Book Matching

Book matching is a great way to make interesting grain patterns on a project.

Book-matching is when you use consecutive boards from the same log to create a repeating pattern in the grain (such as with the knots in the box top above). It can make wonderful grain designs and is easy enough to do yourself with the proper tools.

To begin with, choose a piece of wood with grain that you would like to see repeated. Here I was using a chunk of cherry with a nice cathedral grain pattern.


Then simply resaw the wood into the thickness you need for your project. I like to use my bandsaw, but you can also resaw on your tablesaw.


Cut a couple slices from your board and place them together as if each piece was a page in a book.

Glue the "pages" together.

Presto - your book is created, your grain pattern is beautiful.

Depending on the wood grain you have on hand, you can produce some stunning designs. I try to look for the wildest grain I can for box tops and panels.

In the photo to the right you can see some of my collection of wood shorts, including a piece of walnut on the left that has been book matched





examples of book matching used for box tops

Look for "busy" grain and see what comes of it. As you can see, I like to use knots and other "defects" to make bold patterns.

This is also a good way to use wood that has both heart and sapwood. Woodworkers often shun sapwood because it can detract from the continuity of the color of grain in a board. I go the opposite direction. I look for sapwood.


Next time you go to the lumber yard ask to see their burn pile. You may be able to find the ends of boards that were no good for the large companies who don't have time to use wood with unique grain.


Some of my favorite boxes use wood that I found in a burn pile. I also have a habit of pulling logs from our stack of firewood to take out to the shop - hey, why not.

I use my bandsaw to cut it roughly square, then joint one side and one face. From there it's a simple matter to cut "boards" that I can book match.


The panel in the box to the right came from a piece of firewood.


We may freeze in the winter, but at least we'll have a nice box to look at while we do so.


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