A solid oak desk would weigh far too much for me to handle alone, so I intend to build it as 3 components: two "drawer pedestals" and a top assembly which includes the center drawer as well as the uppermost right an left drawers.
Rather than construct the writing surface from solid oak, I am considering constructing a 1" thick torsion box from 1/4 (nominal) luan plywood sandwiching a grid of pine. The box would be veneered and then trimmed with a perimeter of solid oak with mitered corners. I believe that this approach will give me lighter and more dimensionally stable top. I could potentially glue and/or screw the top to the upper drawer assembly without "cross-grain" issues, yeilding an even more rigid assembly.
I intend to make my own veneer in roughly 4" wide "slabs". I did a test run of hot-melt gluing a 1/8" thick wood to a carrier piece and shoving it through the planer. Nothing bad happened :-). I was able to get it down to about 1/32 before the veneer became unstable.
Question 1: how thin does veneer have to be to "act like veneer"? That is not like a solid wood glued to a substrate that will not change seasonally and consequently will distort like a bimetal thermostat.
My second area of concern is with glue. I wonder if this could be done with contact cement. Is there any reason why that would not work? It would seem to me that it would make the process go quickly and not require 37 cauls.
So can this plan work?