The first step to replacing an old wood veneer is to remove the veneer without damaging the wood underneath. If the veneer is extra old and flaky you can hammer a putty knife underneath the veneer and peel it up. Make sure to wear gloves as this wood will splinter!
For more stubborn veneers, you might try heating the glue underneath before chipping away. To heat the glue, I recomend using a heat gun. Hover the heat gun a couple inches from the veneered surface while wiggling your putty knife underneath the veneer. Work in small sections and the veneer should come off beautifully.
If you do not own a heat gun place a warm, damp dish towel on top of the wood. Heat up your iron and slowly move it over the towel in small sections for 20-30 seconds. Set the iron safely on a separate surface, remove the towel, and chip away the veneer using the putty knife.
Once the veneer has been completely removed, sand down the surface using 80 grit sandpaper. The remaining wood might not be pretty, but it should be a smooth surface for your new veneer to adhere. As for adding the new veneer, you will want to unroll the thin wood covering and cut it to fit your surface. I purchase wood veneers in 8’x2′ rolls from Amazon in either Birch or White Oak, both of which are beautiful and their wood grains won’t bleed through light colored paint.
Once cut to size, apply a generous amount of wood glue to your surface and smooth out the new veneer over top. I recommend using a hard, flat edge such as a scapple or carpenter square to iron the veneer out evenly over glue (this will eliminate any bubbles from surfacing later on).
PRO TIP: Make sure to paint your wood glue evenly over the entire surface. If you don’t, once the veneer is painted the wood glue pattern becomes apparent leaving your newly veneered project looking lumpy and unfinished.
Wipe up any gushing glue with a damp paper towel as it will not accept the stain (or paint). When you are pleased with the veneer placement clamp it down or lay heavy books on top to ensure everything adheres properly. Let this sit for about 3hrs.
Finally, clean up any rough edges with an exacto knife, scissors or a light sanding. WA-LAH a fresh veneer ready to receive your stain or paint!
This project was supervised by Buddy.