How to Repair Figured Wood Veneer




About: I am a woodworker, blogger and YouTube content creator. I love woodworking, problem solving and designing new things.

There are so many cool things you can do with veneer, especially highly figured veneer. Burl veneers are one of my favorites, but the most highly figured burls, (and other veneers) often have holes in them that must be repaired before you can use them. Fortunately, these are easy to repair!

Step 1: Getting Started

Basically, the way I repair these types of defects is by filling the hole with a piece (or pieces) of veneer that I cut from scraps of similar veneer.

It is best to work from the back side of veneer. This helps to keep from accidentally damaging the show side of your veneer. The first step in repairing a hole in your veneer is to place some blue tape on the front side. This will hold the repair material in place. I use the blue painters tape because it is easier to remove than regular masking tape.

Step 2: Cover the Defect

The next thing is to find suitable material to fill the defect. We seldom use every bit of veneer for a project which means that we can usually get repair material from scrap pieces that are left over. Holes in veneer, especially burls, are usually where part of a knot has fallen out. If this is the case, then find a knot or a similarly dark area and cut out a piece that looks about the same size as the hole you are going to fill.

The tiny pieces of repair material can be hard to handle and I often pick them up by stabbing them with my knife.

Trim the repair material until it matches the hole. Get it as close as you can, but don't worry if it isn't a perfect fit. The hole I repaired for this Instructable was over an inch wide and it took several pieces of repair material to cover it.

Step 3: Add Glue and More Fill If Needed

At this point there might still be a few tiny voids in your repair. Here is how we will fix them.

Once you have the hole filled with patch material then rub some yellow glue into the repair. The glue serves multiple functions. First, it will help to hold the patch in place even before it dries. Second, the moisture from the glue cause the patch to swell a bit which helps to get a seamless repair.

Once you’ve added some glue then place a little more patch material over the repair area (if needed). Now, take a blunt object, like an upside-down screwdriver, and smush the excess material into the repair. I used an upside down Xacto knife.

Step 4: Seal It Up!

Add a bit more glue, cover it with blue tape, and let it sit for several hours, overnight is best. Covering the patch with tape will cause the glue to dry more slowly. This gives it more time to soak in and more time for the patch to swell in place.

After I covered the repair, I rubbed the tape with the end of my Xacto knife to make sure everything was firmly in place!

Remove the tape after it has had time to dry and inspect your work. Most of the time you will see a perfect and final repair! If you are not 100% happy with your repair then just rub in a bit more fill material, a little glue, and cover it up again.



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    7 Discussions


    2 years ago

    Very nice. For small holds try this : coffee grounds ( fine) with blue tape behind then put a drop of ca glue on top - let it dry - then sand it flat. Sometimes you have to do it twice but it takes just a few seconds.

    2 replies

    2 years ago

    I have fills such areas with colored epoxies. And if you didn't know it, you would never know it. Either way, good project.

    1 reply
    Charlie Kocourekgm280

    Reply 2 years ago

    Colored epoxy is another great alternative, especially with solid wood. Thanks!!


    2 years ago

    I have used a scrap length of thin wall electrical conduit as a homemade veneer punch, simply bevel one end to a sharp "V" and deform it so it has an irregular shape. Lay a scrap piece over the defect, tap both with the punch and glue in the result. Crude but effective, to do a larger area just do multiple procedures.

    Joe Woodworker also gives some tips on this:

    Moistening the workpiece will also be helpful too when punching.

    A real veneer punch is quite pricey, so your method is a good way to inexpensively deal with the problem also.

    1 reply

    A veneer punch can work wonderfully. I have not tried a homemade punch, but it sounds like a good way to go. Thanks!