How to patch up missing veneer

In a previous article we spoke about how to repair blistered veneer. Broken edges are also a common problem with veneered furniture. This is particularly the case with corners but it’s possible to patch up the damaged section. It may take some effort to get an exact match with the original, though.

To begin with, you’ll need a piece of veneer that is a little bigger than the missing section. Once you’ve secured your patch it’s all up to your finishing.

Make a patch

Place some replacement veneer over the damaged section. Allow for an inch of extra veneer all around. Now prepare to cut through both the new veneer and the old veneer at the same time. It’s important that the grain of your patch follows the grain of the furniture’s body. Cut with the grain along one side and in a straight line when you cut across the grain.

Once you’ve carefully cut through the veneers, remove all the scraps as well as the old and new sections. Your new patch should be a perfect fit for the section that has been cut out of the old veneer.

Check for thickness

If your new veneer is much thinner than the old veneer, you’ll have to build it up to the level of the old veneer. Do this by cutting a few more sections to the exact same size as your new patch until you reach the correct level.

Getting on with the repair

The next step is to remove any glue in the area that you’re going to patch up. You can do this by sanding the old glue away. Once it is clean, you can spread a layer of yellow wood glue over the base wood. Position your new veneer patch onto the glued area. Clamp it down or tape it down with masking tape.If you have to build up the veneer to the correct level, spread yellow wood glue on your base patch and lay the next patch over that, and so forth.

Sanding

Wipe off any excess glue and then leave the glue to set for two hours. Use a razor blade to trim the edges if you need to. The next task is to lightly sand the surface so that it is smooth and blends in with the original surface. Use fine sandpaper for this job.

Finishing

The success of your repair job may well depend on how you finish it. You may have to apply several coats of finishing oil stain to the repair in order to get the right shade. What you’re obviously aiming for here is a good match with the original.

Use extra-fine steel wool to gently rub each new coat of finishing oil stain. Continue to do this between the coats. The new repair should start blending in with the old piece. This may be a lengthy process but you might just end up with a perfect match.