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Your definition of "Book matched" scales, please

TRfromMT

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All,

I have always understood "book matching" to mean that a block for scales (knife or pistol, no matter) is split in half and the sides that were facing each other are flipped out side to outside, and what was the outer faces of hte block are now pressed against the tang. This creates a mirror image, and I have always understood this as book matching.

More recently I have seen where the block is split but the slabs are put with the saw-kerf sides up to the tang. You can then see the continuous grain pattern across the tang. In more than one instance now I have heard this called book matching.

Which is correct - the first or the second description?
 

NYWoodturner

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Tony - you are correct in your understanding.
I like to book match my knife scales. It is very easy to get turned around and mess up the book match in the drilling and assembling process.
If you drill them wrong they have to go on wrong. Like you I have seen people buy book matched grains, assemble them wrong and still state that they are “bookmatched” - but your understanding is correct
 

ripjack13

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You're correct. In a simpler visual, it's exactly like opening a book....
Hence the term...book matched...
 

TRfromMT

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Well, that's what I thought. I've bookmatched veneer sheets all my life, so I though I had it right.

Cheers.
 

TRfromMT

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It turned out alright but when I glued panel together and realized what I had done it was a *^$#$@&^*^((*&&%$#$%^&&*^ moment.

I recently made two left sided grip scales for a high-end custom knife with about an $80 block of Koa. I had the same "SON OF A B!^@&!" moment and almost threw the pieces across the shop. In the end I was able to slice off the back side of the wrong one and scab on another slice of the same block of Koa. Managed to salvage it with only a thin glue line, but as my Dad used to say, it still looked like "a turd in a punch bowl" to me.
 

milkbaby

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I know there are some people who don't display the bookmatched sides of the scales outwards on a knife. There's two reasons I've heard for that: one was that the user spends more time looking at the handle from the top along the tang rather than the sides so it looks nice for the grain to match there, and two was that if you contour the scales then you often lose the matching bookmarked look. I contour my handles a LOT but I still keep the bookmatched sides outwards.
 

Foot Patrol

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I have done it both ways but lean more towards placing the book matched inward. I like the look of the scales being continuous on the spines. If you book match the scales, I have rarely had them truly match once I have grinded off what I did not want as a knife handle. Maybe some woods are better than others but I have not had any customers complaining about it.

If doing a mortised hidden tang handle you want the 2 scales to match up as close as possible.
 

Mr. Peet

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Well, that's what I thought. I've bookmatched veneer sheets all my life, so I though I had it right.

Cheers.

Sometimes Tony, it can be book matched, but additional wording might be needed to define how the match was made. Mike shows a beautiful book matched set, face to face, but they are not a mirrored book-match. Mirrored book match implies the image of one is exactly the same image as the other, as in a mirror. Newspapers used to often reverse the negative and print the mirror image, causes lots of talk. Often times the mere kerf of the saw is enough to outset a mirrored match to simply a match. You can have end-grain book matched, lots of folks show this in end-grain butcher blocks. Sometimes you see it in knife handles, but often it is not picked up quickly by site as is seen in other cut patterns.

Cutting something in half simplifies the theme book matched, however this in not always the case. On rare occasion such matches can be made with woods coming from different sources. These matches often lack complexity, simplifying the task. Sometimes a book match with 'Black cherry black knot burl' is made from different sources. Simpler sapwoods are matched and the observer fails to see the colored burling patterns to be different. This is more often accomplished in handles, were the supposed match is not directly observable (side by side) s it often is in cabinetry.

I think everyone's comments have been pretty helpful...
 

Jack "Pappy" Lewis

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I have seen some incredible examples of book matched woods...and always look to what image I can see in them....like these two ...I love the "BAT" image in the bottom pic and the face scares me!

weird-face.jpg

batwood.jpg
 

Digginestdog

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Tony's description of bookmatched is spot on, whether the wood is cut with a thin kerf blade or a chainsaw, the two pieces still fall into the category of bookmatched, as opposed to the erroneous use of the term when the same surface of a piece of wood is cut in half and those side-by-side pieces are then called bookmatched. As far as the look goes, I think it's a matter of opinion. I like both looks myself, whether the bookmatched surfaces are turned inward, so they appear "uncut", as on hidden tang knife, or outward, to show the bookmatching. However, if the halves are applied to show the bookmatching, they should line up fairly well. I've had no problems keeping the two halves lined up by using double-sided tape until I'm done drilling and shaping. One of the first knives I bought had a brass bolster and spacer near the center of the handle, and one side looks as though the pieces came from different blocks of wood. Every time I look at that knife I wonder what the heck the maker was thinking. Fortunately, the other side looks okay, so I can live with it, haha.
 

sprucegum

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I have had boards that I milled that are truly bookmatched that because of warp or cup caused by drying needed a substantial amount of material removed to true them. Often the result is a pair of bookmatched boards that look a lot alike but not identical.
 

phinds

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upload_2018-2-3_10-10-22.png

I agree w/ @Mr. Peet. Highly figured wood cut with even a thin-kerf blade can fail to exhibit anything like what I would call a book-match because there can be little to no similarity in the patterns. This is most true with black-line spalted woods which can have the two sides of what one hoped would be a bookmatch only vaguely resemble each other.

This is my favorite bookmatched veneer piece. It's what many woodworkers look like when they see a large burl on the side of a tree and they just happen to have a chainsaw in their hand.
upload_2018-2-3_10-1-47.png

and here's an example of black-line spalting that is only very nominally book-matched. It's what Mark was pointing out as "matched" instead of "mirror matched". If the cut could have been made with a ZERO-kerf blade then it would be a mirror match.
upload_2018-2-3_10-5-3.png
 
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Digginestdog

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I have had boards that I milled that are truly bookmatched that because of warp or cup caused by drying needed a substantial amount of material removed to true them. Often the result is a pair of bookmatched boards that look a lot alike but not identical.

Hi Dave. That's okay, technically they're still bookmatched. Even some wood made from thin kerf cuts don't look all that identical. I'm sure there's a grey area if too much wood is removed, and, if I were selling wood as such, I would certainly make sure the buyer understands. Also, I've seen the word sequential used for slabs, which may be a more appropriate term, especially when referring to more than two slabs from the same log.
 
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