Veneer Sequence for the "Starburst" Pattern
by Kim Carleton Graves

When a log is cut into veneer the grain pattern changes as you go from leaf to leaf. The pattern in the first leaf can be radically different than the last leaf. This is called "pattern jump." When you're laying up one of the circular patterns, like a diamond, reverse diamond or starburst, you want to minimize the pattern jump between any two adjoining leaves. For example, if you put each adjoining leaf side by side clockwise, every leaf would only be one away from the previous leaf until you got to the last leaf where #1 leaf would be next to the last leaf. The pattern jump between the first and last leaf would be enormous and would not look good. Instead, lay up the pattern as shown on the left side of the drawing. You alternate leaves so that the even numbers go around one half of the pattern and the odds go around the other half. This way the pattern jump is no more than two leaves.

starburst1 starburst2

One problem that can arise is that quartersawn material is relatively narrow, such that each individual leaf might not be wide enough for each quadrant. You solve this problem by slip matching leaves across the quadrant (as shown on the right of the drawing) and book matching each adjacent quadrant. By doing this you minimize the pattern jump across the pattern.
The number of leaves you need depends upon how wide the material is. In the example shown, three leaves are needed for each quadrant (assuming an 8 starburst). So a total of 24 leaves are needed. NB: even though leaves may come 8' in length, on a 7' table you only use the first 3 ½' of each leaf. This may seem like you waste half of the material, but it is the only way the pattern makes sense.
You MUST put this down with glue that forms a hard glue line like urea resin (Unibond 800 is the most available). Otherwise the pattern will self-destruct.