Cabinet build / vaneer education before first cut.

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Forum topic by OldBull posted 06-16-2021 02:24 PM 447 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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458 posts in 449 days

06-16-2021 02:24 PM

Good Morning,

This is a case of having to learn a lot for one project. I build mostly jewelry boxes and now a project that has taken many directions makes me learn. Basically a very narrow end table between 2 chairs 23”T x 38”L x 7”W for an RV. The designer of the project was my brother who made a drawing filled with inconsistencies. I will show the (mostly) original drawing so don’t get concerned with measurements, they are all off very badly. My main areas of learning currently are joints and veneering. I need to build the initial box and join 6 pieces. 2 sides, 1 bottom, the back and another identical vertical board, then a horizontal piece up front. I had a conversation on wood movement with him and we have settled on plywood for that and weight savings. Not wanting end grain showing my guess is to veneer and edge band. The corner joints are going to be rabbets with screws (maybe brads) and glue. Some of my concerns are these.

1. He requested and drew 1/2” solid wood but changed to plywood (birch .47 by micrometer). I am a little bit concerned with a lack of strength although the cabinet is narrow and generally small with plenty of cross members. plywood + veneer using rabbets and shallow slots. Cutting rabbets and slots in 1/2” plywood is probably not going to be fun.

2. Veneer has been a seperate learning curve altogether. Even the glue selection is all over the place. I purchased titebond cold press veneer but I am not sure of it after reading a lot. Would you cut the piece then veneer or veneer then cut? Would you use a PVA like TCPV ? I am going to make my own press from cauls and flat plywood. Veneer will be 2 ply (no paper, no stickyback !!)

3. Screws or brads to hold while gluing, would screws provide extra strength overall ? If screws are used would you bondo or putty the holes ?

4. Finishing is probably going to be dark to very dark. Shellac + gel + a topcoat.

I know this is a lot but I am taking the time to ingest all of it before starting, any opinions would be greatly appreciated.

Funny story, When he laid the paper in front of me it said “light gun sprayer on rails”, I screamed like a 13 year old girl “what the hell is that”. It turned out to be a compartment for his “flashlight, his BB gun and his bug spray in a drawer” !!!

Thanks Donny

7 replies so far

View Robert's profile


4631 posts in 2634 days

#1 posted 06-16-2021 02:43 PM

First, I think 1/2” ply is too thin.

The construction method sounds ok.

Check into pva/hot iron veneer technique. I think this is a good application for larger panels if you don’t vacuum press. Another option would be paper backed veneer and contact cement.

I would probably build the cabinet first, then veneer over everything.

That said, if you use a hardwood ply it will already be veneered all you have to do is edge band. I haven’t priced any lately, that’s a decision factor.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View OldBull's profile


458 posts in 449 days

#2 posted 06-16-2021 03:03 PM

Thanks Robert, I have some Baltic birch ply , can it finish out nicely, It can be fairly dark if needed. I also have plenty of general finishes georgian cherry on hand (oil based).

View drsurfrat's profile


751 posts in 340 days

#3 posted 06-17-2021 12:24 AM

That is a lot of question to take in. It is small enough that you might want to make a prototype out of something cheap (does that exist anymore?) to practice on. For instance, if a joint/glue/veneer will hold in fiberboard, it will be good for quality plywood. Finishes, too, although that has to be checked with the final wood veneer…

-- Mike (near Boston) ... Laziness is the mother of invention, necessity is the mother of exhaustion - me

View CWWoodworking's profile


2018 posts in 1333 days

#4 posted 06-17-2021 01:07 AM

I can’t make much from your drawing but I would do all(or as much as possible) veneering before assembly.

Since it’s 2-ply, you can use something like this-

If your doing tight radius work, you should use something like this-

With 2-ply and tight radius’s, you will probably have to steam bend it. One of those clothes steamers works well.

Good luck.

View corelz125's profile


3252 posts in 2130 days

#5 posted 06-17-2021 02:09 AM

Not many here know more about veneer than cww

View shipwright's profile


8733 posts in 3952 days

#6 posted 06-17-2021 03:19 AM

Since you asked what we would do, I would build first and veneer after assembly. I would hammer veneer it with hot hide glue. It can be done after full assembly. It may not be the best for you if you aren’t up to speed on HHG and hammer veneering but that’s how I would do it.
You can also cut and dry assemble everything (mitre corners), disassemble, press your veneer, finish and last of all reassemble with glue. I would still be using HHG but you can use what you like.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View OldBull's profile


458 posts in 449 days

#7 posted 06-17-2021 07:32 PM

Thanks everyone for the help it is very much appreciated, sorry I did not reply sooner but I had a sleep study that apparently wasn’t about sleeping in a comfortable enough bed to actually sleep.

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