Have you ever looked at a piece with great bones, only to find rippled or missing veneer and decided it’s not salvageable? This is a common problem that often lands otherwise beautiful furniture in the landfill, but it doesn’t have to! Repairing veneer damage on a solid piece is entirely possible with a little bit of prep work, a few tools, and some elbow grease.
These great dressers provide good examples of repairable veneer damage that almost left them both homeless.
Wood veneer is quite common on vintage furniture; but what is it? Wood veneer is a thin slice of real wood – often from a rare or otherwise expensive cut of wood with striking grain or coloration. This is applied over a strong base of a solid, often less attractive species of wood that creates the structure of the furniture. The wood veneer basically dresses up the structural bones of your furniture.
Below, you can see wood veneer that has been damaged over the years from moisture which has loosened it from it’s base and caused warping or rippling in the delicate wood covering. But all is not lost! There are some beautiful, salvageable veneers on these dressers and the bones are healthy and solid!
Sometimes, a slightly lifted veneer layer can be re-adhered to the base with wood glue and a syringe; however this damage was beyond repair, so it needed to be removed: remember, there is a solid wood base under that thin damaged layer, so removing veneer will not harm the structural integrity of the furniture.
Since it is thin, wood veneer can be carefully scored with a razor to remove only the damaged portion (above). Next, a putty knife can be used to gently separate and lift the damaged wood from the base (below).
You definitely want to use gloves and safety glasses for this step to prevent splinters!
The area is then leveled up with wood filler and sanded smooth.
Once it’s smooth, the surface is ready for a finish coat. I have not found a filler that takes stain well, so I plan on painting the patched areas.
We decided Fusion’s Midnight Blue was a good choice for these dressers as it would show off the wood and vintage handles well. The exposed wood was cleaned with TSP Alternative and Mineral Spirits before being rejuvenated with Hemp Oil.
And there you have it – salvaging gorgeous pieces by simply investing some time to remove and repair damaged veneer!
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