As fragile as it is beautiful, veneer chips easily, especially at corners and edges. A hot object placed on a veneered surface can melt the glue and create a blister. With age, the glue bonding the veneer to the substrate may dry out, causing the veneer to lift in places. While you can repair ordinary furniture with a few simple tools, take valuable pieces to a professional refinisher.
Flattening a blister
- Cut a slit in the blister with a craft knife, following the wood grain.
- Push the glue beneath the veneer with a toothpick or glue injector.
- Smooth repair with your fingers. Clamp until the glue dries.
Regluing lifted veneer
- To make veneer pliable, place a damp towel over the veneer. Set an iron on low; apply heat in 5 to 10 sec. cycles, checking the work for scorching. Repeat until veneer is pliable.
- Sand off the old glue, using 80-grit paper; avoid rounding the edges of the substrate. Or if you can lift the veneer without breaking it, scrape off the old glue with a craft knife.
- Spread new glue on the substrate with a toothpick. Press down the veneer and smooth it with your fingers; then wipe off any excess glue with a damp rag.
- Secure the repair with masking tape, and weight it down. For a large repair, place wax paper between the repair and a scrap block of wood, then apply clamps.
- Tape thin cardboard over damaged area. Use a craft knife to cut a diamond shape through cardboard (which will serve as a template) and veneer. (Diamond should be parallel to grain.) Remove veneer in a diamond outline with chisel.
- To cut patch, place new veneer on scrap wood position template over veneer so that grain direction of patch will match that of old veneer. Tape down template. Using a craft knife guided by a straightedge, cut out patch.
- Clean out old glue from the damaged area apply a thin coat of fresh glue to it. Quickly press the patch in place. Wipe off any excess glue with a damp cloth; cover the repair with wax paper and weight it down.