Don’t discard a favorite piece of furniture because of an unsightly air bubble in the wood veneer. This easy to follow step by step picture tutorial will show you how to remove the bubble before painting or restoring a piece.
Rated: Easy. A beginner can do this.
Time: 5-10 minutes to fix the bubble in the wood veneer plus proper dry time for the wood glue.
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Wood veneer often gets a bad rap for being a cheap alternative to solid wood furniture; however, this hasn’t always been the case. During the Renaissance, beautiful wood veneers were made into lavish designs on tables, desks, and armoires, with the resulting furniture being found in royal palaces throughout Europe and Asia. These veneers were made with thicker slices of wood and were designed to be refinished over and over again.
Today’s wood veneer panels are made from much thinner pieces of veneer glued directly onto pieces of plywood or particle board. This type of veneer is generally only 1/64 of an inch thick and isn’t made to be refinished; however, small repairs can be made to remove a bubble in the wood veneer.
How to Remove a Bubble in Wood Veneer
Many people will pass on a piece of furniture that has a bubble in its veneer because it looks intimidating to fix but in reality the process is quite simple.
Let’s take a look at this Mid-Century Modern bar I bought while visiting my family over Christmas. The front and sides had the normal wear and tear of a piece that had been stored away and neglected for awhile and the top had the bubble shown in the picture below.
In case you’re wondering, it took less time to fix the bubble in the wood veneer than it did to sand out the rough places on the front of the bar with my orbital sander.
Step by Step Directions on Removing a Bubble in Wood Veneer
- Gather your supplies before getting started. You’ll need a sharp razor knife, a small syringe with a large bore needle like this one used for injecting glue, yellow wood glue, a piece of wax paper, a wood board, and a heavy weight.
As you can see, my wood glue had separated into two colors with a thin liquid being on top. Gently pound the bottom of the glue bottle on a hard surface a couple of times and then shake, shake, shake until its well mixed.
2. Use the razor knife to slit open the bubble from end to end.
3. Next, fill your syringe with glue BEFORE attaching the needle. The tip of the syringe is larger than the tip of the needle and this will make it easier to pull the glue up into the syringe.
4. Gently slide the needle into the open bubble and inject glue underneath the raised veneer on both sides of the slit wood.
5. Press the veneer down with your fingers and wipe away any excess glue with a damp cloth.
6. Place a piece of wax paper directly on top. Leaked glue shouldn’t stick to the wax paper. Place a wood slab on top (it helps disperse the weight that’s placed on top of the slab), and then add a clamp or heavy object like a dumbbell. Follow the glue manufacturer’s directions for proper dry times.
7. After the glue has dried, clean any leaked glue with a damp cloth or sand if needed. The top of my piece had rough wood around the area that I had fixed so I did more sanding than you’ll probably need to do.
And after painting and sealing…
I painted the Mid Century Modern bar with General Finishes Coastal Blue Milk Paint and sealed it with General Finishes High Performance Top Coat in Satin. I used Howard’s Restor-A-Finish and Howard’s Feed-N-Wax to revitalize the stained wood areas.
To read my tips on using Howard’s Restor-A-Finish read this post.