How to remove veneer from wood furniture (the easy way!)
So I bought this desk off of craigslist for a smokin’ deal. I may or may not have driven into a snowy wilderness to get it but hey, gotta do whatchya gotta do right?! It’s a gorgeous piece!
The downside… there was some lifting and cracking veneer on top but the rest of the desk is solid wood with gorgeous ornate carving and dovetail drawers. I knew it needed to come off but I have never removed so much veneer before so, honestly, I was a little nervous.
After a little research, I learned that veneer lifts and cracks from moisture. Duh! It may have been spilled on, stored outside or in a musty basement or something to cause the veneer to lift in the first place. Well, if moisture ‘lifts” the veneer, let’s get it really moist and lift it ALL off! That’s what I did.
Get a water saturated (but not dripping wet) towel to cover your surface and drape it over top of the veneer you want to remove. The water/moisture seeps through the veneer and dissolves the water based adhesive that most veneer is originally applied with.
Then, get on pinterest, watch a movie, do some laundry or something for about 2-3 hours. If you live in a really dry area, you may want to resaturate your towel every hour or so.
When I looked under the towel to peek at the progress, I could see it was lifting so easily and I was super excited.
After a couple hours, take a firm putty knife and scrape off the veneer. If you did it correctly, it should lift off fairly easy! The entire desk took me about 40 minutes or so to scrape.
Pretty huh? haha!
**IF YOUR VENEER IS BEING STUBBORN** I had one tiny spot that was super stubborn and would not come off so I put my damp towel back over it, used my iron on the cotton setting and ironed over the stubborn spot for about 30-45 seconds. When it cooled just a bit, I scraped and it came off perfectly! The steam totally dissolved the glue. Seriously amazing people! You could also use a heat gun but I did not want to purchase any additional tools for this project.
I have already refinished this desk and a chair to go with it so I’ll show you that really soon… as soon as I get some sunlight to take some decent photos! *winks*