Tips For Removing Peeling Veneer

Note: I also want to add here that if you are not removing chunks of veneer but have little veneer bubbles or ripples in your surface, you can repair them in similar fashion. I had many white marks from hot plates and boxes…I hovered the iron while pressing steam, wiped up any water and polished with olive oil! The cause of the marking is the adhesive on the veneer tape sealing the wood cells and thereby preventing absorption of the stain. Second, wet the wood then look at it from different angles into a reflected light. I have found this helps to cover up minor scratches and it will look as good as new.

Of course you can use a cheap and easy to find quart of basic water based polyurethane instead (sold in the same aisle as the Minwax stain) but if you’re not familiar with Safecoat it’s definitely worth checking out. On it, I want to lighten these stains as much as I can, and then to apply the most durable clear finish possible. This is true only to the degree that the damage is very recent to where the water has not yet dried.

Solvent based stripper will not harm sound veneer but avoid water based or water rinsed strippers which might dissolve the water based veneer glue. So to summarize for oil based finishes you need a dry iron at max temp out on a kitchen towel on the table and left there for about 20-30 seconds on each spot and then wipe off the water beads right away. He sanded the table top and saw dark stained wood so I left him alone and later he came in to tell me that it’s no good because it’s veneer and he claimed has a hole in the middle”.

Oxalic acid, a third type of wood bleach, is best for removing water spots and blackened areas caused by discoloration of tannic acid in the wood. The latter two have organic bases, and within the hour you can see the telltale white stain of water infiltration. However, items which go through a complete commercial stripping system come out looking very much like previously unfinished wood.

For example, a board that has been run through a planer with dull knives will require a coarser grit to be efficient than typical veneered plywood or MDF that has been pre-sanded in the factory. I ironed my shirt on a towel on a nice wood table dining table last night and when i removed towel their were cloudy white marks where have been ironing. Over-dampening the veneer surface when removing the tape can also cause the same problem. Do not use a putty knife that’s too stiff, you’ll end up gouging the wood below.

The thing is, with part of the old veneer already gone, there’s no longer a flat surface to adhere new veneer to. I can see the PSA veneer as an option after removing the rest of the old stuff, but I don’t think it would work well to apply it to the surfaces in their current state. We use this method all the time even on scratches, it does not always work because the wood is so thin. She does not appreciate the bleached wood look that artificially lightens the colors in the wood, however. Just bought a nice oak dining room table that has bubbles in the veneer where the sun hit directly on the table.

Now, mind you the top was now chipping or peeling before he stated this:( I still want to save the table even though I know it will require more work. A thin layer of hardwood (usually thinner than 1/8/inch) that is bonded to a less expensive surface below (often a cheaper wood, particle board, or MDF). For newer furniture, first try spraying the 50/50 water and vinegar solution onto the glued area. Upcycling college coed Reeves of The Weathered Door loves hand-finishing old furnishings in her free time.

In the picture below, the wood (pine) was wire brushed and stained with an iron oxide solution as a sample for a designer who wanted a weathered look. I lifted the towel and there was a slight white mark from the iron on the table (less opaque than the stains) I rubbed canola oil into the wood with the cloth and it seemed to disappear for the most part. I believe it’s from the 50’s or the 60’s, blonde wood veneer and in very good condition except. Rosewood is so scarce and expensive, even small pieces of veneers will run into the hundreds – let alone solid pieces.

We are a young couple ‘inherited’ an nice dining table from the previous owner of our flat – but with lots and lots of white stains. Blend the repair into the surrounding veneer by painting on gel stain to match the color and pattern of the existing grain. Sanding, if undertaken judiciously and conscientiously, will easily bring this table back from the brink. Work with the wood grain, wiggling the knife as you go. Sometimes a heat gun will help to loosen up the glue. Most veneer is only 1/28 inch thick but that is plenty thick to allow reasonable sanding if required.


I was only going to remove veneer from the sides but I decided to remove all of the veneer. With heat from a clothes iron, you can bond any non-glued edgebanding, including one cut from a piece of veneer to any porous substrate. Spray solution directly onto glue and allow to sit for 3-5 minutes to soften the synthetic resin, and pry up the wood veneers with a putty knife. For those who don’t know, veneer is a thin layer of wood glued on to another ‘substrate’ or solid core. The veneer is still there, but I think it has seen better days, so thank you for the advice on how to strip that off. We spilled hot tea on our Rubber Wood table (purchased from Smiths Furniture, NL, Canada).

The verdict: we said we’d love to take a look at it and again found ourselves crossing our fingers (this time in hopes that that the veneer was nice and thick so it could take some sanding and staining). You can see that the veneer is scraped and stained in a few areas and of course the finish isn’t deep and rich like the rest of the wood tones in our house (including the drawer on our new crib in the nursery). I passed up a table at the thrift store a few weeks ago for fear of the veneer on it. Thanks for the tip! Veneer over plywood, or if it is later, veneer over particleboard, or early MDF if you will.

Thanks for your tips…I’m kinda impatient so I went right to the wet towel but didn’t wait just used the iron to steam the veneer off…it took just an hour to remove all the old veneer from the top of my buffet…and it was so fun! I had a pizza party last night, sat the pizzas on the table, and totally thought we had ruined our wood table! Phewwww I was gonna be in so much trouble, all for placing a mug of hot water to dip some Halloween fangs in. THANK YOU! This is not needed on standard veneer thickness due to the slicing action that creates a smooth front and back on the veneer.

These sticky rags should be reserved for removing the small amounts of dust after sanding between coats of finish. I have another tip if you have scratches in wood furniture use a walnut yes a walnut kernel and simply rub the broken kernel over the scratch and mark has gone. The bottom drawer had ripples in it, which I couldn’t see until I painted it. In the end, I had to remove the veneer which I will do a how-to post on soon. I wouldnt soak the mdf with it. get most the glue off then maybe sand the final bit that is left.

I was able to work my way around and remove the entire dresser top only leaving behind a few patches of the veneer. The ideal method is with a vacuum press and TC-20 copper adhesive The manufacturer of the copper veneer recommends solvent-based contact cement if you do not have a vacuum press or other means of clamping the panel. In all cases when sanding by hand, it’s best to sand in the direction of the wood grain when possible.

We think it ties in perfectly with our crib , and it sort of has a kitchen island effect (it’s reminiscent of rich dark cabinets with a glossy white countertop). Now lift the edge of the rail veneer to expose the cut piece of the stile underneath. Kevin says it’s hard to believe, but it’s perfectly OK to wash furniture with soap and water. If there is any finish present remove it with either sanding, the correct solvent, or paint stripper.

I’ve always carelessly sat pizza boxes or wings boxes on this table before (I’m from the States, btw) and many times small white stains would appear afterwards, BUT in the past I could always get rid of those small stains with some Pledge, no problem!! Two factors that determine how much of a spot will remain are how porous the wood is and what type of laminate or finish the wood had been treated with before the spill. Attempt to pry up the veneer again and repeat this process as needed until all of the veneer has been removed. If you stain it the particle board will show because it will not absorb the stain evenly with the rest of the veneer.

The white stain disapperred where the jets of steam hit the table….so now I have a big white blob and wood circles in the middle in the shape of my iron. Break off loose veneer as you continue to insert the putty knife into the opening. First you must determine why the veneer is chipping and peeling and solve that problem first. When doing this on a finished dent you can take a razor knife and cut some slits into the wood where the dent is. Make sure you use light pressure so the slits are not too wide. Logistically speaking, you want moist heat to release the glue; specifically, a wet towel and an old iron.

Given the fact that before the 1940s furniture items were glued with water soluble glues, a long dip in a water bath would not be good for glue joints. I was googling heat spots on wood tables this morning, and I was getting worried because everything I kept finding were long lengthy processes-including sanding and refinishing! Work at the glued portion from the side, approximately 45 degrees off of the wood grain.

It may have been sanded already and the person sanding found out what you did and decided to paint it. With what veneer costs and the labor involved, I would suggest to the client a new solid wood top. As long as the finish maintains its integrity, water can’t get through it to damage the finish or the wood underneath. It has some wonderful qualities that make it unmatched for applying larger sections of veneer.

Step 6: Apply Stain Once the Wood Conditioner has set, it’s time to get your stain on. Now, there are lots of stain options out there: oil-based, water-based, and gel stains to name a few. As you can see in the pictures I had already primed this dresser including the top when I saw the veneer was beyond repair. Once the iron sits for up to a minute, remove it and use your putty knife to pry up what you can.