I agreed to build a kitchen for someone else who is going to use their own finisher. The kitchen calls for prefinished maple ply interiors and MDF slab doors that are a gloss piano finish. I already did a sample of the door and their finisher did a beautiful job on the sample.
Where he is going to have a problem is on my cabinet finished ends. The design does not allow for MDF end panels and thus I must veneer the sides of the cabinets. The finisher is saying, and I agree with him, that the cabinets will not look the same as the doors. Too many waves and voids in the veneer for it to look like the doors.
Does anyone have suggestions as far as a veneer or skin goes? I quoted maple before I was told that it was a gloss piano finish. I was only told paint grade. This is a very good repeat customer so I do want to help him out and give him a nice product.
From contributor M:
All panels need to be of balanced construction, so veneered inside, MDF outside won't work as a single panel. You could use a better veneered product, such as a combi-core, to give the finisher something easier to work with. If the design precludes an end panel, then either the inside (of the end panels) are painted, or the outside needs prep work. Will you also be responsible for lack of uniformity in the MDF?
If so I would probably stick with the pre-fin maple with one side finished. Leave the unfinished panel to the outside. Maple is pretty tight grained. Even so the finisher will probably need to fill and sand to get the gloss, but that's on him. I don't see another material to use unless you want to go through the hassle of using MDF for those particular sides, and veneering and finishing the inside with maple. Lot of extra work you need to be compensated for. I also don't see why you think you need to veneer the panel after? Maybe I'm missing something but I would just have him finish the cab side.
I avoid high gloss like the plague. Those are tricky finishes to get just right. Just out of curiosity, how are they going to finish the bottoms of the cabs?