Excited for this project!
The paper-backed cherry veneer I ordered arrived. I set it out, unrolled, for 4-5 days. Upon inspection, I could see this was JUST what I was looking for. Interesting grain and quality wood. Yesterday I have cut it down to application size (my mantle is 14 by 72 inches) I was able to fit in the BEST grains I could imagine. Application is likely a few days away -- but I will let you know and see when done.