Making Hidden Cross-Grain Joints

Joining veneer along the grain is simple - the join just disappears into the natural grain variation. However there are times when you need to make a join across the grain - perhaps to make a long enough piece for a large picture, or maybe for the border or edge of your work.

Quentin Smith describes a straightforward method for producing almost invisible joints.

photograph photograph photograph

A straight cut join across the grain will almost always be visible (here the veneers are just overlapped, but the effect is the same). Lighter veneers are particularly prone to showing cross-grain joins.

Cut the end of one veneer into long, thin points. Some well-behaved veneers (as here) can be cut using sharp scissors - but for others a knife is better. Avoid making the points too regular - some variations in length and width of the points will help to hide the final join.

Lay the new points over the second veneer and carefully cut through with a sharp scalpel. Make sure to hold each point firmly in its 'natural' position - any sideways pressure from the knife will move the point and make an inaccurate cut. Push the points together and check the fit - adjust as necessary.


Ease the joint slightly open and rub glue into the gap, then push the pieces closely together and tape. Scrape off any excess glue and leave to set. After scraping and sanding the join should be invisible to all but the most experienced eye and it is also much stronger than a straight join - after all, there is at least 4-6 times more glued edge!

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