Category: 

What Is Bookmatched?

Article Details
  • Written By: C.B. Fox
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 12 July 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
  • Print this Article
Free Widgets for your Site/Blog
In the US, workers under 25 have unemployment rates that are twice the national average.  more...

July 28 ,  1945 :  14 people were killed when a US Army bomber crashed into the Empire State building.  more...

Bookmatching is a process that turns a wooden board into two thinner pieces. Once the pieces are sawn in half, they can be opened like a book, revealing two mirror-image planks of wood. There are many different uses for wood that has been bookmatched, though it is especially useful for creating high quality musical instruments.

It is not difficult to cut a piece of lumber so that it is bookmatched. The process involves sawing the wood through the center. The bookmatched pieces are the same length and width as the original piece though each is only half as deep. Opening these two pieces like a book will reveal two pieces of lumber that are symmetrical in the grain.

Bookmatching works best in pieces of lumber that is quarter sawn. This method of cutting involves quartering a log and then sawing the quarters into boards. Though it creates fewer large boards, it improves the grain and the quality of the board. Quarter sawn boards, when bookmatched, reveal a grain that is much more symmetrical when the two pieces are opened. In musical instruments, quarter sawn lumber is ideal because the look of the wood grain is much improved and because the wood ages in a predictable way.

Ad

The most apparent reason for bookmatching a piece of wood is that the symmetrical pieces of wood form an aesthetically pleasing mirror image of one another. The grain in the wood and the pattern on it is the same on one side as the other. The technique is commonly used to form two identical sides of a piece of furniture or of a musical instrument.

The predictable aging pattern of bookmatched wood is especially important in the creation of musical instruments. The acoustic properties of many wooden instruments, such as guitars and violins, are dependent on the instrument's shape. Though the instrument is crafted with precision, over time the organic materials that make up the wood can warp due to weather conditions and age. Using lumber that has been bookmatched helps the instrument warp in a symmetrical fashion, which preserves the quality of the instrument.

Ad

More from Wisegeek

You might also Like

Discuss this Article

Post your comments

Post Anonymously

Login

username
password
forgot password?

Register

username
password
confirm
email