Disguising damaged veneer on a bar table

27 Aug 2012
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United Kingdom
I am restoring some veneered bar tables, but on 2 of them, the veneer is paper thin and after sanding out the liquid stains, the base fibre board is showing through in about 10% of the table.
I have tried wood dye, but it doesn't take on the damaged part. I haven't tried the dark oak varnish yet, but doubt if that will be sufficently opaque.
In my last house, I found a paint for a white radiator that was an opaque dark oak, so the radiator blended in with the rest of the room.
Does anyone know if such an opaque varnish is still made?
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I can't see it looking good again with holes in the veneer without getting it re-veneered. Others may have other suggestions.
Yes, re-veneering is Plan B - but I hope to avoid it. I am renovating 16 tables, so these two can go in a corner, if need be!

Just to clarify, I am doing this job for a charity at no cost to them. The table tops are heavy stained with liquid. I doubt they would complain, in the circumstances, if two of the 16 tables weren't as good as they could be - but I want to do the best job possible.
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Fair enough. I guess you also want the two to match the rest. And nobody if going to be inspecting them to be perfect.

In which case your to finding a bit of some brown that will stick on the lighter bits before sloshing the rest of the finish coat on.atbe even just colour match in some brown paint..
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You could try graining it (that is to say, use appropriately coloured paints and scumble to create a faux wood effect).

Matching it in might be so difficult that it may be easier to grain the whole of the top.

BTW, veneer is often only about 6mm thick. Can you not use wood bleach or some other preparation to lift the stains?
Apparently, the opaque varnish used to be made by Dulux but they have discontinued it :(

So, it is trial and error with brown paint and an attempt at graining it.

I will give the bleach a try - I tried Nitromors but that was no use.

If that doesn't look OK, then Plan B - re-veneering.

Many thanks for the suggestions! :)

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