Reply by Lazyman

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Posted on Call all veneer and restoration specialist

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3522 posts in 1805 days

#1 posted 01-28-2017 03:03 PM

My guess is that this piece sat in a damp attic or basement for a very long time. Hide glue is the way to go. Most people who restore antiques wouldn’t use anything else. My last big project which included some complex veneer application was done with hot hide glue and it is amazing stuff. Follow shipwright’s (he is the resident expert on hide glue, especially related to veneer) suggestion of using moisture and heat to remove the old veneer and reapply with Old Brown Glue. You can use a clothes iron and wet rags. Just take your time and work slowly across the surface. As the glue releases just use a knife to gently separate the veneer. You want the iron just hot enough so you can still touch it with a dry hand and not burn yourself. If you research veneer restoration, you will find that is how the experts do it. The nice thing about hide glue is that it is 100% reversible 10 minutes or 200 years after it sets. Can’t do that with PVA wood glue. Also, hide glue sticks to itself so you do not have to remove any glue residue before reapplication, though a smooth surface will make life easier. You can actually clean the old hide glue off or just smooth it out with hot water and a scotch bright abrasive pad. It runs counter to what most of us think about when working with wood but warm water is your friend when working with veneer and hide glue. Every inch of the large mirror project I posted recently was cleaned with warm water before applying a finish.

One challenge may be dealing with that raised panel where the nob is. Your edge-on photo is too blurry to tell but surely they did not glue that panel to the surface of the veneer. The way the veneer near the panel is still flat makes me wonder but hopefully it just helped prevent moisture from working into the veneer there. Assuming that panel is not glued to the veneer, it may actually help keep the veneer aligned was you clamp it back down.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

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