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How to remove veneer from furniture

I am in the process of decorating the house at the ranch and I want the fine furniture of my dreams but alas, my pocketbook is not able to handle those purchases.  So I am buying not so gently used antique furniture and spending the time to bring these lovely old pieces back to life.  
   This chest of drawers was badly in need of a makeover and the top was covered with veneer that was chipped and could not be saved.   

Now comes the dilemma on how to remove the veneer without damaging the wood underneath.   
I have heard of removing the veneer by using a iron to heat the glue and then the veneer can be safely removed.  Concerned this process would destroy my iron we made a trip to the dollar store to buy a $9 iron and a $2 hand towel.    Prior to leaving to the dollar store we laid paper towels two layers thick on the top of the chest of drawers and carefully poured water on the towels and left them to soak the veneer.  
Upon our return we  filled the steam compartment of the iron with water and completely wetted the towel with water.  We laid the soaked towel on top of the veneer to be removed and heated the iron to the “cotton” setting and placed it on top of the wet towel for 15-20 seconds. 

 Then we removed the iron and towel and with a wood chisel (or a paint scraper could be used) we carefully scraped the veneer off.  I was amazed, it peeled right off.  I believe the trick is to work in small areas and remove the veneer while it is still hot. 

 Continue until all the veneer is removed, pouring more water on the towel as needed and you may have to go over it a second time to completely remove the glue and fibers.

 We continued this restore by sanding the entire piece just past the prior stain.
Then stained it and covered it with a two coats of poly:)


Don’t forget to Pin!  

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Hannah J Parrish

Tuesday 20th of July 2021

You just took the scary out of removing veneer. I will be looking at old furniture with a whole new interest now!


Thursday 22nd of July 2021

Awe, we are so happy we helped. Thank you for your sweet comment.

Jenny Lynn

Friday 13th of June 2014

That is a great tip. It will have me looking at furniture a little differently.

Huckleberry Love

Tuesday 10th of June 2014

What an awesome tip, Evelyn! I had no idea you could do that! Pinned this one! :)


Tuesday 10th of June 2014

I've never done any furniture makeovers, but you make it look pretty easy. =0)

Michelle Nahom

Tuesday 10th of June 2014

Definitely a helpful tip! I think we have some old furniture that could use some work! Pinned!