Deep sigh of relief over here–the wood veneer is glued in place on my table and it looks great!

I’m so excited to share this part of the project with you because I totally ventured out into uncharted waters with this, and while I am certainly not a wood-working pro, I am thrilled that I have learned how to do something totally new and unfamiliar to me–and that I was able to do it successfully!  Has it required a pretty structured naptime routine for the past 2 weeks, plus a couple overnight stays at grandma’s house for the kids in order for me to get it done? Admittedly, yes.  But in retrospect, I wouldn’t say that removing and replacing veneer is a particularly difficult project really–just many small steps and a good bit of time and patience.

It’s been super empowering too, because now I will be more inclined to take on challenges like this in the future–I thinking many more garage sale and craigslist and thrift store projects are sure to follow.


Every piece of furniture is different from the next, and I’ve learned (like with almost anything) there are several methods for achieving basically the same results, but I’ll just share with you how I repaired and replaced my damaged veneer.


First off, in case you missed the original post, I got this farmhouse table and 6 lovely chairs off of Craigslist for $100.  A large section of the veneer was completely damaged due to a burn-through which left the underlying substrate (in this case, particle board) exposed and slightly raised.  There was no camouflaging this damage.

Initially, I was uncertain if I would replace both the burned “planks” of wood or just do a smaller veneer patch, so I went ahead and stripped the finish off the entire table.

Shortly after stripping the finish, I took the advice of several wood-working pros to replace the veneer entirely over both of the planks rather than do a patch.  So I busted out our old iron, some wet rags, and a putty knife, and I steamed and scraped the veneer up.

Once that was done, I used an oil-based wood filler (DAP Plastic Wood) to fill in all the little gouges in the particle board. Then, I sanded the whole area as flat as I could with my sheet palm sander (using 150 grit fine sandpaper) and primed it with an oil-based primer. 

Now the area was sealed and flat. I then used an 80-grit piece of sandpaper to scarify the primed surface so the adhesive would have something to grab.  Finally, I cleaned the entire area of dust using a damp cloth, and gave it a final rub down with a tack cloth to remove any remaining residue.  

Next, I measured my table, then measured and cut the veneer to fit.  I used a utility knife (with a brand new blade) and my level as a straightedge, and I cut it right on the floor of my garage (taped down with painters tape so it wouldn’t move).  I was nervous of screwing this part up, so I definitely measured twice.  The great thing about the $30 piece of veneer I bought was that there was a lot MORE than I needed, so I had room for a mistake or two.  What a relief, too, since my boys managed to damage one end of it while it was acclimating in the garage, and I made a bad cut with my knife in another area.
Anyway, once it was cut to size, I laid it on the table to check the fit, then trimmed the pieces of veneer again in order to get them just right.  Finally, I was ready to glue them down!

With the table surface completely ready, all I needed to do was apply contact cement to both the surface of the table, and the back of the veneer using a disposable brush.

I gave it about 25 minutes to dry until it became tacky, then I glued it down.  I was able to make some pencil marks on the table and the veneer before hand which helped in lining it all up correctly.
Once it was in place, I used my pampered chef rolling pin to apply pressure and smooth the surface.  I am not sure the pros would approve of that decision but oh well; I didn’t have a J Roller and I think my method worked out alright.  I put as much pressure as I could as I rolled, working from the center out to remove any air pockets.  Finally, I gave it a fine sanding down on the edges to level it a bit more with the rest of the table.  And here it is:
I am so pleased with how everything as gone thus far, and I can’t wait to lay down some stain next!  Before I do, however, I am going dent and scratch the new veneer in a few places so it matches the rest of the wood a little better, and doesn’t look so brand spankin new! 🙂  (hmmm…or maybe I should just turn my kids loose on top of it??)  That’s it for now…
See you next time!

2 thoughts on “Step 4 of Table Makeover: Applying Wood Veneer

  1. Crafty Homeschool Mama

    Hi Beck.
    I decided to go with dark wood top and distressed creamy white for the table base and chairs. I finished staining and just put the poly on today so I am almost done with this part of the project! It looks so pretty so far.

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