Veneer damage is every furniture painter’s nightmare. Learning how to remove veneer the easy way wasn’t easy at all. It took years to figure out that every piece was not made the same and because they were different, it took other methods to repair them. Today I would like to share a few ways that I use to remove that pesky stuff.
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
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How to Remove Veneer The Easy Way
The biggest challenge of removing the veneer is the glue that binds it to the wood. The older the piece, the easier it is to remove. But then again, some furniture manufacturers, I swear, must use elephant glue.
Tools Needed To Remove Veneer
The first thing you will need is COFFEE and a lot of it! Just kidding, of course, but you will need your strength. You can expect your arms to be sore, as well as a few blisters on your hands if you don’t use gloves. I had to learn the hard way.
Method #1 Using A Paint Scraper
I always start off lifting the veneer at the corners, especially on the tops. This will be the most likely area to raise first because of exposure to rubbing, air, and moisture. There have been times that a paint scraper was all that I needed to remove the veneer. It’s a rare occurrence, but it does happen.
Method #2 How To Remove Veneer With Heat
Sometimes it’s necessary to get more aggressive. I have found that extreme heat will cause the glue to melt and make it easier to remove the veneer. I use a heat gun while prying the wood veneer up with the paint scraper at the same time.
Method #3 The Wet Towel Method
If the other methods fail, I use the wet towel method by placing a wet (saturated) towel on top of the veneer and leaving it overnight. The glue will start to break down because most adhesives used back in the day were water-based. Also, try using steam from an iron (find one at Goodwill) on top of the wet towel to speed up this process if you don’t want to wait overnight. Heat and water will help remove the most stubborn glue.
Method #4 The Last Resort
Don’t do this! I know it’s tempting to try and sand the veneer off, but I promise you it won’t be pretty the next day when you feel like your arms are falling off. How do I know? Because I’ll try anything once.
Painting or Refinishing After Removing Veneer
Once the veneer has been removed, use a good quality sander to smooth out any leftover glue that may have been left behind on the surface. Most of the time, it is impossible not to have some wood damage from some of the more aggressive veneer removal methods. But if that happens, paint is always a great choice. Hopefully, you’ll have great success with minimal damage, and you’ll be able to stain the wood and add beauty once again.
Thanks for joining me today, and I hope one of these 4 veneer removal methods helps to resolve your wood veneer issue.
Got a question, or have a comment about this post? Leave me a comment below and I’ll answer them. I’d love to help you!
Until the next project… xo, Do