The slicing process is composed of several techniques: rotary slicing, quarter slicing, plain slicing, rift slicing and half-round slicing. Each of these methods will produce a very distinctive type of grain depending upon the species selected.
A log is mounted in a lathe and turned against a blade. Thin slices are peeled from the log in an almost continuous role. This method produces a variety of patterns as the blade slices through successive growth rings. The grain pattern is inconsistent making the leaves more difficult to match. Some species, however, are rotary cut, sliced into leaves and sequenced much like plain sliced veneers.
As the name implies, the log is sliced into quarters before slicing the veneer. The knife slices through the quartered log at approximately a right angle to the growth rings. The resulting grain pattern is typically straighter in most species. In some specie, principally oak, quarter slicing produces a unique "flake" pattern that is created as the knife bisects radial tubules in the log structure called medullary rays.
Plain Sliced or flat sliced veneers are made by sawing the log parallel to the center or cut line. Leaf widths vary by the distance from the center and are wider than quartered or rift cut veneers. The grain pattern produced is commonly referred to as "cathedral" or "flame" shaped.
Rift slicing or cutting is most often used with oak when the “flake” or medullary rays are not desired. This is achieved by slicing the quartered log at an angle to the growth rings. The process involves placing the quartered log in a lathe and adjusting the blade angle to obtain a straight rift grain pattern.