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How to Remove Old Veneer from Furniture

August 14, 2013

stubborn veneer

My next project involves a sweet little oak washstand that has issues. Reminds me of me!  Pretty good mostly but a few flaws around the edges. I am so ready to paint this little thing but there was a problem with the veneer coming up along the edges. My husband, who just happens to be the best handyman~ ever, glued and clamped the veneer and I was about to be in business. But I was working on my back porch and the dampness from all the rain we’ve had lately caused the rest of the veneer to come loose!!! I mean, the whole sheet of it lifted off all at once. Guess which part stayed? You got it…the part my husband glued. I mean it was ON there and not going anywhere.

So this morning I decided to have a Come to Jesus meeting with one veneered washstand. It was glue, right?  I understand it was some powerful glue but I had a more powerful friend. No, I’m not calling on Jesus to remove veneer….another friend not quite so powerful…My trusty iron.  I gathered everything I needed and headed to the porch. I tried to force myself on the little varmint one last time, but it was no use. He was not budging. At that point I decided to take drastic measures.

veneer tools

I wet an old dish towel and heated up my steam iron filled with lots of water. I placed the towel over the veneer, the very stubborn veneer,  and placed the steaming iron on top. I pressed the shot of steam button a few times waited about 10 seconds and lifted the iron and cloth!

steam veneer

While it was still warm, I used a putty knife slipping it underneath the veneer and lifted it off.

scraping veneer

As you can see, it lifted off easily with my putty knife! In fact is wasn’t difficult at all.

scraping veneer off

I repeated the process all along the edges until all the stubborn veneer was gone.

veneer glue left

Once I  removed the veneer off,  all that was left was a film of glue that I continued to steam and work on. I used more steam and eventually a sander to remove as much as possible. Now all that’s left is the stain where the glue was!

sanded veneer

Now that the work is done,  I can get busy with the creative part… my new paint project!  Got veneer issues??? Let me know how this works for you……

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