Removing Loose Damaged Veneer

Removing Loose Damaged Veneer
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Removing loose damaged veneer is an easier DIY thank you might think!

Occasionally, you come across a piece of vintage furniture with veneer that has lifted away from it’s base wood. If you’re lucky you can quickly glue the top back down and salvage the piece. But sometimes the veneer is damaged and you’re going to have to remove it.

Don’t sweat it! You can do this!

Cabinet with Damage Veneer
Cabinet with Damage Veneer

This little cabinet had seen better days.It had been made over in the past (check out that Brady Bunch wallpaper inside – yikes!). Even though the damage was extensive it wasn’t yet beyond redemption.

Peel the damaged veneer

Start by removing loose damaged veneer pieces that easily come away. This particular piece had large chunks where the glue was gone. So I pulled those piece off first. Use a putty knife to get under the edge being careful not to gouge the wood underneath.

There are two easy ways to remove the pieces that still have glue attached. Both involve heat.

Heat will help soften the old glue under the veneer. Using a hair dryer on the hottest setting and a putty knife gently pry the veneer away. Again, you want to be sure you don’t gouge the wood under the veneer. You don’t want to cause yourself extra work.

Hair Dryer to remove veneer

A clothes iron is my preferred method of removing veneer, because I feel like it removes even stubborn glue more efficiently than a hair dryer.

Because the iron is making direct contact with the surface you want to lay down a damp cloth (on the verge of being wet). Be very careful as you move the cloth around the surface because it will be scalding hot.

Set the iron to a steam setting. Steam for a few seconds at a time then check if the glue is releasing.

Steam Iron to Remove Veneer

Use the putty knife to scrape away the remaining veneer.

Eventually, it will all come away leaving the base wood. In my cash the wood was in beautiful shape and no residual glue was left behind. If you find any old glue left you might need to sand it way.

Removed Veneer

You’re ready to paint or finish your piece of furniture and make it pretty again!

If you want to see the video of the full process of getting this stubborn veneer off this adorable cabinet you can watch it below. The entire cabinet needed so much work.  It’s also the cabinet that needed it’s leg repaired because it had been

Finished Cabinet
The finished cabinet

chewed by a dog in this post. Eventually the whole piece came together and turned out so cute.

Here she is in all her glory. It sold the first day I had it for sale. It always makes me happy to take a piece of furniture that is destine for a trash pile and make it a piece someone will pay good money for. Have you ever transformed a piece others thought was beyond redemption? Comment down below and share you success!

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