Veneer: Before or after driver cutouts?

I am building some speaker cabinets, and plan to veneer all sides of the cabinets. What is suggested: Making the driver cutout before of after applying the veneer? If I complete the boxes, apply the veneer then cut out the driver locations will the veneer chip / split, when routing the cutouts?

Any suggestions welcome,

Tom R.
you can cut the veneer with a sharp razor knife if the cutouts are already there... also the speaker will cover the holes, unless you're are rear mounting...

The technique shown by neutron7 I like too, but make sure you have a sharp bit and well glued veneer.

veneering first is better if you are going to run a router to cut holes, but make sure you have glued the veneer properly first, because it could tear out if not glued well. Picking the right glue and properly pressing the veneer is important too.

Pros use a press and heat set glue, fyi...

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2008-03-21 2:24 am
First speaker I built, used Exacto knife/razor which told me I didn't want to do that again. Luckily, the worst was on the backside as this was full veneer wrap around and access through woofer hole. After that used process similar to the link above, with one big difference.

Rough cut the holes with an Exacto knife leaving the overlap to trim. Straight cut holes use a veneer bit like use on the edges of box. The roller acts as guide and maintains the circle. Recessed cut creates a problem as the roller on the bit can't go deep enough to allow the bit to cut. Have to switch to a straigh bit. On a scrap, cut a piece that fits flush in the hole to plug it. Now use it for the base of the circle jig an cut the veneer at the correct diameter with the straight bit.