Veneer bubbling on refinish project

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Forum topic by interpim posted 01-03-2016 06:15 AM 624 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1170 posts in 3481 days

01-03-2016 06:15 AM

My father is refinishing a piece of furniture which is about 100 years old. He said he cleaned off all of the old finish, sanded it lightly and applied polyurethane. He said he put it in front of the room heater and when he came back the next day the veneer was bubbling up in several areas. First , does anyone have any idea what might cause the bubbling? It was fine before the poly. And does anyone have a recommendation on how to fix it. He said he would send me a picture and I’ll try to post it here when I get it. Thanks for the help!

-- San Diego, CA

5 replies so far

View Pezking7p's profile


3217 posts in 1674 days

#1 posted 01-03-2016 12:55 PM

It bubbled because the heat melted the hide glue that is holding the veneer on. As for fixing, I’m sure about a hundred people here can give better advice than me.

-- -Dan

View mahdee's profile


3888 posts in 1790 days

#2 posted 01-03-2016 01:53 PM

Cut a slit on the bubble, push one side down and insert glue on the other side using a toothpick or something like that; repeat and clamp.


View bonesbr549's profile


1557 posts in 3089 days

#3 posted 01-03-2016 04:06 PM

Cut a slit on the bubble, push one side down and insert glue on the other side using a toothpick or something like that; repeat and clamp.

- mahdee

+1 what he said. I use a razor blade and use a small pice of veneer to put glue under and put it back in a press and you will never know it happened.

-- Sooner or later Liberals run out of other people's money.

View shipwright's profile


7992 posts in 2820 days

#4 posted 01-03-2016 09:32 PM

Do not add “modern” pva glue. There should be no need to slit anything.

Heat alone did not cause the original glue to release it requires moisture and heat at the same time. The original hide glue can be reactivated and the bubbles can most likely be re-pressed with a hot caul or with an iron at a low temperature (hot to touch but won’t burn you). If heat alone doesn’t reactivate and repair the bubbles then you will have to get the area wet which may be difficult through the poly. If you get heat and moisture to the hide glue already there under the veneer it should press down perfectly.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees.

View MNgary's profile


301 posts in 2439 days

#5 posted 01-06-2016 12:14 AM

A clothes iron set to heat between the cotton and wool settings will reactivate the hide glue already behind the veneer. I don’t know what the sole of your iron will look like after ironing polyu or what the polyu will look like after being ironed. Might try placing kraft paper (brown paper bag from the grocery store) over the area and barely increasing temp of the iron.

I, personally, wouldn’t cut any slits. Nor would I add volume (addtional glue) behind the bubbles. I agree with Shipwright.

-- I dream of a world where a duck can cross the road and no one asks why.

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