Matching Veneer to Solid Wood Surroundings

Advice for applying veneer to MDF and finishing it to match the European steamed Beech already installed in the room. January 3, 2012

I'm building a curved-front cabinet that needs to match the wood used in the existing room architecture, European steamed beech. The curve of the front is about 10' long at about a 10' radius. I've laminated three sheets of 1/4" MDF together to form the curved substrate and I'm planning to adhere a sheet of PSA-baked beech veneer.

As my experience with veneer is limited, I would love any advice you have on preparing the MDF (a sanding sealer, 150 grit sanding, and through cleaning), applying the PSA veneer (from the center to one side, then reverse) and proper adhesion to the MDF substrate (wood scraper and elbow grease).

My biggest worry is matching the finish. The existing beech is plywood sheets and solid wood trim. It's finished with 40% sheen lacquer. I'm afraid if I use lacquer on the veneer, it won't match the existing wood and will cause adhesion problems or worse.

Forum Responses
(Veneer Forum)
From contributor U:
You can put the veneer right on the MDF. Scratch it up with a 60 grit sanding block, dust it off really well, and apply. Press it down with a scraper and elbow grease as you have suggested. In my experience, the PSA veneer likes to take the stain a shade or two darker than plywood panels of the same species. Put a few pieces of the veneer on some MDF, and make some samples to see how they match the other woods. Sometimes to get a proper match I'll sand the veneer with a finer grit than the other woods to keep it from taking too dark. The PSA is made to adhere to wood surfaces, don't apply it over a sanding sealer.