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Repairing Damaged Veneers

A mixture of wood veneers

Wood veneers were first known to be used in Ancient Egypt, as shown, in some of the elaborately decorated furniture taken from the tomb of Tutankhamen.

18th Century veneers were hand cut and so were thicker than the ones of the 19thC which were being cut by machines. A useful way of roughly, dating a piece of furniture.

MINOR DENTS can be removed by using a dampened pad of cloth over the spot, with a hot electric iron on the pad. Steam the spot for a few moments, and then examine it. As soon as the dent has been raised level with the surrounding surface, stop The treatment. Immediately, place a piece of waxed paper on the area in question and a heavy weight. This to ensure, that the veneer doesn't come away from the wood beneath.
Heated wooden block used in repairing blisters

If you find a blister in the veneer which has not been split that would suggest that it will be dirt free underneath, and only requires being slit with a sharp knife in line with the grain. Warm the blister with a damp pad and hot iron, and then work fresh glue under it. A good way of getting the glue under the veneer is to have a spare piece of veneer that will push through the slit, coat it first with the glue and work it round. Wipe any seeping glue away from surface after pressing it flat Place a piece of waxed paper or plastic sheet over the repair then place a heavy flat weight on top, or clamp it with a block of wood on top.


If the blister has been split then it must be assumed that dirt or grease may have got into it. First soften the blister with a moist pad a hot iron. Gently peel back the veneer and insert a scrapper to remove all old glue and dirt. Insert new glue, press the blister down, place waxed paper over this then a heated wooden block and clamp it into place.


This is the next step in repairing broken or missing veneers. It is important to match grain and figuring as close possible. Use a lighter veneer that can be darkened to match. An ideal situation is to take a piece of veneer from an unimportant part of the furniture to patch in a more prominent feature.


First take off the old finish using a wax remover... i.e White spirit. Apply damp cloths to the surface of the veneers and leave over night. The next day work over the surface with an iron over a damp cloth. Insert a thin blade under the veneer to remove it. As each piece is removed, lay it face down on a flat board and while it is still warm and moist scrape off the old glue. The removed veneers should be placed in the pattern they were taken off. Cover with a clean sheet of paper, then clamped between two flat boards. Allow the veneer to dry for up to two weeks.

A piece of present day, thin wood veneer

Cut a piece of veneer and fix it over the damaged area. Keep the grain and figure of the patch as closely aligned with the damaged veneer as possible. Next, trace around the patch, with a sharp knife, cutting into the old veneer. Pry off the patch, and then carefully chisel out the damaged veneer to the knife cut. With practice, both patch and the original veneer can be cut through simultaneously for a perfect cut.


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