How To Repair A Damaged Veneer Table Top: Complete Guidelines




Key Takeaways :

  • There are many methods for repairing a damaged veneer table such as using old veneer, using veneer patches, using shellac, using direct heat, and refinishing.
  • To get the best result such as gathering necessary tools and materials, preparing the work area, identifying the damages, fixing the damages, recovering, covering, and fixing the broken corners.
  • To refinish the table after repair such as removing the old finish, applying shellac, applying varnish, fixing gaps, and applying the final coat of varnish.

A table is the most useful piece of furniture in common households. Veneer tables are a must-have in middle-class households because of their reasonable price, durability, and versatility. Throwing a damaged veneer tabletop is a waste of money. Instead, you can easily repair the tabletop with proper guidelines.

If you want to know more about how to repair a damaged veneer table top, this article will answer all your queries with detailed explanations.

How To Repair A Damaged Veneer Table Top

Repair A Damaged Veneer Table Top

Instead of throwing away the damaged veneer tabletop or buying a new one, you can repair the damaged table by yourself or with the help of a professional. Following the proper guidelines you can repair the damaged veneer table and make it look like a new one.

Don’t rush to repair the table table reading this much, because this is a single glimpse of the entire picture. To learn about the whole scenario read ahead and dive deeper into it.

What Are The Different Types Of Veneer Damage?

What Are The Different Types Of Veneer Damage
  1. Water Damage: Water damage on the wood veneer is a common problem. It causes the tables to warp. It can also leave stains and discolor the table. In severe cases, it can cause the veneer to lose its original texture.
  2. Scratched Veneer: It is not severe and will be fixed while refinishing.
  3. Peeling Veneer: It is when the glue dries, and the veneer pops out but doesn’t fall off.
  4. Chipped Veneer: It is when the veneer pops out, breaks, and falls off.
  5. Cracked Veneer: It is when the figured grain becomes visible. Also, when the glue dries off, and makes the surface look wavy even though it is smooth.

How To Assess the Damage on a Veneer Table Top?

  1. Tapping on the surface: Tap on the surface with a finger. If it sounds like tapping, that area is not damaged. But if the sound is different, it means the part is hollow and damaged.
  2. Using a flashlight: The visible damages are easy to identify. For the invisible damage, use a flashlight at a proximity. It will make them visible.

What Tools And Materials Do You Need To Repair Your Veneer Table Top?

What Tools And Materials Do You Need To Repair Your Veneer Table Top

Materials Need To Repair Veneer Table Top :-

  • New veneer packs.
  • Scrap pieces of wood.
  • Packaging tape.
  • Masked tape.
  • C clumps.
  • Heavyweights.
  • Glue or adhesive.
  • Straight-edge wood
  • Shellac.
  • Utility knife.
  • Putty knife.
  • Scrapper.
  • Heat sources like an iron, a heat gun, or a heat lamp.
  • Paintbrush.
  • Damp towel.
  • Grit sandpaper.
  • Wood stain.
  • Wood sealer or varnish.
  • Bondo wood fillers.
  • Wood nails.
  • Hard wax.
  • Other tools such as hammers, screwdrivers, etc.
  • Safety gear such as gloves, goggles, etc.

What Are The Different Methods For Repairing Veneer Damage?

The answer to how to repair wood veneer table tops is tricky. There are different types of veneer damage. Each type of damage has a specific method to repair. Some of the common methods are-

  1. Using the old veneer for peeling veneer damage.
  2. Using new veneer patches for chipped veneer damage.
  3. Using shellac or alcohol solvent for spots. 
  4. Using direct heat or heat sources for water damage.
  5. Refinishing for the scratched veneer.

How To Repair A Damaged Veneer Table Top: Step-By-Step Guidelines

Repairing a damaged veneer table top is tricky because there are different types of veneer damage. It requires following certain steps and using different hacks to make the tabletop as good as new. You will find all your answers to how to repair a damaged veneer table top below except for the scratched veneer. For how to repair scratched veneer table top, it will be fixed while refinishing.

How To Repair A Damaged Veneer Table Top: Step-By-Step Guidelines

Gather The Tools Needed

Having all the tools right by your side saves a lot of time. You would not have to look for things while you work. It will keep your workflow consistent and save you time.

Prepare The Work Area

Remove all the objects from the table. Detach the tabletop from the bottom part of the table if possible. If it is a folding table, disassemble the table. It is hard to fix a wobbly folding table. It will help you work as you please without damaging the table. Clean the entire surface with a paintbrush to remove all the dust particles.

Identify The Damaged Parts

Inspect the entire surface and identify the damaged part. Use your fingers and tap on the whole surface to find the hollow parts. Make a mental note or mark the parts that need work. This way, you would not have to use additional time looking for it while working.

Fix The Water-Damaged Parts

If how to repair water damaged veneer table top is your concern, here’s how. To fix a water-damaged veneer table top, lay a damp towel on the damaged part and put it under the sun. You can use other heat sources such as iron, heat gun, heat lamp, etc. Heat will help to balance the moisture content. For the rest, sanding and finishing will do the job.

Recover The Parts Possible

For the hollow parts where the veneer is fine and only the glue is dried, use a wood glue injector and put glue in there. Take a scrap piece of wood and put some packaging tape on it so that the excess glue doesn’t stick to the wood. Place the wood on top of the glued part of the veneer and put a wood clamp on it. Similarly, work on the other hollow parts and seal them with c clamps for a better result. In the middle parts, where you can not put c clamps, use heavy weights.

Cover The Bare Parts With New Veneer

For the parts where the veneer is peeled off or peeling off, it is called chipped veneer. Here is how to repair chipped veneer table top. Use straight-edge wood and cut the damaged part with a utility knife in a shape that will make it easy to put the new veneer. Put a few layers of masking tape, the edges on top of the other layer, and draw the template of the damaged part.

Choose a veneer pack closest to the color of the original table. Place the template on top of the new veneer and cut the new veneer in the shape of the damaged part. Place the new veneer on the damaged part and put a layer of masked tape on top in a way that the new veneer is attached to the table. Apply some glue and stick the new veneer on the damaged part.

Repair The Cracked Parts

Dealing with cracked wood veneer requires a lot of attention. Start by checking what kind of crack it is. The solution is different depending on the type of the crack. The solutions to how to repair cracked veneer table top are mentioned below.

Figured Grain

Figured grain wood veneer is when it is not a flat surface even though it is smooth. There is a wavy texture that makes it look cracked. For a surface like this, removing the varnish is good enough. Scrape the varnish off in the direction of the wood grain. You can use any scrapper.

I suggest using a putty knife as it is mild. But if the old finish is stubborn, you can use any scrapper you feel comfortable with. Use sandpaper on the damaged parts to avoid further damage. Start with a 100-grit sandpaper and then a 180-grit sandpaper for finer finish. Do not use a power sander because it might damage the fragile wood veneer. After sanding, wipe the entire piece with spirit. It will highlight the spots you missed while sanding the old varnish.

Cracking Because Of Dried Glue

If the table is relatively new, you can use the same glue to stick the wood veneer. Take a damp towel and lay it on the damaged part. Now, take an iron and put some heat on that part. It will help to melt the glue. Continuously check under the towel to prevent scorching on the veneer. After a few minutes, remove the iron and towel and put a plastic-wrapped scrap piece of wood on top. Secure it with a c clamp or weight on the cracked part to stick the glue again. Give it enough time to recover before removing the scrap wood and c clamp.

If the table is old and the glue is not usable, try to scrape the old glue as much as possible. Be careful not to lift the veneer too much. Otherwise, it might crack. Put some new glue on the damaged part using a wood glue injector. You can also use powder glue using a juice straw. Squeeze the part a few times to evenly distribute the glue and secure it with a block of scrap wood and a c clamp. It will make the surface flat.

Fix The Broken Corners

A hack to fix any broken corner is to use wood fillers. Fill any split part around the broken corner with glue and secure it with c clamps. Let it be completely. Meanwhile, take Bondo wood fillers and mix them with some wood stain to give it a similar color to the table. Hammer some nails in the broken corner. After the glue is dried, take a block of wood and wrap it with some packaging tape. Put the block under the broken part and secure it with a clamp. Fill the broken part with the mix and put a wide stick around it to give it a shape. After it is dried, remove the stick and shape the corner.

Revive Your Veneer Table Top : Master Polishing Techniques Now!

How Do I Refinish A Veneer Table Top After Repairing Damage: Step-By-Step Process

Refinishing is the most vital part of repairing any wooden piece of furniture. It gives it a polished new look and a lasting appearance. Follow all the steps accordingly to get a smooth surface.

How Do I Refinish A Veneer Table Top After Repairing Damage

Remove The Old Finish

For most of the part, use a scraper to remove the old wood stain and varnish. It is not possible to refinish the kitchen table without stripping because it will make the table look sloppy. Scrape in the direction of the wood grain. For the edges, scrape across the grain first and then in the direction of the grain. You may need a scraper to fix dead spots on an air hockey table.

On the damaged parts and around the new veneers, use sandpaper. After removing the old finish, brush off all the dust with a paintbrush. Apply some spirit with a soft cloth to highlight the areas missed while sanding and sand those areas.

Apply The Shellac

Applying shellac helps to bring back the old color of the veneer. Use a wadding wrapped in a soft cotton cloth. Pay attention to the newly applied veneers. If the color doesn’t match the color of the table, use a few coats of shellac. Make sure to sand the entire piece of wood between the coats for a smooth surface.

Apply The Varnish

Apply the varnish in the same way as the shellac. You can use oil-based varnish or water-based varnish. I suggest using a water-based one. Because it is easy to use, dries quickly, and is easy to clean. If used properly, it doesn’t leave brush strokes.

Fix The Gaps

If the gaps between the old veneer and the new veneer or any holes are visible, take some hard wax closest to the color of the table. Put some heat on the edge of a butter knife. Melt the wax using the knife and fill the gaps and holes. Scrape off the excess.

Apply A final Coat Of Varnish

After everything, end the process with a final coat of varnish. It will give it a final touch and seal everything. You can use a spray varnish for the finishing touch as it dries quickly. It is important to get the best finish for a butcher block table as well.

What Are Some Common Mistakes To Avoid When Repairing A Damaged Veneer Table Top?

Repairing a damaged veneer table top requires a lot of time, effort, and care. A simple mistake in the process can ruin the final product. Some common mistakes to avoid when repairing a veneer tabletop.

Using Unmatched Grain

Fix The Gaps

Using a matching grain is crucial. It gives the table a natural look. Using an unmatched grain will make it visible that the new grain is not part of the actual wood veneer.

Applying Wrong Glue

Fix The Gaps

Applying the wrong glue can cause the veneer to bubble or the glue may not bind the way it should. So, make sure to choose the right glue to make the veneer furniture look solid.

Hastening The Process

Fix The Gaps

Hastening the process will only make things worse. Not letting the new pieces and glue set properly before refinishing, can result in repeating the whole process. So, be careful and give everything enough time to set.

What Maintenance Tips Can Extend The Life Of Your Veneer Table Top?

Regular maintenance can extend the life of any wooden furniture by a few years. It helps to reduce the chances of significant damages while fixing trivial damages promptly. You can follow the tips below to maintain your veneer table.

Regular Cleaning

Cleaning is necessary to extend the life of every piece of furniture. Use a soft damp lint-free cloth and clean every day. Use a mild chemical cleaner once in a while. Do not use it regularly as it can strip off varnish. Use things that are made for wood furniture and specialize in veneers.

Coasters Or Placemats

Using coasters and placemats will save your veneer tabletop from hot surfaces, water spilling from glasses, and scratches. These will prevent your tabletop from getting warped due to moisture and heat and add a few more years to its life.

Humidity Levels

Maintaining humidity levels is crucial to prevent any veneer damage. So, try to manage a balanced humidity level to reduce damage. Keep the veneer table in a place where sunlight will not directly fall on the table. Use curtains and binders if needed. You can install a humidifier if you can.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Is It Possible To Fix Small Veneer Problems Without Professional Help?

Yes. If you know the tools you need and the steps, it is easy to fix minor veneer problems yourself without professional help.

Can Heat Marks Be Repaired On A Veneer Table Top?

Yes. Put some shellac on a wadding wrapped in a soft cloth and gently smear on the area. Don’t rub. You can also use any alcohol solvent as a hand sanitizer instead of shellac.

When Should I Consider Professional Help For Veneer Table Top Repairs?

When the veneer table top is severely damaged and you don’t have proper knowledge about the specific problem, you should consider taking professional help.

Can I Refinish A Veneer Table Top To Give It A New Look?

Absolutely. Refinishing will brighten the tabletop look. Also, it will take care of some minor veneer damage while giving it a brand-new look.


All the possible solutions to how to repair a damaged veneer table top are mentioned in this article. It is simple but requires a lot of care. So, be patient and take all the time you need. Follow all the steps carefully. In the end, the outcome will be the result of all your efforts.

To learn more about restoring a table , stay with- Restore Journey.

Richard Journey

Written by

Richard Journey

Meet Richard Journey, the Antique Furniture Maestro. With a Fine Arts degree in Furniture Restoration and Conservation, he’s a guardian of historical craftsmanship. His accolades include the Golden Chisel Award, and he’s your guide to discovering and restoring antique treasures.

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