Watch Book Matching Made Easy Video on YouTube

In my last blog I gave what I hope was a thorough explanation of Basic Wood Veneering Techniques.  If you haven’t seen that yet then please check it out and let me know how you like it.  Anyway, the real fun with veneering begins when you start book matching!  And, that’s just what this post is about.

Book matching is when two consecutive sheets of veneer are laid next to each other so that each sheet is a mirror image of the other.

Two way book match

A simple two way book match (side to side match)

Veneer can be matched side to side or end to end.  When these matches occur simultaneously we call that a 4 way book match.

4 way book match

4 way book match

You can easily preview any book match prior to cutting with mirrors. Set a mirror on its edge anywhere on a sheet of veneer to see what a simple two way book match would look like.

previewing a 2 way book match with one mirror

Previewing a 2 way book match with a mirror

You can preview a 4 way book match by setting two mirrors at a 90 degree angle on a piece of veneer.  I have two mirrors in my shop that are taped together that I use just for this.  The tape acts as a hinge and I can preview what a match would look like at any angle.


Preview a 4 way book match by setting two mirrors on the veneer at a 90 degree angle.

The first step in book matching is to select and mark exactly where you would like the match to occur. The intersection where the four sheets meet will be the focal  point of the pattern.  Set the two mirrors in a corner on one sheet of veneer.  Where the two mirrors meet will show you a preview of that focal point.  Adjust the position  of the mirrors until you see a pattern that you like.  Then mark that spot with a pencil.

Mark where you want the match to occur

Mark where you want the match to occur

Next hold one end of a mirror on the point that you marked and adjust the other end of the mirror  until you see a pattern that you like.  Mark this line with a pencil.

Adjust the match

Adjust the match after marking the focal point.

After I cut along that line I will joint the edges with some sandpaper.  Read more about jointing with sandpaper in my Basic Veneering Techniques article.


Cut along the line you just marked

Joint the edge

Joint the edge with some sandpaper

After edge jointing the first piece lay it over the next sheet and adjust its position until you have a perfect match along.  This is easier if you match a single point on one end and then match another single point on the other end.  Then mark this line with a pencil while the two pieces are still in place.

Mark overlap

Overlap the two sheets and mark that line with a pencil.

Then use one of those sheets to find the match on a third piece of veneer.  Match, mark, cut, and joint the third and fourth sheets just as you did with the first two.  Then tape each of the matched sets together.

Tape veneer together

Tape each of the two halves together

Now you should have two sets of 2-way book matched veneer that are identical to each other.  The next step is to locate where the match line for those two sets.  (match the ends together)

Place a carpenter’s square on the mark you made earlier for the focal point.  Then align the other side of the square where the two sheets are joined together.  Now you know where to mark and cut the ends.

Mark the perpendicular cut line

Mark the perpendicular cut line

Cut and joint the first set of veneer on the line you located with the carpenter’s square.  Then overlap this with the remaining set of veneer.  Then locate, mark, cut, and joint along the match line just as you did earlier.

Overlap the two halves and mark that

Overlap the two halves and find the line where the two halves match perfectly

That’s it!  Now you just tape them together and you are done!

Veneer with tape

Veneer with tape

Finished project

Finished project

I sincerely hope you liked this article and I would love it if you left a comment to let me know what you thought about it.  Please check out my other blog posts on veneering:

Basic Wood Veneering Techniques Made Easy

How to Repair Holes in Figured Veneer