How to Apply Veneer to Wood

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Applying veneer to wood can be a tricky project if you're not sure how to do it. Even if you have a vague idea of how to apply it, there is always the chance that something will go wrong. The first step in applying veneer to wood is to make sure that you have all the proper tools for the job.

Things You'll Need

  • Peel and stick veneer
  • Sandpaper
  • Cloth
  • Shellac
  • Paintbrush
  • Pencil
  • Scrap piece of wood (about a foot long and six inches wide)
  • Box cutter (for cutting veneer)
  • Iron
  • Kraft paper or brown paper grocery bag
  • Flashlight
  • Begin by sanding the surface to which you wish to apply the veneer. Start by using a paper of medium grit, then follow up with fine grit sandpaper. You can use an electric sander if you have one, or you can sand by hand, as both methods are equally as effective. Clean off the sawdust with the cloth and make sure it's free of debris.

  • Apply the shellac to the wood, using the paintbrush. Open the can of shellac, dip the paintbrush in the shellac, and wipe excess shellac off of the brush, using the side of the can. Apply the shellac to the wood in short, even strokes. Make sure that it goes n smoothly and does not leave any bubbles or pieces of the paintbrush on the wood. Allow the shellac to dry before applying the veneer to the wood.

  • Place the veneer over the area of wood that you want to cover. Use a pencil to mark the area where you need to trim the veneer. Be sure to cut it a little bit bigger than the area you are covering. This allows you a margin of error. Once you have determined where you will trim the veneer, use the box cutter to trim off the excess pieces.

  • Pay attention to the veneer once it's been cut. You may have jagged or sharp edges protruding from the places where you trimmed away the excess veneer. If this happens, use sandpaper with fine grit and gently sand the sharp edges down so they are no longer sticking out or sharp.

  • Peel away the paper covering the adhesive portion of the veneer. Place the veneer on the area you wish to cover. Instead of patting the veneer down at the top corner, begin putting pressure on the center of the veneer and press outward. This will keep air bubbles from becoming trapped. Use the scrap piece of wood like a squeegee and beginning at the center, "squeegee" the veneer outward. Use a flashlight to check for bubbles that may have been left in the veneer when you applied it.

  • If bubbles appear in the veneer, set your iron on low and place a piece of Kraft paper or a paper grocery bag over the veneer and gently iron out any remaining bubbles. Make sure that you do not let the iron rest on any one place too long because it can damage the veneer. Instead, keep moving the iron around the surface.

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