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We purchased a Japanese style coffee table through a local police auction. The original white finish on a particle board base appears to have been covered with a veneer that was stained black. In trying to refinish the black surface, we noticed a few cracks in the veneer. I tried to patch these with Min-wax wood filler and wet-sanded the surface. My wet-sanding caused my problem. On that day the temp. here in the Phoenix, AZ area was well over 100F. I was doing the sanding outside our garage and apparently the heat-absorption of the black finish coupled with the softening of the glue holding the veneer caused the cracks to widen and to lift the veneer. When I moved the table back into the garage and pressed the lifted veneer, the degree of the lifts (bubbles) was reduced significantly but not completely. So my problem is, can this veneer lift be repaired, and if so, how? If not, is there an easy way to remove all the veneer from the table-top and replace it?
Thanks for any and all advice you can provide, and any direction to sources that could help with this problem.
It sounds like the veneer was applied with a yellow or white glue. They will soften with heat or moisture. You can try heating the area that needs repair with an iron to soften the glue, then put a caul on the veneer with weights or clamps until the glue dries. If you can't fix it, you might consider re-veneering the top. If you do, use a urea type glue to prevent the probem from re-occuring (http://www.qualityvak.com/glue.html). You can get a free instructional DVD on vacuum veneering if you want to learn more about the process at www.qualityvak.com.
Many thanks for your reply and suggestions and links. I'll try the iron technique first and if not successful with that, will give consideration to replacing the veneer. Do you know of any sources for veneer that won't break the bank? The table-top is 36" x 50", so the sheet would have to be quite large.