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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Fixing Severe Veneer Warping

I am restoring and refinishing an antique sewing machine (Free No. 5). As you can see from the photo there is severe veneer damage and warping. I am not sure how to tackle this major repair. Perhaps it is not fixable. Any feedback would be appreciated. Thank you.

Gary

June 18, 2013

I started to work on one of the severely warped panels this morning and the unexpected happened. I was able to completely remove the veneered panels (3 of 8 panels had this major problem). The veneer came off almost completely intact with only minor damage.

Now my challenge is how to reglue the veneer to the substrate wood. Having never done this before I thought I should get some sage advice before going down this path. Thank you in advance.

Gary
 

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Old School
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I am restoring and refinishing an antique sewing machine (Free No. 5). As you can see from the photo there is severe veneer damage and warping. I am not sure how to tackle this major repair. Perhaps it is not fixable. Any feedback would be appreciated. Thank you.

Gary
First try a hot iron to see if it will flatten out and stick. Ease the iron down, you don't want to crack the veneer, you also don't want to burn it, so be cautious. If that doesn't work, we move to plan B.






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As bad as that veneer is buckled I believe I would consider re-veneering it. If you are going to fix it I would take a exacto knife or utility knife and slit the veneer from top to bottom on one bubble at a time and use a thin putty knife or artist spatula and open it up and work super glue under the veneer. Then take a hot iron and press the veneer down until it sticks. Be very careful not to let the fumes from the heated super glue get in your eyes. It hurts really bad. I sometimes put a window fan gently blowing across where I'm working to prevent that from happening again.

Super glue will normally hold up to paint strippers if you don't soak it too long.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
First try a hot iron to see if it will flatten out and stick. Ease the iron down, you don't want to crack the veneer, you also don't want to burn it, so be cautious. If that doesn't work, we move to plan B.





Thanks, Cabinetman. I am going to try a combination of what you and Steve have recommended.

Gary
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Fixing Severe Veneer Warping

As bad as that veneer is buckled I believe I would consider re-veneering it. If you are going to fix it I would take a exacto knife or utility knife and slit the veneer from top to bottom on one bubble at a time and use a thin putty knife or artist spatula and open it up and work super glue under the veneer. Then take a hot iron and press the veneer down until it sticks. Be very careful not to let the fumes from the heated super glue get in your eyes. It hurts really bad. I sometimes put a window fan gently blowing across where I'm working to prevent that from happening again.

Super glue will normally hold up to paint strippers if you don't soak it too long.
Steve, I have tried re-veneering a couple of times with no success. So no skills there yet.

I will try your other suggestion along with the one from Cabinetman and see how far I get. Thanks.

Gary
 

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Old School
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If you slice the veneer, it's likely that the edges will overlay each other, if you get them flat. If that happens, if you position the narrow section on top of the wider one, you can make a single cut through both pieces for a good seam. You may have to use a veneer softener first to get the buckle to be pliable. Using an iron re-activates the glue (hopefully), so the veneer will stick again.

If you use a softener, and then then cut the buckles, you could introduce contact cement under the veneer by gently lifting one side at a time and propping it up to flash dry.

If the panels are veneer plywood, you will not be able to remove the veneer easily. If the panels are a veneer over another substrate, you might consider cutting them out and re-veneering them.






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Rick Mosher
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Hard to tell for sure looking at the photo but it looks like a simple frame and panel construction where the veneer panel sits in a groove in the solid wood. I think you could simply take the solid frame apart and replace the panel either repairing the existing one or just veneering a new panel.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Fixing Severe Veneer Warping

If you slice the veneer, it's likely that the edges will overlay each other, if you get them flat. If that happens, if you position the narrow section on top of the wider one, you can make a single cut through both pieces for a good seam. You may have to use a veneer softener first to get the buckle to be pliable. Using an iron re-activates the glue (hopefully), so the veneer will stick again.

If you use a softener, and then then cut the buckles, you could introduce contact cement under the veneer by gently lifting one side at a time and propping it up to flash dry.

If the panels are veneer plywood, you will not be able to remove the veneer easily. If the panels are a veneer over another substrate, you might consider cutting them out and re-veneering them.
Cabinetman, thanks for the seaming advice. That will help.

Gary
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Fixing Severe Veneer Warping

Hard to tell for sure looking at the photo but it looks like a simple frame and panel construction where the veneer panel sits in a groove in the solid wood. I think you could simply take the solid frame apart and replace the panel either repairing the existing one or just veneering a new panel.
Rick, you are correct in that this is simple frame and panel construction. I have totally dismantled each of the 4 sections. I prefer to be able to repair the old veneer rather than replace but don't know yet if that is possible. Thanks.

Gary
 

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bzguy
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If it's an antique, better to keep it "antique".
You never match the patina of the old wood.
I've used the same exact methods as Steve Neul and Cabinetman, with good results.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Fixing Severe Veneer Warping

If it's an antique, better to keep it "antique".
You never match the patina of the old wood.
I've used the same exact methods as Steve Neul and Cabinetman, with good results.
I agree with wanting to keep the patina of an antique piece. This little sewing machine has quarter sawn oak on all sides as well as the top and will look great when restored and refinished.

Gary
 

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I am restoring and refinishing an antique sewing machine (Free No. 5). As you can see from the photo there is severe veneer damage and warping. I am not sure how to tackle this major repair. Perhaps it is not fixable. Any feedback would be appreciated. Thank you.

Gary

June 18, 2013

I started to work on one of the severely warped panels this morning and the unexpected happened. I was able to completely remove the veneered panels (3 of 8 panels had this major problem). The veneer came off almost completely intact with only minor damage.

Now my challenge is how to reglue the veneer to the substrate wood. Having never done this before I thought I should get some sage advice before going down this path. Thank you in advance.

Gary
Are you saying you got the entire panel out of the frame or the veneer off of it? Anyway the first step would be to get the finish off the old veneer and perhaps use a veneer softener to flatten the wrinkles out of it before proceeding. I assume the veneer is relatively thick so after you get the wrinkles out of it I would sand the old glue off the veneer and the panel before trying to glue it back on. I prefer to use resin glues with veneers. If you have the panel loose, I would lay it on a solid table or the cast iron top of a table saw on wax paper and brush a generous amount of glue on the veneer and the panel and place piece of heavy timber over it separated with wax paper and clamp it down. You could use a little masking tape on it to keep the veneer from sliding around.

I prefer to use resin glues because wood glues sometimes take a very long time to dry toward the center of the veneer and when you take the clamps off of it the wet glue lets go and there is a bubble. I don't like using contact cement because the adhesive isn't very strong and if the panel under the veneer shrinks the glue will just let go and the veneer will bubble like what you have already. A resin glue once mixed will harden in a sealed glass jar.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Are you saying you got the entire panel out of the frame or the veneer off of it? Anyway the first step would be to get the finish off the old veneer and perhaps use a veneer softener to flatten the wrinkles out of it before proceeding. I assume the veneer is relatively thick so after you get the wrinkles out of it I would sand the old glue off the veneer and the panel before trying to glue it back on. I prefer to use resin glues with veneers. If you have the panel loose, I would lay it on a solid table or the cast iron top of a table saw on wax paper and brush a generous amount of glue on the veneer and the panel and place piece of heavy timber over it separated with wax paper and clamp it down. You could use a little masking tape on it to keep the veneer from sliding around.

I prefer to use resin glues because wood glues sometimes take a very long time to dry toward the center of the veneer and when you take the clamps off of it the wet glue lets go and there is a bubble. I don't like using contact cement because the adhesive isn't very strong and if the panel under the veneer shrinks the glue will just let go and the veneer will bubble like what you have already. A resin glue once mixed will harden in a sealed glass jar.
Steve I had the panel out of the frame and when I tried lifting up the veneer it was so loose that it came completely away from the panel.

Removing the stain seems to me like a very risky activity given how wobbly the veneer is.

The veneer is thick enough to carefully remove the glue from it and the back panel.

Thanks for the advice on re-gluing. That will help.

I need to get both resin glue and veneer softener neither of which is available locally. So I will have to order from out of town and that will likely be a week’s delay.

Gary
 

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If you can get the veneer to flatten out with the finish on one side then don't strip it. I just felt like you needed to get the varnish off of it to use the veneer softener. For most of my career I have used Weldwood Plastic Resin Glue. It was easy to use because you just mix the powder with water however the last couple of cans of it I bought had gone bad in the can and wouldn't mix. The last time I needed some resin glue I picked up some Nelson resin glue from Woodcraft and it worked very well. It doen't mix with water though but a liquid component which is supplied. It seem to be thicker than the Weldwood anyway which I think worked better for the veneer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Fixing Severe Veneer Warping

If you can get the veneer to flatten out with the finish on one side then don't strip it. I just felt like you needed to get the varnish off of it to use the veneer softener. For most of my career I have used Weldwood Plastic Resin Glue. It was easy to use because you just mix the powder with water however the last couple of cans of it I bought had gone bad in the can and wouldn't mix. The last time I needed some resin glue I picked up some Nelson resin glue from Woodcraft and it worked very well. It doen't mix with water though but a liquid component which is supplied. It seem to be thicker than the Weldwood anyway which I think worked better for the veneer.
Steve, I think I can get the veneer flattened and glued with the finish still on. I may have to do it in sections rather than all at once.

Thanks for the tips on glue brands.

Gary
 
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