because oak, when cut this way, has distinctive “flecks” in the grain. Other species are made in quartersawn, too, but they’re less common.

Photos of Rotary Cut Veneers

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