Veneering an assembled cabinet

I'm trying to veneer the top of a speaker cabinet. The cabinet is already assembled, from 3/4" MDF joined with biscuited butt joints and yellow glue, and the top is 16"x16" outside dimensions. I'm looking at my options for assembling the veneer.
1) Iron on with thermoplastic glue. This is what I'm using for the simpler side panels, but for the top, I am assembling a more complex pattern with many pieces. I did a few tests, and shrinkage and curling makes it next to impossible to assemble without gaps. 2) Contact cement. Would this address the problems with assembly, and does it bond veneer well? 3) Assemble veneer with veneer tape, then glue with yellow glue, clamps and cauls. I am a little worried about blowing up the cabinet with too much clamping pressure. 4) Vacuum pressing seems very risky in terms of destroying the assembled cabinet.
Any other ideas? What would YOU do if it were your project?
Thanks!!
Martin
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: 1) Iron on with thermoplastic glue. This is what I'm using for the : simpler side panels, but for the top, I am assembling a more complex : pattern with many pieces. I did a few tests, and shrinkage and curling : makes it next to impossible to assemble without gaps. : 2) Contact cement. Would this address the problems with assembly, and : does it bond veneer well?
Nope.
: 3) Assemble veneer with veneer tape, then glue with yellow glue, clamps : and cauls. I am a little worried about blowing up the cabinet with too : much clamping pressure.
Why not combine (1) and (3)? Tape up the pattern, then put on yellow glue, wait for it to dry, then iron it on.
    -- Andy Barss
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Andrew Barss wrote:

Tried that. The veneer curls when the glue is applied, the tape comes off, wet glue squeezes through the curled joints and makes a mess, and then when ironing it on, the shrinkage opens gaps. Big mess!
> A additional suggestion. You could glue the pattern onto a single > piece of veneer, between two sheets of plywood/MDF, using either > cauls or vacuum. After that's dry, attach the whole thing to the > top of the cabinet with thermoplastic glue.
Great idea! I'll have to try this. I've been going through a lot of scrap veneer, one more test won't hurt!! ;)
Thanks, Martin
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A additional suggestion. You could glue the pattern onto a single piece of veneer, between two sheets of plywood/MDF, using either cauls or vacuum. After that's dry, attach the whole thing to the top of the cabinet with thermoplastic glue.
    -- Andy Barss
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