Most affordable wood furniture and cabinetry today is made from wood veneer instead of solid wood. This lowers the cost of building and allows for a lower selling cost as well, which is what makes wood veneer so popular today. The cost of this affordable option to wood is that it may not last as long as real wood and will begin to crack and bubble over time. Before trashing that piece of furniture, consider replacing the wood veneer and adding new life to an old piece of furniture.
Removing Old Wood Veneer
Before removing wood veneer, attempt to see what kind of glue is holding it down. Much older pieces used a different type of glue on veneer that should be fairly easy to remove. The tools needed to remove this type of veneer are a heat gun and some kind of putty knife or 3-in-1 tool.
Apply the heat around the edges of the veneer while prying up with the putty knife. New pieces with wood veneer use a different type of glue that may be more difficult to pry up.
Start with the same process as above and if the veneer is not coming up, use a steam iron to help the process along.
Apply the steam iron directly to the veneer moving in a circular motion while applying the steam. Attempt to pry up the veneer again and repeat this process as needed until all of the veneer has been removed.
An additional option if the old veneer is in good shape without cracking is to apply the new veneer on top of the old veneer.
Preparing for the New Veneer
After all old veneer has been removed, the surface needs to be scraped clean of all glue and debris. Any scratches or holes need to be filled in so you have a flat even surface to apply the new veneer to. Measure the area in order to purchase the correct amount of new veneer. Be sure to note the thickness of the old veneer in order to have the new veneer fit correctly and match the piece.
If replacing a piece of veneer on a piece of furniture that has other wood exposed, you will want to be sure to try to match the grain with the new piece of veneer as well.
Applying the New Veneer
Cut the piece of veneer to the size you are replacing. Apply the glue to both the back of veneer and the surface you are applying it to.
Make sure the piece is lined up correctly to where it needs to be applied. Once the glue is stuck down, it is difficult to move it to adjust. U
se clamps to clamp the piece in to place to secure it until dry. Allow it to dry for at least 24 hours before removing clamps. Inspect the piece after removing the clamps to see if any edges are overhanging or if the edges do not meet exactly with the rest of the piece.
If needed, sand edges down to meet the others or to blend any seams between the new piece and the old.