Burls are very beautiful, but large pieces of the wood are very difficult to find. I wanted to make a 13" round base and found an amazing Burl wood veneer that was already book matched. Here's how I went about applying the veneer.
Step 1: MDF As My Base
I decided to use MDF because it comes very flat and doesn't warp. I had access to a Metabeam laser cutter at the Pier 9 workshop so I was able to cut .75" thick pieces with ease.
Step 2: Centering the MDF
I found the center line so that I can line up the seam on the Veneer.
Step 3: Matching the Veneer
Unfortunately the Veneer is not an exact center seam line, but I got it as close as possible.
Step 4: Cutting Your Veneer
It's a little tricky cutting veneer, but this particular piece had a backing that held it together. Along with a fresh Exacto blade I was able to cut my straight pieces for the edge. It's important to give yourself some extra room on the cut about a .125", more if you'd like, but at least that.
Step 5: Circle Cut
Next up, cutting the circle.
I decided to go with two halves, I did not want to use the existing seam. I liked the pattern better with the outer edges book matched. Ultimately this was more work, but well worth it. Now that you have your pieces you need to glue them up. I find if you have some nice flat pieces of veneer you can use rubber cement to bond the pieces to the MDF. Rubber cement should be applied to both pieces, allow pieces to dry separately, when dried you can attach the veneer to the MDF. It's amazing how strong rubber cement is and how easy it is to use. I had some very warped pieces for another project that I decided to use wood glue instead, the project came out perfect, but I had to clamp each section of a square base, you can imagine how difficult this would be to do on a round base.
Step 7: Applying the Edges First
Putting on the edges first allows you to have a very slight overhang from the top piece. You will want this overhang, it makes the seam less visible.
Step 8: Cutting and Sanding the Edge
Once your piece has been applied you will need to trim the excess and then gently sand the veneer to make it level with the MDF.
Step 9: Applying the Top
Its time to apply the top of the veneer (circle part). Make sure to center with an equal amount of extra veneer around the disk. Trim and sand that part as well. Your all done with the veneer, now it's time to apply a finish.