How to Bend a Wood Veneer

Written by nicole byerly
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How to Bend a Wood Veneer
Bending wood veneer allows you to cover curved furniture or surfaces. (wood background image by Nataliya Litvinova from

Wood makes a great building material due to its strength, low cost, ease of use and beautiful appearance. Wood veneer is an exceptional choice because it has all the characteristics of solid wood, but is a lot thinner and less expensive. Made from extremely thin slices of wood, wood veneer is typically less than 1/8 inch thick. Wood veneer can be applied to any wood item created with particle board or other low grade wood. It is applied to the exterior surface of the furniture. This creates a more expensive appearance at a fraction of the cost.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Heat gun
  • Wood veneer
  • Heavy duty clamps
  • Wood glue
  • Finishing nails
  • Hammer
  • 120-grit sandpaper

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  1. 1

    Rough the surface that the veneer will be attached to using the 120-grit sandpaper. This will help the veneer to bond as it creates a more porous surface. Rub the sandpaper over the entire surface.

  2. 2

    Lay the wood veneer on a flat surface with the front side facing up. This will be the side that you wish to put on the exterior of the furniture.

  3. 3

    Apply heat thoroughly to the front side of the wood veneer using the heat gun. Hold the heat gun 6 to 10 inches from the surface and apply heat evenly to the wood working from end to end to create a uniform finish. Continue to apply heat to the surface for 15 to 20 minutes.

  4. 4

    Flip the wood veneer on the flat surface so the back side faces up. This will be the side where the glue is applied to bond the wood veneer to a new surface.

  5. 5

    Apply heat thoroughly to the back side of the wood veneer using the heat gun.

  6. 6

    Apply glue to the back side of the wood veneer currently facing upward. Gently pick up the wood veneer and place it onto the surface you wish to mould it to.

  7. 7

    Press the wood veneer around the curves of the structure, gently so you do not cause any cracks in the surface. Carefully rub the wood veneer onto the structure to seal the bond.

  8. 8

    Clamp the wood veneer to the structure. The number of wood clamps needed depends on the shape and size of the object, as well as the complexity of the bend. For steep bends, apply a clamp every 4 to 6 inches along the edges. For shallow curves, a clamp every 6 to 12 inches will work OK. Allow the wood glue to dry for 24 hours.

  9. 9

    Remove the clamps and apply a finishing nail every 4 inches along the exterior of the wood veneer.

Tips and warnings

  • Rubber cement or film adhesive are two of the best options for adhering veneer to another item or surface.
  • Glue Advice site below can inform you of specific glues for other surfaces such as veneer to ceramic, leather, metal, or material other than wood.

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