How to Repair Water Damaged Oak Veneer Table Top

What You'll Need
Contact cement
Craft knife
Veneer edging tape
Benzene compound
Sand paper
Soft, dry cloth

Oak veneer is a thin wooden layer attached by glue to a solid base of furniture; it is vulnerable to damage when there is high humidity or excessive dryness. Water, humidity or high heat can soften the glue and result in damage such as peeling, cracking, and blistering.

Step 1: Reglue the Veneer

Lifted or cracked veneer may be reglued as long as it is not completely broken. It is easier to repair large areas if the veneer is broken off along the cracks. The edges of the break should not be damaged when regluing the broken veneer.

Clean the bonding surfaces first before applying glue. Make sure that the broken pieces are carefully fitted together so the items match perfectly. Put contact cement on both surfaces; an alternative is to use carpenter’s glue on the base wood. Press the broken edges together, then clamp down the reglued area. It may be necessary to refinish the surface of the table top by using a varnish when the mend is completed.

Step 2: Replace the Chipped or Missing Veneer

While replacing a veneer is easy, the difficult part is in finding a new piece that will match the existing veneer. Usually, a patch veneer for a table top is taken from the same furniture; it is taken from an area that is not visible to the eye. Use a craft knife in lifting off the replacement veneer. A veneer edging tape can also be used in filling in the hole of a small, missing veneer. For larger patches of damaged oak veneer, one may have to find a sheet of veneer from specialized wood suppliers.

In fitting a patch to a missing or chipped veneer, set a piece of paper over the damaged area. Mark the edges of the damaged area where the replacement veneer will be put into. Place the patch against the surface, and secure the bond with a contact cement or glue.

Step 3: Replace the Lifted Veneer

Lifted veneer is also common among table tops and particularly occurs in the corner. It can be reglued if it remains undamaged. To do this, remove the residue of the glue using the craft knife. Never lift the veneer further since it can be easily damaged. Then clean the surfaces with benzene compound to completely remove residue. Finish the task by sanding the surfaces and wiping with a soft cloth.

In regluing the lifted veneer, one can use carpenter’s glue or contact cement; however, carpenter’s glue is more ideal since it can allow repositioning. Apply the contact cement or carpenter’s glue on the surfaces; spread the glue along the grain using a small brush. Smooth the lifted veneer carefully into its place. When using contact cement, be sure to match the veneer exactly in its place.

These steps will guide you in repairing water-damaged oak veneer table top; with these, you can be confident that you are doing the repair right.