Recovery technology

How to patch veneer

(Method was written by Floyd Sense)

Veneer restore Use putty only if the chip is in an inconspicuous place and you'll be using a toner spray over it. You could then hide it pretty well. If it can be easily seen, I'd go with replacement veneer. Be aware that veneer comes in more than one thickness and of course in any kind of wood you want.

You'll want to match both the wood type and thickness. I've done some patches that are practically invisible after the cabinet is refinished. You should always cut the veneer patches at an angle. Cuts at right angles to the grain will always be visible.

So, say you have a chip in the veneer that's maybe 1/4 by 1/2" and it's on the front or rear edge of the cabinet. You would first cut the edges of a triangle shaped area, which includes the 1/4 by 1/2 inch area. The base of the triangle would be the edge of the cabinet, so you've made the veneer cuts at an angle across the grain. You then carefully remove the upper layer of veneer in the triangular area with a pen knife. Next, choose a matching thickness of veneer and cut it to fit the triangle shaped area you just cut out. To get the angle right, trim with a razor blade and straight edge until the patch can be slid in tightly. Then, mark the edge on the patch piece and cut it to that dimension with the razor blade. You can now use a contact cement or a wood glue to glue the patch in place. You want to make sure to apply pressure across the entire area of the piece. For small patches on a curved surface, I use a steel ruler, bent around the bend over the piece and secured with clamps.

Don't try to start with a piece of veneer that's too thick and then try to sand it down flush after you've glued it down. You'll have a hard time hiding the change that the sanding makes to the surrounding wood. I know one fellow who obtains all of his patch veneer pieces from junker wooden cabinets. He lets them sit out in the sun and rain until the veneer separates, and then he cuts the upper layer up into pieces, discarding damaged areas. That gets you some real good veneer, of typical thicknesses, for just about nothing!

Missing veneer replacement by David Termini:

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