How to Refinish a Cedar Chest With Veneer & Paint

Laurie Rappeport

Cedar wood is known for its durability and resistance to decay. Its delicate scent, resistance to weather and its moth-repellent properties have made it a popular wood for storage furniture. Owning a fine cedar chest allows for bug-free storage while the chest fits in as a beautiful piece of furniture in any room in the house. Refinishing a cedar chest is well worth the time and effort. Veneering and painting a cedar chest allows the quality cedar wood to be covered by a new look, yet retain its useful storage properties.

Veneering and Painting a Cedar Chest

  1. Choose the type of veneer that will cover the chest. Veneer is thinly-sliced wood which can be glued on to other wood.

    There are different types of veneer cuts, each of which produces a different pattern and you can also choose from various thicknesses. The suggested veneer thickness which provides usability, durability and a good quality is 1/42 inches.

    Veneers are also cut from many different types of trees. Oak, cherry and walnut are just some of the woods that make popular veneers.

    A catalog from a building supply company will give a good overview of the various veneer types. The building supply center can provide on-site viewing of the various veneers, and you can make your buying decision accordingly.

  2. Decide how the veneer will be applied.

    There are a number of ways to apply veneer. The easiest and most economical for a novice is to attach it to the wood with contact glue (or alternately, it may come with adhesive on the back). Adhesive contact cement is placed on the back side of the veneer and glued onto the wood. Or, if adhesive material is already on the veneer, the backing is peeled off and the veneer is glued onto the wood.

  3. Trim the edges from the veneer with a sharp knife where the edges overlap off the ceder wood chest.

  4. Place the cedar chest on newspaper.

  5. Wipe the veneer with a damp cloth. Make sure that it is free of dust and blemishes. If there are any blemishes, sand them out. Apply a coat of primer. After several hours, apply a second primer coat.

  6. After the primer has dried, paint the chest. If a second coat of paint seems to be needed, paint again after 24 hours.