Lane Cedar Chest Veneer Repair and Refinishing

In this tutorial on Cedar Chest Restoration, we will repair some serious veneer damage !!  This Lane Cedar Chest is about as wrecked as they come, but our client wanted it restored for sentimental reasons and he knew where to come to get the job done!

We'll show you step by step, the methods and techniques we used to bring this wrecked Cedar Chest back to "like New" condition !

Damaged Cedar Chest

Before

WHY?

Why restore this Wrecked Cedar Chest?  I mean, It's not like cedar chests are hard to come by, or command a lot of money when restored. But after absorbing the initial shock when viewing the condition, I knew the answer without having to ask our client. This Cedar Chest had tremendous sentimental value to it's owner.

First Step - Creating A Vision

Every Refinishing, Re-purposing, and Restoration project begins with the same process.  We need to create a mental conception of what we desire as the end result.  Without a good idea of what we are striving to achieve, plotting out our course of actions would be nearly impossible.

Restored Cedar Chest

My Mental Image Looked Very Much Like The Final Results

Let's get Started!!

So where do we start ?  Well, my first order of business was to determine (to the best of my ability) what type of veneer I was dealing with.  That proved to be a little challenging, but based on grain matching I decided to go with Satinwood on the front and Teak for the sides.  I ordered my veneer online and began the task of removing the veneer. There was just no saving anything but the top and the front center piece of Burl.

Watch Movie ~ How To Remove Veneer

how to remove veneer from cedar chest

So many veneer and glue types.....where do I start?

Veneering furniture can be as simple, or as hard as you choose to make it. It's not Something I do in our studio daily, weekly, or most times even monthly.  Therefor, I like to keep it simple. We don't have a veneer press, nor are we a cabinet shop set up to do high volume veneering.  With that in mind, I only accept veneering projects that I know are within my shops capabilities.

Unless you have access to a veneer press and many clamps, you are going to want to select veneer with a backing. Paper Backed veneer is good for use with contact cement. Veneer backed veneer is good for use with wood glue. See Video for more details.

How to veneer furniture


Measuring And Cutting Our Veneer

When purchasing veneer, you'll find useful websites online with the many veneer species available.  You'll need to match them up the best you can with what you are replacing.  There are also many outlets available to purchase veneer online.

When ordering veneer, I suggest purchasing veneer with a backing.  That will be either - veneer backed, paper backed, or adhesive paper backed.

BELOW, scroll through the slideshow and we'll go over how I measured and cut my front panels.

  • Measuring The Front Panels

    The 4 veneer panels to be used on the front of this chest have the grain running in a 45 degree angle.  I want to reproduce the same look, so I begin by using a corner square and penciling a line at 45 degrees.
  • Carpenters Square

    Once I have my line drawn at my 45 degree angle, I can use my carpenters square to continue the line.  I have already measured the dimensions I need my panels to be, and allowed for an inch oversize on the edges. 
  • In This image, you can get a good idea of what I was going for, and why I did it the way I did.  Chances are, you will only need to cut a straight grain panel, making your job much easier! 
  • There are different ways to cut veneer. In this case, I am working with veneer backed veneer. It's two ply and thick enough to cut with a good pair of scissors.  You can also use a veneer saw if you so choose, but for me the scissors did the job!  I also use a paper cutter fairly often when cutting veneer.