Screwed up veneer, now what? Please help!

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Forum topic by ADHDan posted 10-10-2013 11:51 AM 1216 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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800 posts in 2286 days

10-10-2013 11:51 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question

As I was making a sideboard, I realized that one of the boards I selected to use for the legs may be a different species than the rest of the cabinet (the right leg in the pictures below).

Thinking it would be an easy fix, I ripped some 1/8” to 1/16” thick strips that match the rest of the cabinet to cover the faces of the non-matching leg. But, of course, this turned out to be way more difficult than I realized and now I’m leaning towards trying to strip off the veneer. It doesn’t look horrible, but it also doesn’t look like what I thought it would and I’m worried that once I stain it the problems will be glaringly obvious (and less attractive than a slightly non-matching, but solid wood, leg). I used Tightbond III to glue up the veneer.

If I wanted to strip off the veneer and sand through the glue to get back to the original wood, what would be the best way to do that? Is there an easy way to de-bond Titebond III? It’s been sitting for a few days, but if a heat gun or hair dryer would work that would be great. Or, should I be hitting the thicker veneer with a belt sander and the thinner veneer with an ROS until I get back to the natural wood, and then just sand through the glue layer using progressively finer grits? The legs are glued in place and cannot be removed.

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

-- Dan in Minneapolis, woodworking since 11/11.

5 replies so far

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5143 posts in 2670 days

#1 posted 10-10-2013 12:33 PM

PVA’s will loosen up with heat, so you might be able to break the glue bonds and get the veneer off by using a heat gun. Generally a little moisture will help as well, but probably not with T III. I’m just guessing , but you may do more damage going at it with a belt sander, if the top is removable a hand plane may have a little more finesse. If you try the heat trick, I’d start with the thinner layer to gauge your chance of success.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

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800 posts in 2286 days

#2 posted 10-10-2013 03:49 PM

Thanks Fred. I’ll have to give the heat gun a try (Titebond III is waterproof, so I’m not sure if that will help but it probably couldn’t hurt). Unfortunately, everything is already glued up so I don’t have much room to maneuver a hand plane – and I’ve also only used a hand plane once or twice and don’t even have a particularly good one :-(.

If heat doesn’t work, I think a low grit on the ROS could probably get through the thinner veneer strip. The thicker strip is at least 1/8” thick, so I may try to carefully thin it down with a belt sander and use an ROS to finish the job. I stupidly put veneer on the inside front-facing corner (where the carcase nests in a big rabbet in the leg). I have no idea how I’d strip that out (if heat doesn’t work), since it’s a narrow piece in a hard-to-reach area. Yeesh.

Before I do anything I’ll probably sand and stain the leg as-is, to see just how bad it looks. If it’s tolerable, I’ll probably live with it rather than risk doing further damage. Or I could buy some commercial veneer to cover up my amateur attempt – do you think that would work?

-- Dan in Minneapolis, woodworking since 11/11.

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3825 days

#3 posted 10-10-2013 04:02 PM

If you throughly fill the pores of all the wood, it may be easier
to get an acceptable stain match since you will be reducing
the ability to perceive a different texture. Stain is just one
way to even out color, but be warned that once a stain is
on the wood you can’t change the color much, though you
may be able to dry brush thinned paint or apply a colored
glaze to get the effect you want.

I’ve found that stains can be put over aniline dyes though, so
you might consider working with dyes first to get the base
color even from part to part. Dyes can be bought as powdered
pigments (artists fresco colors actually) and mixed to whatever
color you need with fine control. You’ll need a little digital
scale to track quantities.

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800 posts in 2286 days

#4 posted 10-10-2013 04:22 PM

Thanks for the tip. I’m less concerned about matching the stain and more concerned about the fact that I just didn’t do a great job cutting, applying and trimming the veneer – so there are places where it’s cracked, jagged, uneven, etc. I’ll try to fix it up with some careful sanding and maybe some straight edge routing to clean up the corners, but if I can’t I’m going to try to remove the veneer – failing which I’ll bite the bullet and use a commercial veneer (and not tell my wife).

I did use two different stains on the rest of the piece – gunstock over natural. It actually worked pretty well; the gunstock darkened it sufficiently, I just had to make sure to wipe the surfaces because it failed to penetrate as deeply as the first coat of natural stain.

-- Dan in Minneapolis, woodworking since 11/11.

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800 posts in 2286 days

#5 posted 10-18-2013 06:43 PM

Everything turned out ok. The veneer matches well, I got it trimmed just fine and the entire project is done (for now):

-- Dan in Minneapolis, woodworking since 11/11.

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