Repairing Veneer with Wood Filler

You can easily fix your furniture with damaged or chipped veneer, yes YOU can! Here’s how easy repairing veneer with wood filler can be!

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Most old furniture from the thrift store comes with some sort of damage.

The most common of all is damaged veneer!

A lot of furniture, even high quality furniture, was made with wood veneer over wood.

Overtime that veneer gets snagged and chipped or the glue becomes loose, making it easy for the veneer to chip off.

Chipped Wood Veneer

The good news is…

Anyone can fix chipped veneer!

It’s really easy, and it honestly doesn’t take very long to fix.

PLUS, no one will ever know there was any damage there once you fix it and finish it!

Repairing Veneer with Wood Filler

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Supplies Needed:

  • Bondo Wood Filler
  • Paint Stick
  • Plastic Spreader
  • Power Sander – I use this amazing 3×4 Vacuum Compatible SurfPrep Sander ((Use code RAY10 to get 10% off!))
  • 220 Grit Sandpaper – (You can use more coarse sandpaper to sand through it faster too!)

How to Repair Veneer

  1. Remove Loose Veneer
  2. Mix Wood Filler
  3. Spread it Over the Chipped Veneer
  4. Let Wood Filler Dry
  5. Sand Wood Filler Down
  6. Paint or Stain!

Step One: Remove Loose Veneer

First, remove the loose veneer.

Typically if some of it is chipped, there is more loose veneer right around the chipped-off veneer.

I like to gently try to pull up the edge of the veneer with my fingertip, just to see if it is loose.

Chipped Wood Veneer

If it comes up easily, then I lift the edge up and let it chip off.

You don’t want to skip this step, and find out after you repaired the chipped area, that more of the veneer is chipping off right where you repaired it!

**After you remove the loose veneer, give that area a little scuff sand with 220 grit sandpaper just to help the wood filler stick better.

Then just make sure the area is clean and dust/chip free!

Step Two: Mix Wood Filler

Next, mix up the wood filler.

Yeah, you have to mix it.

But, honestly, this is the best kind of wood filler to fix chipped veneer.

We aren’t using just any type of wood filler!

This wood filler is stronger, spreads out easier, and dries way faster than normal wood filler!

So in a well-ventilated area, mix up the Bondo wood filler.

Mix the Bondo base and the included hardener together to make a wood filler that will start to harden within 5-10 minutes.

How to Mix Bondo Wood Filler

  • Scoop the Bondo base onto a piece of cardboard or scrap piece of wood.
  • Only mix up a small amount at a time – this stuff starts to harden FAST!
  • Knead the hardening agent (included when you buy Bondo) and squirt a little bit onto the Bondo base. **Use about a 3-4″ long squeeze of hardener for a golf ball size of the base.
  • Mix the base and the hardener together until it’s one color. (Work fast!)

Can You Use Different Types of Bondo?

Yes! You don’t have to use the wood filler version. You can use the All-Purpose Bondo or this Auto Body Bondo! They all work the same!

The only one that you can really stain though is the Wood Filler version.

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Step Three: Spread it Over the Chipped Veneer Area

Working quickly, spread the mixed up Bondo wood filler over the damaged area.

You have about 5-10 minutes to work with the wood filler, depending on how much hardener to the base you mixed together.

Use a Bondo spreader, plastic scraper, or an old gift card to spread the Bondo around.

I like to overfill the damaged area so then I can sand it down to flush to the wood around it.

If you don’t overfill the area, you’ll probably have to go back with a second layer of Bondo. Who wants to do that?!

Bondo Wood Filler Drying

Step Four: Let Wood Filler Dry

After the wood filler is spread out all over the area that is damaged, it’s time to let it dry.

It takes about 30 minutes for it to dry hard!

It’s seriously so fast!

Step Five: Sand Wood Filler Down

Once the Bondo is dry, bust out the power sander.

(Yeah, you could sand it down by hand, but honestly, that will take a bit. Bondo is decently hard.)

Using 220 grit sandpaper, sand the Bondo wood filler down flush with the rest of the wood around it.

It should only take a minute to get it sanded down smooth.

Sanded down Bondo Wood Filler

If you have a lot of it to sand off, you can use a more coarse grit of sandpaper, but then you’ll need to go back over it to smooth out the coarse texture that is left behind.

If you just use 220 grit sandpaper, you won’t have to sand back over it. And 220 grit will eat through it pretty well!

Step Six: Paint or Stain

Next, you can paint it or stain it!

Check out this wood stain repair tutorial to learn more.

No one will ever know that there used to be damage in that spot!

How to Paint over Bondo

Make sure to prime the Bondo and your wood to get an even sheen with your paint finish. A good primer (this BIN shellac primer is the best!) will also prevent any bleedthrough issues you might have with the sanded wood.

repaired veneer and painted

Can You Stain Bondo?

As long as you use the Wood Filler Bondo (instead of the other kinds of Bondo, you can stain it!

But, DON’T use regular wood stain!

Use a gel stain (General Finishes Java Gel Stain is my favorite!) to stain the Bondo wood filler and the rest of the wood.

Check out this post on how to repair (and stain) chipped wood furniture to see how to stain Bondo!

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