Last week I transformed a horrible looking writing desk in Part 2 of my Road-Rescue Series. Today I’m going to show you exactly how I repaired the top by sharing some easy tips on how to remove veneer.
Although it looks like a big job, with these quick tips, removing veneer is not as hard as you might think.
A little 101 on the topic… a lot of furniture is veneered. And just because the veneer is peeling, scratched or damaged doesn’t mean the furniture can’t be salvaged and re-styled to be beautiful again.
If the veneer is in fairly good shape with just some minor flaws; uplifted areas can be glued back down, gaps and cracks in the veneer can be filled in with wood filler, and scratches can be sanded out… just don’t sand through the veneer like I did on a previous project!
If the veneer is in really rough shape, removing the veneer and painting or staining the wood underneath can turn your piece into a show stopper! Here’s the same writing desk after the veneer was all removed. The wood underneath was stained with a GF Gel Stain and then aged to create this old world look.
1. Remove loose pieces of veneer by hand. As you can see I didn’t wear gloves… and yes… I did get a splinter or two! Do as I say… not as I do…lol!
2. Use a metal putty knife/scraper in a HORIZONTAL position to pry off the veneer. It’s important to hold your tools horizontal to the veneer at all times being very careful not to gouge the wood underneath. I used this smaller putty knife I had on hand, but a wider one will help get the job done even faster.
3. If your “people-power” couldn’t get all the veneer off, use a hammer. Use the leverage of a hammer on the end of your putty knife to apply more force on the veneer.
4. Use an old blow-dryer and your putty knife. Turn the blow-dryer on high and hold it a few inches away while using your putty knife to pry off the veneer. The heat from the blow-dryer will heat and loosen the glue so the veneer is released more easily.
5. Wet an old towel in hot water and ring out the excess. Place a hot ringed out towel on the veneered surface and leave it on for several hours. The moisture will loosen the veneer glue and then you can use a putty knife to pry it off.
6. For any remaining stubborn pieces of veneer, use an old iron on high or steam setting. Place the heated iron on high setting on top of the damp towel and hold in each area for 30 seconds or so. This will soften the glue and help lift the remaining veneer.
7. After all the veneer is removed, you will have some glue remaining. Use a Putty knife/scraper to scrape off the glue residue and clean and dry thoroughly before staining or painting.
So there you have it! Removing veneer may take a little time but it’s not difficult! And to make things even easier for you, here’s a convenient PIN’able reference with all the tips!
Have you removed/refinished any veneered furniture… do you have any additional tips or tricks? Have a question about removing veneer? Leave me a comment because I LOVE hearing from you!