A basic wood working project, I hope.

Hi All,
I've got some basic questions about a project I plan on starting in the next couple of weeks. I plan to build a small case, similar to a clock case. The front will have a few shapes cut out of it, some for windows to the interior, and some will have hardware mounted.
Dimensions will be approximately 18" tall, 8" deep, 12" wide. The top will be round, a half cylinder.
I plan on making this out of MDF and then veneering. Then adding some routed/shaped trim to the bottom as a base.
I was thinking of using 1/2 inch MDF with lots of 1/4 inch rabbet joints. I'm not too worried about figuring out the joinery; that comes pretty naturally to me and I'lve already drawn up how most of it will work. Also, 18 pieces go around the top for the curve. Then I'll sand those to the final shape.
Then apply veneer, to the three surfaces that need it: front, back, sides countinuous around the top.
Then route and drill "ports" on the front and somehow, not sure yet, saw a door out of the back.
Finally join some trim pieces to go around the bottom edge of the case.
My big questions:
0) Anything I'm missing, or does this sound like a reasonable approach? Reality checks and warnings greatly appreciated.
1) Is 1/2 inch MDF all right for this? I like that it lets me have big (1/4") rabbets for the joints. Maybe I should go to 3/8 MDF and 1/8 rabbets?
2) How can I get stock for the final trim (1"x2") that comes close to matching the veneer used? I don't have any materials for this yet, so can I order them as matching or something?
3) Any other tips for someone starting out in this? I feel pretty confidant in my abilities with the tools, but I'm a little unsure about working with veneer. Gotta start somewhere I suppose. Any tips on this? This will be a big step up from the solid wood, basic square stereo cabinet sort of work that I've done in the past.
In case it matters, I'm in Minneapolis, and it looks like there are a few decent shops aroud for this project, (Rockler and more) but I haven't visited any of them yet.
Thanks for any input... James Fraser
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
James Fraser wrote:

Sounds reasonable to me ______________

Given the inherent weakness of MDF I'd use the thicker. _______________

Best you can do is buy the same species. _________________

What I'm wondering is, why bother with veneered MDF? Why not just use solid wood? It would be less work.
Veneering isn't all that hard but is a bit finicky and easy to mess up.
--

dadiOH
____________________________
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Thanks for the response.

I was afraid of that. Maybe this is why I should move to solid wood.

I'm really leaning toward veneered MDF for two reasons: 1) cheaper, easier to rework mistakes (with a new piece of MDF if needed.) 2) The corner detail will be much easier, particularly around the curved top. I can have exposed "end grain" that will get hidden with veneer.
...

Thanks again... James Fraser
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Sounds like fun. Without suggesting different ways to get to the same place I'll just give some input on this specific ided.
1. 1/2 MDF boxed up will be fine. 2. Matching veneer to solid stock shouldn't be too hard. Get the veneer first and then shop for the same species of stock, or just go with something darker. Use some mineral spirits to wet the veeneer and solid stock to see how well they really match. Some lumber shops I visit actually have MS laying around so you can see the figure, etc. If you use a common species you should be able to find a fine match easy and you can also tone the look of the fonished piece as part of the stain\finish process. 3. Unless you really need to cutout curvey shapes for your openings, consider making the box out of MDF as you planned and building a frame and doors for front and back from solid stock. You might have to think about the joints a little different but the edge grain of a frame should be pleasing and acceptable if mounted on front of the box vs mitered or rabitted corners. 4. Consider using wiggle wood or bendy board for the curved top. Just cut the front and back of the box with super acurate curves using a router tramel or other method then lay up several layers of bendy board to the 1/2 thickness to match the sides. Then veneer over it in th same way. This will save the hassle of building a barrel roof and be a perfect radius. Trust me unless you have some very sophisticated tools your sanding out the shape may look like it was done by Noah with an adz.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.