I'm looking for a technique for applying veneer to a round tabletop with a radiused top edge. I'd like to know how I can determine where to make cuts so that the veneer will lay down smoothly all the way to the bottom edge of the surface.
Veneer has its limits and you are pushing the envelope. Compound cures separate the artists from the rest of us. It might be time to think of an alternative solution.
Treat the veneer with a softening agent and draw partial vacuum until the top is pressed and you have some loose bag at the edge. Use a hardwood roller and roll over the bag, smoothing out and working the veneer into place. Draw a little more vacuum, work the edges and continue until done.
The table in this case was about 42 or 48 inches diameter. It turned out perfect.
If you have to cut that will give you the correct amount, but I have to caution you that the results may not be visually acceptable depending on the grain pattern.
How thick is the top you are making? If you are going from horizontal to full vertical it will be very difficult to avoid this problem even on a relatively large radius. A "waterfall" edge is far easier to work with.
Also use a slip sheet between the veneer and the membrane - a piece of Mylar works well - and lightly mist the veneer before pressing.
Type of adhesive and press cycle all play into this as well.