Due to exposure to the harsh temperatures and traumas from daily usage, veneers on the furniture tend to get damaged over time. In the article below, I will take you through some techniques you can employ to fix a lifting veneer.
Blistering, cracking, lifting, and even breaking are some of the common issues you would face if you have wood furniture with a veneer finishing.
Due to its slender size, veneers are always glued to the surface of the furniture. Depending on how long the furniture has been used, the likelihood of the glue drying and detaching is very high.
High temperatures and exposure to moisture can also lead to a wearing out of a veneer.
To avoid a costly repair or even losing your furniture at the end, it is always good to fix the veneer when you identify any loose end, blisters, or even cracks.
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How To Fix Veneer That Is Lifting: Easy Steps
Since veneers are thin layers of wood attached to a piece of furniture by glue, they can easily get damaged over a while.
With time the glue on the old pieces of furniture may become loose, forming blisters, thus lifting off the veneer.
When left loose, the veneer can easily chip, break, or even split, unlike when it’s glued.
Due to their delicate nature, it is always advised to repair any minor damage to avoid further damage
Therefore in the guide below, I will take you through several action points you can implement to fix a lifting, cracking, blistering, or even chipping veneer.
1. Fixing A Veneer That Is Lifting.
Lifting veneers are a common issue on old furniture, and often they affect the corners and edges of the cabinets, dressers, table-tops, and even the legs.
If the veneer is not severely damaged, it can be repaired, and the furniture will look new and last for some time.
Below are some of the steps you can follow to fix your lifting veneer.
a) Assessing The Extent Of The Damage
It is always advisable to access to what extent the veneer has been damaged before you start any repair.
By assessing the damage, you will establish if the veneer is repairable or is beyond repair and instead needs replacement.
To repair the veneer without causing further damage such as splitting or cracking, ensure it is flexible enough.
With the help of a damp cloth and a hot iron box, place the damp cloth on the veneer and press it with the iron box for a few minutes till it is flexible and damp.
b) Clean The Veneer
Carefully lift the loose end of the veneer and clear all the dust of the old dried glue in between the veneer and the base wood.
With the help of a sharp knife or a spatula, scrape clear all the remaining glue off. If need be, use sandpaper to smoothen the surfaces.
This is because any old glue residues may interfere with the new glue’s effectiveness. Blow off all the dust.
You can use a compressed air canister to dust off. With a soft, damp cloth dipped in spirits such as benzene, clean the surfaces clean of any residue.
c) Glue The Surfaces
Re-attach the veneer to the base of the wood using either the carpenters’ glue or the contact cement.
Carpenters glue is preferred since it sets slowly, allowing you time to re-position or align the veneer.
On the other hand, contact cement sets immediately, giving you no room for error when applying.
Using a small brush or a glue injection syringe, apply and spread the glue on the veneer and the wood base.
Tide bond and gorilla glue are some of the recommended glues to use.
d) Join The Surfaces
Without touching, let it set and keenly press them together, working outward to the edges.
You can use either a laminate roller or a rolling pin to smoothen the veneer.
Clean all the excess glue with a cloth soaked in warm water.
e) Cover The Surfaces
Cover the glued area with wax paper with the shinny section facing down.
Using a C-clamp and 2 pieces of wood, firmly press the veneer and let it stay like that for at least 2 days.
Ensure all the excess glue is cleaned. Let the furniture rest for at least 3 days.
Finally, polish the whole furniture veneer for a clean look. You can use the aerosol lacquer.
Other common wood veneer problems
2. Fixing A Veneer That Is Blistered Or Bubbled
a. Ensure The Veneer Is Pliable Before Starting To Work On It.
Place a hot iron box on top of a damp cloth where the blister or bubble is.
This ensures the veneer does not get damaged further when you are working on it.
b. Flatten And Slit The Bubble
Once the veneer has become pliable, place a damp cloth over the blister and slit it using a razor or craft knife.
Press the blister so that all excess air escapes.
Like in lifting veneer, place a damp cloth and a hot iron box and press over the blister so that the beneath glue softens. If it does not soften, scrape off the glue.
c. Glue The Veneer
Using the tip of the knife, apply carpenters glue on the underside of the veneer and the wood base.
Ensure you do not apply too much glue by wiping off any excess.
In case the edges of the veneer overlap when pressing them back, ensure to cut off the excess one.
If possible, heat the blister once more so that you can shave off any overlapping veneer.
d. Clamp To Firm The Bond.
Though a clamp would always work better if you do not have any, you can always improvise.
Place any weighted item on top of the glued area, such as a toolbox or even a sandbag, for at least 24 hrs.
Once the glue has set, wax and polish the whole surface.
3. Fixing A Cracked, Missing, Or Chipped Veneer.
i. Cracked or a Missing Veneer
A cracked or a missing veneer needs some extra effort to solve since you will have to find a patch similar to the missing part.
If not entirely broken off, a cracked veneer can always be re-glued.
Carefully break the veneer along the cracks, ensuring you do not damage the edges.
Clean the old glue, apply contact cement or carpenters glue, and then seamlessly lay the broken edges back.
Clamp the glued area. Finally, polish the veneer.
Lastly, do not trim any irregular or ragged edges as they are not easy to notice if they have been repaired, unlike the straight-line ones.
ii. Chipped/Missing Veneer
As for the chipped/missing veneer, a lot is needed to restore the furniture.
Finding a piece to replace the already missing part is not easy.
But if the furniture is not that valuable, you can always extract a patch from a part of the furniture that will not show.
Ideally, a patch veneer should not be cut from the same furniture, but rather a matching veneer is purchased for the repair work or cut from similar junk furniture.
If the missing veneer is small, you can always fill the specific hole with a veneer edging tape commonly available in home centers or even lumberyards.
But if the missing veneer is extensive, tape the veneer you bought over the damaged one aligning the grain and the pattern of both the patching veneer and the damaged veneer.
Ensure the patch is flat laid. With the help of a craft knife, cut the patch in an irregular shape.
Cut all through to the damaged layer of the veneer below it.
Remove the damaged veneer and scrub off the old glue on the wooden base.
With either the contact glue or the carpenter’s glue fit the patched veneer.
Clamp the repaired part and let the glue set for at least 2 days.
Lightly sand the whole furniture and apply polish for that clean look.
Final Thoughts On How To Fix Veneer That Is Lifting
If you have furniture whose veneer is lifting, all is not lost as it can be restored.
The listed tips above on how to fix the veneer that is lifting will help give your furniture that new look.
Remember always to fix any veneer that is lifting, chipped, broken, or blistered to curb any further damage.