This year, Species Spotlight transitioned to Veneer Spotlight in order to examine additional veneer characteristics. In this feature, Timber Products Company Veneer Superintendent Eric Cullen looks at Plank Match veneers. See the first two articles on Slip Match and Book Match.
Plank match is when dissimilar (in color, grain or width) veneer leaves of the same species are specially selected and assembled in a specific order to create a particular look. This method creates a casual or rustic effect. The components may be of different widths within the panel face.
Plank match is the second most common match behind book match due to the popularity of rustic alder. Plank match has been popular in Europe for a long time and is gaining traction in the U.S. Plank match rotary birch and rotary maple are rising in popularity in Eastern Canada.
Reasons to Plank Match
A main reason to plank match is to achieve a look that resembles lumber planks that are edge-glued together. A secondary reason is to avoid situations where knots and knotholes achieve a less-than-desired effect. For example, knotty species that are book or slip matched may resemble a pattern that looks like bullet holes. Knotty grades are typically plank matched so knots and knotholes are distributed across the veneer and do not end up in repeating rows.
Plank matching is the method of choice to achieve a rustic look because it lacks symmetry and causes a more casual look. It is common with pine, cedar, alder, cherry, walnut, red oak, white oak and beech.
Kitchen cabinets are far and away the top use case for plank match veneers. Much of the material is sold to the Rocky Mountain region. Store fixture manufacturers are also beginning to use more plank match veneer for store sets.
One advantage of plank match is that it makes use of the entire log. In plain sliced, the developing quarters are often not used. In plank match, we can add in quarters and it improves the appearance and uses more of the veneer in a face grade application.
In plank match, mismatching is intentional and can produce the exact look desired. Knots can be placed anywhere based on how a panel is used. “Consistently inconsistent” is a good way to describe plank match because patterns do not repeat themselves.
Many people confuse matching with cutting methods. Plank match can be rotary cut, plain sliced, rift-cut or quartered veneer. Matching is not determined by the method in which the veneer is cut.
When ordering hickory, the calico appearance is often most desirable. Plank matching is a great way to achieve a calico appearance when using this species.
If you have questions about plank match veneer, contact your Timber Products Company sales representative.
Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.