Got the veneering done last weekend. Learned quite a bit. Some helpful tips, for anyone interested: If it's your first time, I'd recommend using paper back veneer (not raw wood), unless you have a vacuum press. I imagine it's alot more forgiving. Flatter, easier to glue down, less likely to tear and split. Dtsdig explained his process of gluing down his paper backed veneer with contact cement and it sounded much easier than what I went through. As mentioned earlier in the thread, my ash veneer was far from flat. I was able to apply enough even pressure on all the flat (non curved) sides, to get the veneer glued down flat. But on the curved sides, my strap jig didn't apply anywhere near the amount of pressure I needed to get the veneer pressed flat. And I cranked the straps almost to the point of breaking them. What I ended up with was "ripples" on the curved sides. Luckily, I applied enough glue to actually fill out those ripples and adhere all the veneer without any bubbles. And even more luckily, the ripples were shallow enough to where I was actually able to sand them out. I came pretty close in some spots though...I started to see the veneer glue seep through the grain where I sanded the most. And I'll only get away with that because I'm dying the cabinets dark enough to cover up any glue bleed through.
As far as cold press veneer glue, I tried Better Bond and Titlebond. I ended up liking Better Bond more. It's thicker and easier to work with. When I rolled the titlebond, it ran and thinned out too easily. That resulted in some spots drying before I could get the veneer pressed down. The Better Bond sat up better and stayed thick.
My other big issue was the veneer splitting at edges. I didn't have any big tear out spots, but I did fill small cracks and chipped corners with bondo wood filler. On my tests, the cured bondo didn't take dye as well as the ash veneer did, so I actually ended up putting a couple drops of dye into the bondo while mixing it. It still cured hard with the dye in it, and now those spots will end up a little darker, so I think it'll blend in with the grain once the finish is complete.
Overall, I'm pretty happy how the veneer job came out. All the mistakes were correctable. I think if I veneer in the future, I'll do it with a vacuum press setup. A vacuum press would also help get curved layers built.
I also got the crossovers all soldered up with wiring and connectors this week. I'm planning to spray dye/shellac/top coat this weekend and maybe even have the speakers finished early next week! I'll post my final process for the finish soon too.
Once the veneer was glued flat and sanded down, the curl really started to pop.