Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Refinishing an Heirloom Part 1 - Gluing Vaneer Down

Exactly a year ago this week, my portion of my mothers estate was delivered to my house.

My mother passed away after living with me for over three months and we cleaned out her house and then the items I got were brought to my home by my sister. Here is a link to the post about that and there is a picture of this radio table and the horrible shape it was in when it arrived.

I started work on the table when it arrived along with all the other items I 
inherited but Princess Five had a horrible roll over a few weeks later which put all my efforts on finishing the items aside for a full year now.

Looking at that post, I actually feel better about my life the past year. I had nine pieces of furniture delivered and I have finished 7 1/2 of them! I was feeling so behind in so many areas due to such crazy times but after looking at that post, I was so excited to see that I get more done than I realize!

Really, this table didn't need a ton of work but we just didn't have the time to get back to it and Princess Fives damaged arm wouldn't allow her to be able to do much until now. She wasn't really excited to help me with all she has going on but after we got started and she was able to see some results, she started to get more excited.

The first thing that needs to be fixed on a wood item is any lifted veneer. Veneer is a thin layer of wood grain placed on top of other woods or bases to give beauty to the piece, to make it weigh less than a solid hard wood, or to make it less expensive than a solid piece as a thin piece of wood is cheaper than a full thickness.

Sometimes the veneer gets caught and lifts up, gets wet and the water damages that thin piece and it will warp up. When this happens, if the damage isn't super bad, you can glue it back down by using a syringe and wood glue. It has to be a thin or gorilla glue type rather than an Elmer's type.

You can also use a very thin knife or spatula to spread a thin coat under the veneer. Push down the veneer and wipe any excess glue off. You can then put waxed freezer paper over the area and clamp down the veneer until it is dried. If the area of damage in not in a place a clamp will work, you can use heavy books to flatten the area until the glue has dried.

Once it is dried, you can sand off the excess dried glue. If there are gaps around the area, I will share in tomorrows post about how to fill those. Make sure you use a very fine grit sand paper. The higher the number, the more fine the sand paper.

Steel wool is the opposite. The lower the number, the more fine it is. When finishing a wood item, I usually use 150 grit or higher. Always sand with the grain. I like to hand sand for finish work as the finish sander will sometimes make circular marks on the wood. 

Once I have sanded the item, I wipe it with a damp cloth or paper towels to get the fine dust off, and when doing this, you can see how beautiful the item will look with stain. The water brings out the grain giving it some depth. You can see that in these two pictures.

You can see the way the glue holds the veneer down and if you don't do it, the veneer will catch on things and snap off making it really hard to fix. You then have to use filler or putty mixed with stain to fill the gap but it doesn't look as nice. I suggest you make sure there are no splinters, bubbles or loose veneer on the item before you start refinishing.

Check in tomorrow for part two. Have a Blessed Day. 

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