Old veneer furniture is notorious for having damaged veneer. This dresser top had water damage, resulting in lifting veneer. If you have this problem, here’s how to repair bubbled veneer!
Get more of my favorite Tips for Repairing Old Furniture here!
Bubbled veneer. When the wood veneer has lifted up in the middle of the table top, dresser top, or honestly, any big piece of wood that has veneer on it.
Sometimes the veneer is only bubbled in one spot, but other times the veneer is bubbled all over!
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Today I’m sharing how to repair bubbled veneer without removing all of the veneer around it.
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- Cut into the bubbled veneer with the utility knife, just enough to be able to lift it up. Then break off and remove the bubbled up veneer. *See below for an extra tip.
- Mix up a small amount of Bondo and use the spreader or putty knife to fill in the hole. I like to overfill the hole a little bit so I can sand it down flush with the other veneer.
- Let the Bondo dry for about 30 minutes. Using a power sander, sand the Bondo flush with the veneer.
- Repeat steps 2-3, even if it feel flush and smooth. This will help you get the most seamless look and feel.
- Use the utility knife to make grain marks in the Bondo. If you're working with oak that has a lot of wood grain, make sure to put a lot of grain marks in the Bondo. *See below for an extra tip.
- Last but not least, seal the Bondo and wood veneer with clear shellac or primer for the best looking paint finish.
Extra Tips and FAQ for Repairing Bubbled Veneer
Can I cut the Bubbled Veneer out instead of breaking it off?
I prefer to break it off instead of cutting a rectangle shape around the bubbled veneer.
If the edges of the veneer don’t get filled completely smooth and seamless, it will look a lot more natural for the veneer edge to be jagged instead of straight.
When is the best time to add grain marks in the Bondo?
You can make the grain marks before or after you sand the last application of Bondo.
I’ve even made grain marks in the Bondo a few months after applying the Bondo.
Just be sure to give it a light sanding after to remove any Bondo that has raised up a bit.
What if I can see the outline after I paint it?
After the paint is dry, repeat steps 2-3 and then make new grain marks and seal it for paint.
Can you Stain Bondo?
Bondo will not take stain like wood does. Actually no wood filler actually takes stain like wood does.
If you want to make Bondo blend in with wood, it is best to use this Bondo Wood Filler.
It mixes up just like regular Bondo, but it looks more like wood filler.
When the Bondo is set and dry, you can use different shades of gel stain to hide the repair.
Click here to learn How to Stain Bondo Wood Filler!
Can I use All-Purpose Bondo instead of the Autobody kind?
You can use the Autobody Bondo, All-purpose Bondo or Wood Filler Bondo (linked above). They are all very similar.
The only problem I have had with the all purpose kind is that the hardener is clear, so you can’t tell if you’ve mixed enough hardener into it. And if there isn’t enough harder in it, it will take a long long time to dry.
This pink autobody kind is easy to see because the hardener is red. Once mixed, the bondo should be about the same color as the spreader.
How long does Bondo last once it’s mixed?
Bondo starts to harden about 3 – 4 min after you mix the hardener into it. So, only mix small batches, and work fast!
Where can I buy Bondo?
Bondo is available at a lot of hardware stores and comes in the quart of gallon size. Here is a link to Bondo on Home Depot. Please consider ordering it online for store pickup, to help out this little website of mine.
You can also find it here on Amazon. This little kit comes with the Bondo that I prefer to use, the hardener and the spreader!
Optional – Remove the Veneer
If your veneer is loose or pretty damaged, you might want to remove all of it instead. Here is our video and tutorial on the insanely easy way to remove veneer.
Hope that helps!!