Oak veneer is a thin sheet of oak that can be applied to plywood, MDF or other surfaces to give it the appearance of solid hardwood. Damage to veneer can occur due to heat, extreme dry conditions or too much moisture which can cause bubbles or blisters. Typically, veneer is reattached to the substrate, or foundation material, in one of three ways. Wood or hide glue is generally the most permanent, although contact cement is also popular. The third method is by reactivating the adhesive that is on the back of many veneers using a household iron.
Lift the edge of the veneer and clear any dust, debris or old adhesive from under the raised portion of the veneer. Use acetone to soften old glues, but use it sparingly to avoid releasing glue under portions that are still in good condition. Allow the acetone to dry. For damage in the centre of a piece, see Section 4.
Paint a thin layer of wood glue onto the substrate surface underneath the raised portion of veneer. Keep the glue as even as possible. Allow the glue to set for five minutes before pressing the raised veneer into place. Use a damp rag to remove any excess glue.
Set a flat board or piece of plywood on top of the veneer over the reglued area. Use clamps to press the board down, or weigh it down with bricks or heavy books for 24 hours to allow the glue to dry. For vertical surfaces, press a flat board against the surface, braced with weights, or cover the veneer with a board and tape the board tight with duct tape.
Lift the edge and clear debris and old adhesive from the surface underneath and the back of the veneer using acetone and a thin, flexible scraper. Work gently to avoid cracking the veneer.
Brush a coat of contact cement on the back of the raised veneer and the surface underneath. Set a clean scrap of lumber across the surface underneath the veneer to keep the veneer from adhering until the contact cement is dry to the touch.
Remove the scrap lumber and press the veneer down firmly. Roll across the surface with a J-roller or rolling pin to press the veneer into place.
Wet a rag with water and wring it out as much as possible. Lay it over the raised portion of veneer.
Press the veneer with the iron on top of the dampened rag. Allow the iron to sit until the glue has time to reactivate. Continue pressing the veneer, moving across the area and working one small area at a time.
Roll across the veneer with a rolling pin or J-roller to press the veneer firmly into place.
Make a small incision with a utility or razor craft knife down the centre of a blistered or raised area that is not near an edge.
Inject a small amount of wood glue into the slice. Press the veneer with a J-roller or rolling pin to squeeze out any excess glue, then wipe with a damp rag.
Set waxed paper over the repair. Place a flat board over the area and weight or clamp as for wood glue repairs.