I'm working on some plans for a new entertainment center, built like a built in bookshelf for my house. I plan on making it out of walnut, but I can't find any local supply for walnut plywood. The whole thing will be base cabinets with bookshelves on top. I'm looking to veneer the top for the base cabinets, everything else with be rail/style paneled inside and out, probalby ship lap backs. I had a few questions about skill level/tools needed, I've never done any veneer.
Do you have to have a vacuum press to do something like this? The biggest piece will be about 2' x 6'. It seems like the methods I've read about so far are either the older hammer veneering or vaccuum bag, not sure which route to take.
What's the thickest veneer I can use? I've read 1/8" but no experience. Also is it acceptable to apply it thicker then plane the veneered piece down to under max veneer thickness?
Is this a project that a beginner can have a good shot at good results? It's for me, but this will be a big investment in time and not easily repaired.
Do I need to glue the edge of veneer strips together to keep them from splitting? I've read some articles that say yes, some that don't mention it. I'm not sure how to edge glue really thin veneer either.
Do I have to go cross grain of the top of the plywood? Due to the 6' length, I don't want to have to do two layers if I don't have to. Also would MDF be a better choice?