When a log is sliced, the width of the leaves are a function of the size of the log, the slicing method and the distance if the slice from the diameter of the log. To make a veneer panel, the leaves are cut to width and spliced together. The manner in which these are arranged or spliced is called matching and has a dramatic effect on the appearance.
Alternating pieces of veneer are flipped over so they face each other as do the pages within a book. This creates a pleasing, symmetrical pattern.
Veneer slices are joined in sequence without flipping the pattern. If the grain is straight, the joints will not be obvious.
Random matching is just what it sounds like. Usually done with lower grades of veneer, the leaves may be of varying width, colors and grain.
Veneer is matched by color but not by grain pattern.
One leaf is spliced end to end with another leaf to create a longer panel or piece of veneer. End matching is often used to extend the apparent length of available veneers for high wall panels and long conference tables. End matching occurs in two types: Architectural end matching, where leaves are individually book (or slip) matched, first end-to-end and then side-to-side, alternating end and side. This produces the best continuous grain patterns for length as well as width. The second end match is Panel End Match, where leaves are book or slip matched on panel subassemblies, with sequenced sub-assemblies end matched, resulting in some modest cost savings on projects where applicable. For most species, Panel End Match yields pleasing blended appearance and grain continuity.
Balance Matching has a symmetrical appearance. Each face is assembled from an even or odd number of pieces of uniform width before trimming. This match reduces veneer yield.