Common Wood Door Cuts

Wood door grain pattern and consistency is determined by the type of veneer cut. Here is a quick guide to help you understand the variations in natural wood veneers.

Plain Sliced or Flat Cut

Plain Sliced or Flat Cut veneers are the result of sawing a log parallel to the center or cut line.

  • Leaf widths vary based on log size and location of center cut
  • Offers greater consistency and straight grain patterns
  • One of the most preferred cuts for architectural doors

Rotary Cut

Rotary Cut veneers are the result of turning a blade in a continuous roll against a log mounted on a lathe.

  • Produces a variety of patterns and wide sheets
  • Blade slices through the path of the growth rings
  • Grain pattern is naturally inconsistent making the leaves difficult to match

Quarter Cut

Quarter Cut veneers are the result of slicing flat through a quartered log.

  • Produces a narrow striped pattern
  • Blade slices at a right angle against the growth rings
  • Tight vertical grain eliminates arches and cathedral patterns found in Plain Sliced veneer
  • This cutting method produces a visual characteristic commonly known as flake. The flake may appear rough and is not considered a defect.

Rift Cut

Rift Cut veneers are the result of slicing a quartered log against the growth rings.

  •  Only available in oak species
  • Reduces the “flake” effect
  • Produces a narrow striped pattern similar to Quarter Cut

Benefits of Factory-Finished Stained Wood Doors

  • Stains that highlight natural wood surfaces
  • Design flexibility to pair stain colors with wood veneers
  • Factory-finishing for consistency
  • Added layer of protection and durability for natural wood veneers
  • Popular colors that reflect current trends
  • Timeless quality and enduring beauty to shape environments that are unique, yet timeless across projects

Color Variation

Natural Wood is Anything but Standard

The color and grain of natural wood veneers are neither uniform nor predictable.

Soil content, weather and other environmental factors play a role in wood’s appearance and color, even among the same species.

If you’re looking for color consistency in your project, contact Doors Unlimited to discuss options for customization.

Heartwood vs Sapwood

It Starts with Structure

Distinguished by differences in color, which can be dramatic in some species, heartwood is noticeably darker than sapwood  and has more variations. When you specify a natural veneer, it may include multiple hues due to the variance that occurs throughout the log.

Heartwood (darker): Inner, older part of the tree that is no longer active.

Sapwood (lighter): Outer, living and active part of the tree that carries the nutrients necessary for a tree to grow.

Barber Pole Effect

Cut and Finishing Techniques Matter

As logs are sliced into veneer, each leaf has a tight side and a loose side.

Compression of the natural grain occurs on the inner side (tight side) of the leaf as it passes over the knife. The outer side (loose side) reacts to the cut with a slight expansion of the grain.

When the veneer leaves are book matched — every other leaf is turned over — the cuts can reflect light differently and display pale and dark stripes similar to a traditional barber pole across a door face. Adding finish to the veneer, such as stain, accentuates this phenomenon.

The Barber Pole Effect is not considered a manufacturing defect and is a natural occurrence in practically all cuts of wood veneer.