I've decided to try making some fun and fanciful tenor ukuleles. This was sparked in part by the discovery of some really nice curly birch 1/16" veneer. That seemed just a little skimpy for the back thickness, so I laminated it with a standard veneer. I figured this would add some stability and it increases the thickness to about .087" (2.2mm). It worked well.
I've simplified my side bending procedure to the basics. No veneer press screws, steel slats, or attempting to register the material from the waist curve. Making a solid plywood form like this doesn't take that much time and it's made bending quick and accurate. I've come up with a new way to construct the waist clamping caul. Rather than laboriously fitting a solid block I've used two thicknesses of 1/6" veneer screwed to the center of the crosspiece. These slide past each other and are flexible enough to bend right down into the curve. The side material is flatsawn and curly, and there was a tendency towards cross-grain splitting in my practice piece . I've used low-tack painter's tape to provide constant support on the outside curves. It worked like a charm.
A quick outside mold screwed together from scrap plywood.