Simple Jigs and Techniques #3: Matching Short Grain Veneer Border

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Blog entry by shipwright posted 418 days ago 1570 reads 4 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Precision Router Jig for Straight Lines. Part 3 of Simple Jigs and Techniques series Part 4: Veneer Press Screws for $4.50 »

As the series title says, this is a simple technique but when I discovered it it was a “Dohhh !!!” moment so I thought I might spare someone the pain. I like to use short grain borders, especially nice straight grains like cedar on picture frames, table tops and that sort of thing. I never had a problem getting good fits at the joints but often matching the grain was a bit of a challenge….. then one day this arrived in my (slow) brain and now it is a breeze even when the grain isn’t at 90 degrees to the edge.

Here are a series of pieces cut from a piece of cedar veneer about 6” wide. The grains are similar but the joints need help.

Just rotate one piece 180 degrees and slip it under the adjacent one. The grains will lay parallel even if the angle is not 90 degrees. If you sequence the pieces as you cut them off the long piece, the grains will be almost identical (for straight grain woods).

Hold the pieces with their edges even and take them to any sander. I’m using a belt sander here. Sand them parallel to the grain. Pay no attention to square. As long as your edges remain parallel the resulting strip will be straight.

Re-butt the pieces and fit the next one before fixing this one with a bit of veneer tape and carry on until you have a full length strip to fit your project.

The finished border can have an interesting and different effect.

I know that this is not news to a great many of you but it was a significant enough penny drop moment for me that I thought it was worth posting.

Thanks for looking in.


-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fiberglass trees.

13 comments so far

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


14721 posts in 2301 days

#1 posted 418 days ago

News to me. I’ll never do enough to figure this out. Nothing beats years of experience. Thanks for the post.

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

7675 posts in 2678 days

#2 posted 418 days ago

Very good!

Thank you.

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:"

View vipond33's profile


1405 posts in 1123 days

#3 posted 418 days ago

There’s quite a bit of difference from this and using small pieces. In much cross banding sometimes you flip them for match and sometimes you emphasize the flow in a pattern. Wide pieces are harder, but if dimensioned well are really lovely overall. This is a good trick for those straight grained laced up types.

-- gene@toronto.ontario.canada : dovetail free since '53, critiques always welcome.

View ScaleShipWright's profile


240 posts in 511 days

#4 posted 417 days ago

Thanks for the tip Paul

-- God exists... But relax, He's not you!

View stefang's profile


12873 posts in 1960 days

#5 posted 417 days ago

It’s news to me Paul. It looks like you did some creative lateral thinking, as this is basically the same principle as jointing two boards face to face at the same time so that the edge matches no matter if it is out of square, except of coarse on a different plane. It looks like a really useful technique for a woodworker to have in his bag of tricks. I like the short grain look too. Thanks for this excellent tip.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Schwieb's profile


1494 posts in 2087 days

#6 posted 417 days ago

I think I understand this coach. I do a similar strategy when I am gluing up boards for panels. Even though I try to keep my saw and jointer square. This way I am always gluing up complementary angles of the edges relative to the face. Love the frame and the contrasting wood on the desk top is a nice touch.

-- Dr. Ken, Florida - Durch harte arbeit werden Träume wahr.

View Roger's profile


14318 posts in 1430 days

#7 posted 417 days ago

Everything you do is significant, Paul.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe.

View Bluepine38's profile


2876 posts in 1711 days

#8 posted 417 days ago

Great and simple way to match grain, and it can be used on larger pieces of wood also. Thank you once again
for sharing.

-- As ever, Gus-the 75 yr young apprentice carpenter

View mauibob's profile


180 posts in 1693 days

#9 posted 417 days ago

Have also done this with boards, but never thought of using it for short grain borders. Thanks for the great tip, Paul!

-- Bob, Potomac, MD

View Jim Rowe's profile

Jim Rowe

547 posts in 938 days

#10 posted 417 days ago

Thanks for the tip. I now see how nice your desk top is!!

-- It always looks better when it's finished!

View Mauricio's profile


6798 posts in 1777 days

#11 posted 416 days ago

Thanks for sharing Paul.

-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch

View lightweightladylefty's profile


2633 posts in 2338 days

#12 posted 414 days ago


So many useful tips you share! Now, if only I could remember them.


-- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View Roz's profile


1659 posts in 2412 days

#13 posted 394 days ago

Paul, I like your tips and pointers. I appreciate you sharing your skill and years of experience with us. Thanks. TLR

-- Terry Roswell, L.A. (Lower Alabama) "Life is what happens to you when you are making other plans."

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