Wood Veneer Tools you need for your first veneering project

It’s a common misconception that working with veneers requires specialized tools like an expensive veneer vacuum press. However, you’ll be pleased to know that most essential wood veneer tools are already in your workshop or readily available at the hardware stores.

 

Whether making minor repairs, replacing edge banding, or swapping out old veneer, let’s explore the tools that can help you succeed with veneer furniture.

Table of Contents

The Vacuum Press

The traditional method of veneering a panel or substrate with a vacuum press.

 

The veneer vacuum press is used with a vacuum bag and air compressors. By removing the air in the bag, it applies the necessary pressure to the veneer surface to ensure no air bubbles occur while the glue dries.    

 

For those with a small work space and whom work on veneer only occasionally, I am sure you do not want to spend the money or space for this type of set up.  There has got to be another way!  And luckly there is.

The Wood Veneer Tools you actually Need

When starting to work with veneer it can be overwhelming.  What tools do you require?  Do you need that Veneer saw and what about that fancy veneer tape? 

 

I am ashamed to admit, that I did purchase a number of “Veneer Specialized” tools. Only to discover in my veneer journey, that I did not need them.  In fact I already had tools in my workshop that worked better!

Cleaning and Stripping Veneer

paint removal tools; chemical stripper, heat gun, carbide scraper
My paint removing tools. Only use a carbid scrapper on solid wood.

While carbide scrapers are popular for their sharp blades, they are risky on veneer due to their thinness—a small slip could cause significant and deep scratches into the veneer. This damage to veneer is not an easy fix. Instead, here are the best tools for a safe alternative:

 

Chemical Strippers: my go-to for removing old paint and varnish without damaging the veneer. If available, opt for a “green” stripper to reduce chemical exposure.

 

Plastic Putty Knives: These minimize the risk of scratching the veneer compared to metal versions.

 

Chip Brushes: Inexpensive brushes are perfect for applying strippers.

 

Steel Wool: Use fine grade for scrubbing at your chemical stripper or cleaning the surface with white spirits.

 

White Spirits: Or Mineral Spirits, depending on where you live. This is a handy way to clean wax off of a surface and expose what the wood grain would look like with an oil finish.

 

Cleaning Essentials: Clean rags, a bucket, and other cleaning supplies are crucial. Check out my detailed guide on preparing like a pro for more on this topic.

Possible products for you to achieve your project

Repair and Preparation Tools

Borma Wachs Wood Filler, in various colours
My favourite wood fillers!

Wood Filler: This is essential for patching small holes or cracks. While my favourite Borma Wachs wood fillers are unavailable in the USA, Mohawk offers a good alternative.

 

Two-part epoxy is crucial for more substantial repairs, especially on damaged corners or more significant defects.

 

Clamps: Necessary for securing pieces as glue dries.

 

Essential Hand Tools: Screwdrivers and hammers for dismantling and reassembling.  You don’t require many power tools when refinishing veneer furniture.  Perhaps a drill and of course your sander.

 

Utility Knife: Keep a sharp replacement blade handy for precise cuts; replace the blade regularly.

 

Hobby Syringe: Ideal for applying glue under loose veneer edges.

Possible products for you to achieve your project

Dual-Use Tools: Dry Iron and Heat Gun

These tools I consider as dual use.  They are both important for removing and repairing veneer as well as for the application process. 

Dry Iron: Useful for removing and applying veneer and fixing air bubbles underneath.

Heat Gun: Helpful for removing veneer and applying edge banding on concave curves. 

Iron on veneer using a dry iron and white cotton cloth

Possible products for you to achieve your project

When I bought my dry iron and heat gun, I thought that I would only use these items occasionally.  Gosh was I wrong!  They are probably my go to tools and as my refinishing includes more veneer work, I find I am pulling these tools out regularly.

If you do not have these tools yet,  keep an eye out for reasonable prices as they do go on sale regularly. 

Safety Gear

Safety supplies for furniture refinishing
Invest in safety equipment

As furniture refinishers working for ourselves, it is important that we take the time to research and ensure we take all necessary steps to protect our health.  For example; did you know that many tree species are toxic?  

 

This section is not specific wood veneer tools but are the basic safety equipment you should always have on hand in the workshop.

 

Dust Mask or Respirator: This is crucial during sanding, applying chemical removers, or applying finishes due to their potential toxicity.

 

Gloves and Eye Protection: Protect your hands from chemicals and your eyes from wood dust.

Sanding Tools

Hand sanding Tools for furniture refinishing
My go to hand sanding tools

Sanding tools is an easy place to spend your money.  Anything to avoid burning through the thin veneer and ruining your project.  But hold up before you buy any more tools and read this how to sand veneer guide. 

 

If it’s to late and you already sanded through the veneer, don’t fret.  Small areas are easy to repair.  Especially on darker wood types.  

 

Electric Sander: This tool saves time on larger surfaces, but reading up on how to sand veneer properly is essential to avoid damage. How to sand veneer will provide you with indepth how to, as well as necessary tools…. like a pencil. 

 

Hand Sanding Tools: Include a sanding block or pad and sandpaper in various grits. To protect your hands, wear tougher gloves.

Possible products for you to achieve your project

Measurement and Layout Tools

lay out your veneer and determine the pattern you wish to use.

Repairing or resurfacing a larger area on your veneer project, will require that you measure and joint pieces of veneer together.  It seems daunting, but again, your utility knife will play a key role, as well as the following tools. 

 

Measuring Tools: Keep various rulers and a tape measure handy for accurate measurements.

 

Square and Level: Check angles and straightness.

 

Marking Tools: Use pencils or chalk to mark cuts and joints.

 

Tape: Painter’s tape can hold joints temporarily and works as well as veneer tape. Just be gentle when removing the tape.

measure out the veneer before you add glue

Application Tools

There are so many ways to apply veneer to the surface of your substrate and there are pros and cons for each method, depending on the area you wish to re-veneer.  Small applications can be easily handled with contact cement.  Larger repairs with glue and clamps or weights.  And full re-veneering, consider trying glue and a dry iron.  These are the wood veneer tools for application which you need to have in your toolkit. 

wood glue and glue roller

Adhesives

Wood Glue: Ideal for most woodworking projects because it’s strong and dries clear. I have also had success using wood glue and an Dry Iron to apply veneer.

 

Contact Cement: Great for small repairs where you can ensure direct contact.

 

Damp Cloth:  handy to have around to remove any glue lines that leak out.

apply glue to veneer with a glue roller

Application Aids

Glue Brush: Various sizes for applying glue, particularly in tight joints or fine details.

 

Glue Roller: This is for even application over larger surfaces. My favourite veneer tool. It distributes the veneer glue evenly across the surface before laying down the veneer. It’s simply a rubber roller.

 

Syringes or Glue Injectors: Excellent for getting glue into tight or difficult-to-reach spots. You can also find this tool handy for repairs.

Possible products for you to achieve your project

Regrets: Veneering Tools Not Worth Buying

You can spend plenty of money on specialty wood veneer tools, but for the most part a general tool will do the work.  

 

I do not recommend these veneer tools.

 

Veneer Saw: My utility knife with a sharp blade outperformed this, making it an unnecessary purchase.  

 

Veneer Hammer or Roller: Simple hand pressure and a dry iron effectively remove air bubbles and ensure good adhesion without these tools.

Finishing Tools

To finish your veneer project, you will need a simply sharp edge to cut away any veneer overhang.  Then sand with a medium grit sand paper until you have straight edges.  You won’t require specialised veneer edge trimmer.  

 

As veneer is simply thin wood, you can finish it as you would any solid wood project. Whether with oil, water-based top coat, brushes or spray gun, it’s your choice.

Mineral spirits on Veneer Wood

Final Thoughts

You don’t need to invest in specialized equipment to start working on that veneered project. Embrace the challenge with the tools you own, and don’t shy away from that gorgeous piece of veneer furniture waiting to be restored. They say the having the right tools is half the work, and the right tools might already be in your workshop!

Facebook
Pinterest
Email
WhatsApp
Print
Author picture

Hey, I'm Sarah, the owner of Bold Wallflowers.

I'm on a self-taught journey through furniture refinishing and restoration, loving every experiment in my workshop.

Join me as I share my discoveries and gained knowledge with our vibrant community of fellow refinishers!

This post may contain amazon affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases, if you decide to make a purchase through the provided links, at no additional cost to you.

Recommended

Limited Time Offer!
Subscribe and Receive The Beginners Guide to Painting Furniture
and The Fearless Furniture Refinisher's Guide to Shellac.

Get both guides and weekly tips sent straight to your inbox!
Front page to beginners guide to furniture refinishing
Front page to fearless refinishers guide to wood shellac