The Art of Book-Matching Veneer

One of the most fun and artistic aspects of creating a handbag is when we incorporate book-matched veneers into the body of the purse.
What is "book-matching"? This is the technique of matching 2 or more sequential leaves of a flitch (or bundle) of veneer so that the 2 adjoining surfaces mirror each other, giving the impression of an opened book.
The images below show a flitch of Royal Ebony closed and opened.
Read on for more on this process...

The artistic next step...
The fun and artistic part happens when we start fooling around with the figures to create the pattern we ultimately want to use.
As shown below, we decided to cut this Cerejeira Crotch into smaller pieces and then book-match those. This created a more dramatic figure!

And now the technical part of book-matching...
The veneer is carefully matched by eye, looking for any small flaws that may have to be trimmed out. The packet is placed in a jig and a teeny tiny amount is trimmed. The packet is reopened on the work table and the back side is taped.

On the front side of the packet, veneer tape is cut, moistened and placed over the seam to pull the seam together and keep it stable when it comes time to glue the body. After drying, the blue tape is removed from the back, and the piece is precisely cut to the desired pre-glued dimension.

Do this 2X and we now have the front and back of the handbag.
All this BEFORE we even create the actual body...Whew!