Veneer is usually no more than 1/32 inch thick, but on rare occasions can be as thick as 1/16 inch. Veneer is very delicate and should always be treated with respect. If it is mishandled, it will chip or crack. Other precautions include proper sanding, as even experienced woodworkers will occasionally sand through veneer. Veneer can be fixed if it is handled with care. The bulk of affordable wood furniture today has some veneer in its construction. Loose veneer is the most common problem.
Insert the tip of a utility knife under the veneer at any crack, seam, or split. If the veneer is bubbled but has no opening, cut a small slit in the bubble and insert the tip of the knife.
Gently pry up the veneer as far as possible without breaking it. Using the tip of a glue bottle, inject glue under the veneer until the opening is saturated with glue. Push down on the loose veneer to eject excess glue. Wipe it off with a damp cloth.
Place a piece of plastic wrap over the freshly glued area. Place a block of wood on top of the glued area. If the area is within four inches of the edge of a table top, place a clamp on the edge of the table on top the block and tighten securely.
Place a heavy object on the wood block to smash it flat against the veneer. If the area is on a vertical leg, or anywhere that's not flat, place masking tape over the area. Stretch it tight anywhere possible to get pressure on the loose veneer. You don't need to use plastic with masking tape. Wait 24 hours for the glue to dry.
Remove the clamps, block of wood or tape. Scrape off any residual dry glue with a plastic glue scraper. If it's just light glue, use your fingernail.
Sand the repaired area lightly with steel wool until smooth. It won't take much. Color the glued seams if needed with a stain-matching marker. Spray the effected area with a light coat of aerosol lacquer to finish.
Tips & Warnings
- If you have cracks after gluing the veneer back down, use a color matching crayon to fill them. Wipe clean with a dry cloth.
- Feed older veneer by wiping it down with lemon oil to prevent further cracking.
- If you decide to sand the veneer down to its natural color, use a hand block or oscillating tool equipped with hook and loop pad accessory and 220-girt sandpaper and sand very lightly. Sand parallel to the grain only, never sand across grain.
Things You'll Need:
- Utility knife
- Glue bottle
- Plastic wrap
- Wood block
- Hand clamps
- Masking tape
- Plastic glue scraper
- Stain matching marker
- Steel wool
- Aerosol lacquer
- Color matching furniture crayon (optional)
- Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images