Tuesday, November 4, 2014

How to repair damaged veneer when refinishing furniture

Hi this is Tonya with Vintage Soul Furniture.   I have a passion for finding vintage, old and even very used furniture and making it pretty again.  Over the years I have come across many pieces of furniture that most people will just pass on or even worse throw away because there may be some damage or missing veneer.  After many many attempts at repairing these pieces that end up on the low end of the must have list.  These pieces have hope.  Next time you come across something that is just thrown by the wayside because of water damage or missing veneer.  Pull out that beautiful treasure and give it new life.  
Let me just say there are many ways to address this issue, but for me, I will share with you what I have found to be the best and most reliable way that I have used over and over.  
My "go to" for repairing missing and damaged veneer is this beauty right here:
I found this at Home Depot for around $8.00, but I have seen it at Lowes as well.  I am sure you can find it at any hardware store.  It is actually used to repair vehicles but works most excellent for projects like this.  I have to note that this also works well for forming pieces of detail molding that may be missing on a piece.  You do have to be quick though because it can set up pretty fast on you.  
So the first thing I decide is if I should remove the veneer or not. This little trick helps me with that decision. 

If you can't slide something under it,  I use a razor,  then I leave it alone and use that to know how deep to fill bondo later on.  If the area is easy to slide something under and you can actually lift the area, I lift it up until it will no longer lift to an area that is still adhering well to the piece.  Then I simply put my finger against that point and snap it off.  It's okay if it is a little jagged because you will sand that area slightly and then that is when the bondo is applied.  
Here is an image of the before damaged veneer:

 I use a paper plate to mix the bondo.  First you will want to scoop out some of the paste (gray) and then to the side add just a few dabs of the activator that comes with it (red).  Once you mix these two together, mix well and then get going because it will set up.  I usually use a paint scraper to lift and stir it together and then spread it out onto the area that I want to cover. 

Spread the bondo as even as you can.  I do like to go slightly above the veneer around the area so that when I sand it won't take off that veneer.  
At this point you can sand the bondo down to the level you need and make it smooth across.  You then are ready to paint or stain as you desire.  Just be aware that the bondo does take stain a little differently then the wood, so you may need to add more or adjust to match the color.  If I have a large area that I have to repair, I will usually say that piece just wants to be painted.  If you have a small area, then the variation looks pretty natural.  
One more thing.  Sometimes you may have a piece that has a few broken pieces from natural wear like I did on this dresser that I did. I love the look that this leaves when painted and dark waxed.  Just make sure you wax well to protect those areas from lifting.  

This buffet actually had quite a bit of water damage to the top that came from the flood in New Orleans.  I picked it up for practically nothing because at first appearance it looked like it was ready for the lumbar yard.  Now look how stunning she is!!!!  

I hope this post helps with your painting and finding jewels in the rough.  So maybe next time you see that hidden beauty that everyone else is passing by,  just grab it and smile and know that you have found the real "jewel" that can be given a new life.  

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