The first step in processing logs into "flitches" is the selection and grading of the logs. At this point a veneer mill logger will select which logs will be sliced into plain, figured, or standard architectural veneer logs. After the initial selection, the ends of each of the logs are cut off to expose the fresh grains, enabling the logger to select which of the logs will be cut into quarters, halves, or left round for a rotary cutting. The logs are then debarked to expose the fresh faces of each log, showing any blemishes or knots which did not appear through the bark. Following the debarking, they are marked and either left whole for rotary cutting or cut into two, three or four pieces, depending on the size of the log and its species.
These parts of the tree are called flitches, and each is numbered and the size of the flitch tallied. Some specific species are usually selected for half-round cut and must be cut differently.