make me pretty – my battle with veneer

August 1, 2012

When I walked past this table at the thrift store I did a double take. It is such a cool shape!
What is it doing at the thrift store? A closer inspection revealed the truth. There was a chunk of the wood veneer missing from the top. Should I get it or keep walking. Well I got it but maybe I should have kept walking. What I have learned from working on this table is don’t buy anything with chipped veneer unless you really, really love it and are willing to work really hard to fix it.


The original chip was only a couple inches wide but a lot of the veneer around the missing piece was not attached to the table anymore so I had to chip that away too. I read that you could cut out a wood veneer chip, making it a perfect rectangle and then put a new piece of veneer in. Sounds reasonable but I could not get my circle into a rectangle.

So I decided to try and take the easy way out. I would sound down my missing chunk and then paint over it. I super sanded it and it looked great. It even looked good when I primed it. But as soon as I put on the paint you could see the circle. Darn it!

Ok, time to get serious. I would just have to remove the whole layer of veneer from the top. I did some research online and found the winning combination – damp towel and iron followed by lots of scraping. Apparently, the older your piece the easier it is to remove the veneer. Old glue it easier to remove than new. My table had sections that came off really easily and some that were really hard to get off. I definitely got some new arm muscles in the process.


After I removed all the veneer I sanded away all the glue and filled all the holes and cracks with wood filler. Then I primed and painted the top again. But she is so pretty now. Possibly worth all the work that went into it!





You can see this table for your self at my space at the West End Antiques Mall!



  1. It is beautiful…may have to go over and take a look at it!

  2. Nice job! It looks shorter like a coffee table, correct? How much are you asking?

    • It is short, like a coffee table. It’s $120 worth of sweat and tears! 🙂

      • It sounds like it. 🙂 I’ll run by and take a look.

  3. Nice table! Do you mind sharing what paint color you used? It is the perfect blue!

    Also congrats on the new shop! We stopped by and love your stuff.

    • I wish I could tell you. It was a gallon of “oops” paint that I got at home depot for $5. I do know that it was made by Glidden. I have a ton of it if you want some. Bring me a paint container and I will fill it up!

      • Oops paint is the best! In fact, I bought some yesterday. Thanks for offering; super kind of you.

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