How to remove wood veneer from wood furniture

Hi friends, the weather has been gorgeous here in New York and that means I get to work outside on a furniture project!  Did you know that under peeling and cracking veneer there is good wood? Veneer lifts and cracks from moisture and can be removed completely with a wet towel and a metal putty knife. A few years back I picked up an antique night table on the side of the road. (You can read the posts here Shabby Roadside Find and Shabby Table & Petunias)  There was some peeling and cracking of the veneer on the top and bottom, but the overall piece is solid wood and has gorgeous carvings in the legs.  I thought maybe I could give this piece some love with a quick sanding, but the damage was worse than I thought, so the veneer needed to come off.




 I'm guessing that the table might have been left outside or stored in a damp basement for a long time to cause the veneer to peel.

Well, if moisture causes the veneer to peel, then this wet towel will help to take it all off!



First I placed a hot wet towel on the bottom shelf and waited about 15 minutes. Then I used my putty knife to lift the veneer. This was my first time doing this sort of thing so I wasn't sure how long to wait before doing this step. The edges of the veneer lifted easily, however the middle was a bit of a challenge.



For this stubborn piece, I poured boiling water right on top of the veneer and used the putty knife to peel it off.  Then I worked on to the top of the table, the sides and the drawer.




The veneer on the top of the table was a beast to remove!  There were three layers of it plus a lot of glue.




The veneer on the side and the drawer were easy to peel off.



The decorative wood on the drawer was cracked in different places, so I completely removed it.




AFTER

Here is the table after the veneer was removed.


TOP


BOTTOM





Next, I will give this night table several coats of polyurethane.  I hope you come back again to see how it looks. When this project is complete it is going in the newly renovated Guest Bedroom

7 comments

  1. such a great find, sweet little makeover, love the tips!

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    1. I'm so glad I scooped it up! Happy to share my tips! Thank you for stopping by.

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  2. I've only removed veneer one time and it took forever!!!!! Your table is adorable.

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    1. Mine took a lot of elbow grease only on the part that was heavily glued. Thank you so much for the visit!

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  3. UGH, I hate veneer. I've never seem to get it all off. I'll try the boiling water tip next time though. Thanks Julie

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  4. Wow, great find. I'm never that lucky. So glad that I found your blog. I'm attempting to refinish furnish, so this is information that I needed to know. Please share your posts on my Sunday's Best linkup. We're live! Starts every Saturday at 8:00 PM EST.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for the visit! I'm happy this post was helpful to you! Sometimes that's all you need is a little inspiration to get a project started. Have fun with your furniture refinish and thank you for the invite to your link party!

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