fixing veneer blemishes?

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Forum topic by Peter5 posted 03-05-2012 07:18 PM 1526 views 0 times favorited 2 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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66 posts in 2827 days

03-05-2012 07:18 PM

Hey everyone,

I was refinishing a knock-off Eames chair this weekend when I encountered a common problem- I sanded through the veneer in a few places. Does anyone have a recommendation for hiding small places where this happens? I’ve tried to use stain pens but they are too broad and difficult to control where the stain goes, and plus the stain basically rubs off when I finish everything with Danish oil. I would like to have something more like a colored pencil, where I can have control and color very precisely, and have it stay on with the oil on top of it. Would a colored pencil work? If not, is there something similar that would?

-- Pete, Long Beach, CA

2 replies so far

View JAAune's profile


1802 posts in 2340 days

#1 posted 03-06-2012 02:06 AM

We’ve had burn through happen once at work. First of all, since everyone on the team knows what it looks like the sander stopped before all of the veneer was gone. Most of the woodgrain pattern was still prominent. The color was somewhat off though.

That was fixed after the stain and the first coat of finish was applied. Once there was lacquer on the piece, we could use a brush dipped in shellac then Mixol pigments to apply color to small areas in a controlled manner. If it didn’t look right, alcohol would remove it and we’d start over. About half the color tweaking was done this way then the repairs were sealed with more lacquer (or spot sealed with Deft if the repairs were localized).

A second round of mixols and shellac followed that then another light coat of lacquer or Deft.

The final touch up was done with shellac toner. Instead of spraying it just on the damaged area, the toner was used to blend the overall look of the surface. Adding a little of the toner to other areas of the surface tricked the eye into thinking the repaired area was normal.

A final coat of finish finalized the repair. No one except the three of us in the know had any chance of spotting the damage. Even then it took a few seconds to find it.

I imagine you could do the same using oil instead of lacquer since shellac won’t dissolve under mineral spirits.

-- See my work at and

View Loren's profile


10476 posts in 3671 days

#2 posted 03-06-2012 04:41 AM

You can try dry-brushing with acrylic paints. Model
paints will work. You can also make little graining brushes
out of thin pieces of wood or (my preference) cane.
Work the end thin and then pound the fibers with
a hammer until they spread into a fan. It makes a
nice little dry brush in a pinch.

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