Big Al's Tech Tips on Wood and Laminate Repair
How to repair damaged laminate or veneer surfaces
Laminate is composed of multiple layers of paper, saturated with resin, and finished with a printed surface (In recent years, the quality of printing has become so good that it is occasionally difficult to distinguish laminate from real wood veneer). These layers are pressed together under high heat and pressure, creating a durable plastic-type material that is very resistant to scratches, water stains, and heat.
Laminate has a more consistent color and grain than veneer, and is ideal for withstanding everyday office use and wear and tear. While small objects such as paper clips and staples may eventually leave minor scratches over the years, heavy "sharp" objects such as a lamp base or computer monitor base can leave larger, visible scratches or chips if carelessly placed or moved over the surface.
To clean a laminate surface, simply wipe with a clean, water dampened soft cloth as needed. Do not use commercial products that contain high amounts of wax or silicon, as they will leave a residue and may alter the appearance of the furniture over time.
To repair laminates: Small damages can be repaired with the appropriate color from a 64 box of crayola crayons. First, find the two closest colors in your box and rub the lighter one in the damaged area. Secondly, apply the darker color on top and then use a credit card to shear a repair even with the surface of the laminate. More severe laminate damages need to be repaired by a professional restoration company. Often a strip of laminate will come loose and normal glues just will not hold it down. For this problem use a very thin application clear 5-minute epoxy and hold the piece in place with masking tape until dry.
The use of veneer goes back nearly 4, 000 years as early forms of it were found in the tombs of Egyptian pharaohs. Producing veneer entails slicing a thin layer of wood of uniform thickness from a log. Veneer surfaces are less durable than laminate. Objects, large and small, can leave visible scratches if carelessly placed or moved over the surface, and severe scratches may not be repairable. As a result, objects should always be lifted - never slid - when they are moved across the finish surface. Use of desk pads and coasters is recommended to avoid having imprints transferred to the veneer.
Natural veneer surfaces can be protected and preserved with a polish containing natural ingredients. I recommend Guardsman wood pro or OZ furniture polish. Wiping against the grain can cause small scratches to be more noticeable in the finish. To touch up an area, or to remove a scratch, use a scratch repair solution like Old English. If a scratch is too deep to be repaired with this type of solution, you can find simple wax filler sticks at your local hardware store. When applying the wax stick, use a small plastic putty knife and try to use a slightly lighter, and then a slightly darker color similar to the repair on laminates. After you have filled the void, use a credit card to shear the surface clean and use your polish to even out the repair area. If the damages cannot be repaired this way you should have it repaired by a professional wood refinisher.
"Restoring furniture, woodwork, doors, cabinetry, pianos & peace of mind."
Introduction to Furniture Repair
Saturday, November 20 - 9:00am - 4:00pm
Where: Klingspor's Woodworking Shop
Raleigh, NC (map)
Instructor: Al Lopez
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This class is intended to provide a base knowledge to draw from for the repair of wood items and furniture. We will cover finish identification, damage inspection, and the use of traditional and modern repair techniques. Special attention will be on color blending and color matching methods. Experience will be gained on repairing and blending repairs with a variety of wood items and repair materials. This class is taught be a professional furniture repair artisan.