Does your antique furniture have wood veneer problems? Is the veneer missing, peeling, cracking? I've dealt with a lot of wood veneer issues, and have used just about every trick in the book to deal with bad veneer on antique furniture.
Removing Wood Veneer
In my article, Vintage Record Cabinet Makeover and Repair I had to deal with several issues, including bubbled veneer. I removed the veneer on the top, and repaired the sides. You may be amazed how pretty some of the wood is UNDER the veneer on the top of your project.
Removing chippy wood veneer from a sewing cabinet was fairly easy using a wide putty knife.
This dresser makeover had bad veneer on the drawer front and on the drawer bottom.
Many antique furniture projects will have a lot of wood veneer. Not all techniques work for each of these areas. For example, on this buffet makeover, I fixed some, and removed other pieces. Each project needs to be evaluated carefully.
Covering Up Chippy Issues With Other Wood
Sometimes, you can add trim to cover up bad wood. I did that in the case of this repurposed dresser into bench. I cut a dresser into 2 pieces, and used the lower half to make a storage bench.
Sometimes, you just don't want to deal with bad wood veneer, so you just cover it up! See my nightstand makeover for all the details!
Tips for Gluing
This extra large veneer issue needed special attention for sure. In this article How to repair/clamp veneer on a headboard I'll show you how you can easily fix/glue this with only a few clamps.
Using a Sander to Repair Wood Veneer
If you're lucky, your vintage furniture will only need a gentle sanding to blend in the damaged veneer. This antique side table was a quick and easy makeover.
Use caution when sanding near chippy wood veneer. If done properly you can disguise it a little and leave it as is. I don't paint everything I do. Even though I did use a little paint on this waterfall dresser makeover, I think you will LOVE it.
Decoupage Over Damaged Wood Veneer
When most of the surfaces are bad wood veneer, you have to think outside the box. Have you ever heard of the brown paper bag technique?
What do you do when the veneer is easily removed on three of the four sides of this repurposed vanity? You improvise with wallpaper!
Cut Off Damaged Wood
This desk had way too much damage to repair, so what did I do? I cut it off, to make the knee hole closer to the ground so it was perfect for children. See the details Camouflage Desk.
Patching Missing Veneer
This waterfall dresser was in really bad shape! It had been stored for years in a very damp environment. Water is veneer's worst enemy. In this chest of drawers makeover, you will see how I used drywall mud to patch the area where I removed the damaged veneer.
So, there you have it--many ways to deal with bad wood veneer. Although I said water is wood veneer's worst enemy, it can also be your best tool. If you're trying to remove peeling veneer, you can use a wet towel to help loosen the glue that is still holding tight to some of it.
I have also used a heat gun to help loosen the glue.
See how Mindi used several techniques to remove the difficult wood veneer on this piano bench makeover.
So, do tell me! What are your tips for dealing with wood veneer issues on antique furniture?
Gail Wilson is the author and mastermind behind My Repurposed Life. She is obsessed with finding potential in unexpected places and believes that with a little hard work and imagination, any old thing can be made useful again, including herself!
Gail reinvented herself during a midlife crisis and has found purpose again. She hopes you will find new ideas for old things and pick up a few tools along the way.