WoodSkills Issue 02 - Page 107


Each board of figured wood has slightly different characteristics from another board of the same species. Continuity between slices is achieved through a method of resawing slices to form a flitch. This ensures that the grain pattern or figure is matching. Veneer slices from the flitch are then slip-matched together. Grain matching is an important criterion in furniture making. There is considerably less clash in wood graphics when using this approach. Book-matching is another method of joining figured wood veneer slices. In book-matching, the slices are joined at their common edge. The pattern then becomes a mirror image on both sides of the veneer sheet. Using these methods of combining wood slices into a veneer sheet, many possibilities are available of using figured wood veneers in a furniture piece.

Having resawn a considerable amount of boards into veneers, I plan the number of slices necessary and seek boards from which to acquire the slices. The slices often need to be combined into wider sheets for the sides of cabinets. In the case of wide sheets, two slices are necessary. The use of figured woods can introduce a new dimension to your furniture designs. No longer does furniture need to be uniform in grain and consistent in appearance. Figured woods enhance the appeal of furniture. The focal point often shifts to the figured wood instead of the overall design and this needs to be factored in. Figured woods could be interpreted as nature’s own abstract wood art. Furniture incorporating figured wood can be viewed as a form of art. I consider this furniture purely functional but exhibiting elements of art.

Ovoid-shaped side table with highly-figured Tiger Maple top.

The exciting figure draws the eye into the unique design.