How to soften veneer before regluing?

Discussion in 'Clock Case Restoration and Repair' started by woodlawndon, Sep 21, 2019.

  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  1. woodlawndon

    woodlawndon Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Jan 18, 2017
    558
    100
    43
    Male
    Woodlawn, Ontario
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    I am working on a Gustav Becker case, it's in fair shape but the top of the door has suffered what looks to be water damage. It has then dried and lifted with at least 10 cracks/slits along the length.

    All the veneer is still there but it is so dry it will crumble to dust if I try to clamp it. I have removed all the old glue underneath and have some hide glue ready to go but need the veneer to settle down first. The top of the door is flat so no molding required.

    I did a search on the site but the methods didn't seem to apply to what I'm doing here. I have an electric paint remover available that would give me a bit more heat than a hair dryer if that helps.

    Would soaking it with water first and clamping overnight work or would it ruin the veneer?

    Would appreciate any guidance, thanks.
    Don
     
  2. Dave T

    Dave T Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Dec 8, 2011
    2,581
    59
    48
    retired accountant
    NC
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    That's what I would do with it. If you get it wet enough to be pliable, you should be able to salvage it.
     
    woodlawndon likes this.
  3. Walt Wallgren

    Walt Wallgren Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Aug 16, 2012
    1,165
    12
    38
    Bay Area, California
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Somewhere in the pastI saw a "veneer softener" product. Never used, Dont know name, no recommendation. Just saw it.
     
    woodlawndon likes this.
  4. woodlawndon

    woodlawndon Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Jan 18, 2017
    558
    100
    43
    Male
    Woodlawn, Ontario
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Thanks guys. Walt, I had never heard of a veneer softener product before so I looked it up. There are several on the market, most are described for use on new, raw veneer. It would probably work great if you wanted to shape new veneer to contours, I'll have to remember that when the need arises. I'm not sure if it would work on old veneer, it might, but first I'm going to try placing a wet towel on it and using an iron to soften. We'll see, thanks again.
    Don
     
  5. woodlawndon

    woodlawndon Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Jan 18, 2017
    558
    100
    43
    Male
    Woodlawn, Ontario
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    I just wanted to follow up with what I've done so far. My wife Jann had a good idea for a suggestion. We have a small, handheld travel steamer that is used to smooth wrinkles in your clothes from traveling. It's nothing fancy, it just gives off a small amount of steam that you can direct.

    I lightly steamed the old veneer moving the entire time. It worked great, eventually the old veneer softened right up, I was able to smooth it with my fingers to get it almost flat. One more treatment and then clamp overnight and it should work fine.

    I was surprised at how well this softened the brittle, dry veneer, I'll be using this again in the future. The only drawback was that the steam and heat disturbed/loosened the old dirt on the veneer making it a bit blotchy. It shouldn't be too much of a problem, I can clean that up later, but it's something to consider if you want to use this method on a prized piece.
    Don
     
    Dave T and PatH like this.
  6. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
    NAWCC Member

    Oct 19, 2005
    40,153
    607
    113
    Male
    Self employed interpreter/clock repairer
    Iowa
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Good tip, woodlawn! Will you have to dry it in the proper shape, or is it flat? It probably won't glue on too well if it's still damp.
     
  7. woodlawndon

    woodlawndon Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Jan 18, 2017
    558
    100
    43
    Male
    Woodlawn, Ontario
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    It was flat Shutt, no contour. Kind of interesting, I gave it a second steam and clamped it, my goal was simply to get it to stay straight before gluing. I took off the clamp in the morning and almost the entire thing was flat and secured. The steam must have also activated whatever glue was left, it came out quite good.

    I'm going to explore this method some more, either I got lucky with this one or it could save a lot of reveneering.
    Don
     
  8. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
    NAWCC Member

    Oct 19, 2005
    40,153
    607
    113
    Male
    Self employed interpreter/clock repairer
    Iowa
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
  9. woodlawndon

    woodlawndon Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Jan 18, 2017
    558
    100
    43
    Male
    Woodlawn, Ontario
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    It's coming along, still a bit of straightening to do.

    fullsizeoutput_526.jpeg fullsizeoutput_527.jpeg
     
  10. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
    NAWCC Member

    Oct 19, 2005
    40,153
    607
    113
    Male
    Self employed interpreter/clock repairer
    Iowa
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Looking very nice. That's an unfortunate split on the right side.
     
    woodlawndon likes this.
  11. PatH

    PatH National Program Chair
    NAWCC Fellow NAWCC Member

    Dec 5, 2014
    1,216
    829
    113
    Female
    Texas
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Likely hide glue, so the moisture/steam would have reactivated the glue. If the finish was shellac, the finish will also be affected, but as you said, that can be cleaned up. Your project is looking great!
     
    woodlawndon likes this.
  12. Rockin Ronnie

    Rockin Ronnie Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Nov 18, 2012
    1,410
    77
    48
    Male
    retired educator
    Greenfield, Nova Scotia
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Anxious to see the final assembled result.

    Ron
     
  13. woodlawndon

    woodlawndon Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Jan 18, 2017
    558
    100
    43
    Male
    Woodlawn, Ontario
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    I'm happy with the way it turned out. It might be cleaner than some approve but it was a dirty wreck when I got it. I didn't refinish the case, just patch, touch up and clean. Runs well, 1899 model.
    Don

    7%dBmEH+RJ+eCpiUOkMhxQ.jpg
     
    PatH and Rockin Ronnie like this.
  14. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
    NAWCC Member

    Oct 19, 2005
    40,153
    607
    113
    Male
    Self employed interpreter/clock repairer
    Iowa
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    It looks really nice! Love it!
     
    woodlawndon likes this.

Share This Page