Best way to remove piano veneer? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 21 Old 07-28-2012, 12:30 PM Thread Starter
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Best way to remove piano veneer?

I have a piano, circa 1900 model, that has stainable wood underneath damaged veneer. I'd like to remove the veneer and I've read that a chemical remover might work well. Where would I find something like this, and what's the best type? Thanks!
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post #2 of 21 Old 07-28-2012, 12:34 PM
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Do you mean you want to remove the lacquer layer, if so look at a thread called "Piano man" by Leo G, in the Project Showcase forum.

http://www.woodworkingtalk.com/f13/piano-man-40955/

Leo G removed the lacquer for a "re-purposing" of a piano project for a client.

If you mean removing a wood veneer, this would normally mean sanding off the veneer to get down to the substrate.
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post #3 of 21 Old 07-28-2012, 12:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mal View Post
I have a piano, circa 1900 model, that has stainable wood underneath damaged veneer. I'd like to remove the veneer and I've read that a chemical remover might work well. Where would I find something like this, and what's the best type? Thanks!


Dated then, the veneer was more than likely glued with hide glue. Try using a heat gun and a spatula, or a putty knife.








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post #4 of 21 Old 07-28-2012, 01:07 PM
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That is going to be quite a project, removing the veneer on an entire piano. Is the veneer so damaged that you could not just repair the damaged part?

Do you know exactly what wood is underneath?

Is this piano of any value? As a player? An antique? Or what?

You would probably lose any antique value if you remove the veneer.

George
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post #5 of 21 Old 07-28-2012, 01:24 PM Thread Starter
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No value - old cheap piano - not sure of the wood type.

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post #6 of 21 Old 07-28-2012, 01:26 PM Thread Starter
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I have everything working on the inside so playable - just trying to make it look nice on the outside...if I can't stain I'll try to paint..I'll just give it away when finished.
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post #7 of 21 Old 07-28-2012, 02:47 PM
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Remove just the area of the damage and insert a contrasting piece of veneer with an inlay?
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post #8 of 21 Old 07-28-2012, 07:11 PM
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I think you will cause the wood to warp if you remove the veneer and not replace it but if you want to remove it a sodium hydroxide solution (Lye) will do it.
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post #9 of 21 Old 07-28-2012, 07:23 PM
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That veneer was the 1900 equivalent of today's plywood - a way to have a really nice looking piece but keeping cost down by veneering an inexpensive wood with an thin layer of an expensive one.

That substrate is probably a relatively soft wood which may not stain all that well. Your best bet would be to patch the bad veneer and refinish the piece.

Since you're going to give it away anyway, why not offer it as-is. Someone may want to try to restore it.
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post #10 of 21 Old 07-28-2012, 09:04 PM
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The 1930s piano I am working on is mainly made from poplar.

Measure Twice Cut Once -- It's a lot easier to cut more off then it is to cut MORON.
Finishing is 3 parts chemistry and 1 part VooDoo http://lrgwood.com
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post #11 of 21 Old 07-28-2012, 09:47 PM
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I'd quit right there and paint that sucker...abstract.
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post #12 of 21 Old 07-28-2012, 09:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Neul View Post
I think you will cause the wood to warp if you remove the veneer and not replace it but if you want to remove it a sodium hydroxide solution (Lye) will do it.
I agree with Steve....veneer is usually a structural member, especially after the turn of the 20th-century.
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post #13 of 21 Old 07-28-2012, 10:46 PM
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If the piano is built the same way the one I am working on the veneer is just that, pretty. Mine is made from may laminations of poplar. The upper outside section is about 3/4" thick and has 6 or 7 laminations. The lower section is about 1 1/2" thick and attached to the outer 3/4" thick section. Removing the veneer should have little if any affect on the structure of the piano.

Measure Twice Cut Once -- It's a lot easier to cut more off then it is to cut MORON.
Finishing is 3 parts chemistry and 1 part VooDoo http://lrgwood.com
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post #14 of 21 Old 07-28-2012, 11:23 PM
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I don't know....uprights and grands are made differently. The grand is glorified bent plywood, no?
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post #15 of 21 Old 07-28-2012, 11:29 PM
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Mine is a baby grand and yes it it a bent lamination. Poplar laminations.

Measure Twice Cut Once -- It's a lot easier to cut more off then it is to cut MORON.
Finishing is 3 parts chemistry and 1 part VooDoo http://lrgwood.com
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post #16 of 21 Old 07-28-2012, 11:31 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks so much for the comments everyone - great forum. I'm new to this, but I think I'm going to try removing the veneer...really nothing to lose - if it doesn't work I toss it. I'll get the suggested chem tomorrow.

Best way to remove piano veneer?-image-1101640471.jpg
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post #17 of 21 Old 07-28-2012, 11:33 PM
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Keep the ivory and ebony!!
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post #18 of 21 Old 07-28-2012, 11:51 PM
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If the chemical removal of the veneer works out, it would probably be best to just replace the veneer on just the damaged side. My wife would be happy with a free piano like that in it's current condition...just park the ugly side against a wall .
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post #19 of 21 Old 07-29-2012, 01:46 AM
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It will not be quick and easy to remove the veneer with sodium hydroxide. you will have to wet the veneer long enough for it to soak through the veneer. Perhaps if you would score the veneer with a wallpaper removal tool first it will help get the solution through the finish. One thing I forgot to mention is after you get the veneer off rinse the wood off as good as you can with water and then neutralize the sodium hydroxide with vinegar.

I know the Lye solution will take veneer off because I had a furniture refinishing shop at one time and I had a dip tank to strip paint. If you put anything made of plywood or veneer on it in the dip tank the chemical would peal the veneer off. I also had a antique dealer neighbor that sold a lot of pine furniture. The way he was getting pine furniture is he imported old beat up walnut and mahogany antiques and he put them in a dip tank and the solution would strip the veneer off of them leaving solid pine. He then sanded the pieces and finished them with Bri-Wax.
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post #20 of 21 Old 07-29-2012, 12:57 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Steve - I'll post the result
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