Richard Tozer

Conservation & Restoration

Veneer Restoration

Because veneer is only a thin layer of wood attached with glue to a solid base, it is very vulnerable to damage on wooden furniture. On old furniture, the glue that holds the veneer is often not water-resistant. Prolonged humidity or exposure to water can soften the glue, letting the veneer blister, crack, or peel.

Veneer is also easily damaged from the surface, and old veneers are often cracked, buckled, or broken, with chips or entire pieces missing. Cracked, broken, or chipped veneer requires some additional effort, such as finding a patch to match the surrounding surface.
In most cases, as long as the veneer layer is basically in good shape, the thinness that makes it damage-prone also makes it easy to repair. Undamaged veneer can be reglued; chips and bare spots can be filled with matching veneer. If we are careful to match the grain the repairs will hardly show.

Small blisters in veneer can usually be flattened with heat. Lifted veneer occurs most often at the corners of tabletops, on cabinet and dresser edges, legs, and drawer fronts. If the loose veneer is undamaged, it can be reglued.