Furniture re-dos

Easy chipped veneer removal

Honest to goodness, this is the easiest veneer removal EVER. It is SO easy that you won’t even believe me it works until you do it yourself.

So I have this amazing dining set I got that I plan on redoing to sell. The only problem with it is the finish on the top of the buffet is chipping and cracked. It is SO in credibly cold outside and I have NO desire to deal with a chemical stripper at the moment. I do however want this thing done.

Here is the buffet before:

buffet 2

Pretty right? Well, here’s the top when I got it home:

buffet 3

Cracked pretty much all over. I tried chipping it off.. that took forever and I didn’t get far- it did make a huge mess on my entry way floor though. I took it out on the porch and tried sanding it. Ummm, yea. No way- that would have taken years. I ran inside and decided to do a quick internet search.

There is no way I can strip this finish off with an iron… is there? Ok, a little more, just not much.

It said I needed an iron, a piece of fabric and a scraper. Hmmm, how about an old pillow case? Check. Get it wet. wring it out just enough so it’s not dripping on the floor. Wet is good. Turn on your iron to a medium to high setting. I started at medium and turned it up just a bit. I thought I might burn the finish or the pillow case, I didn’t. I dried the case out a few times.

Place the wet pillow case on the top of your piece and place the iron on top of it. You can move it around as if you were ironing a shirt if you want to, I found it worked faster if you just let it sit there for about 10-15 seconds.

buffet 6

Take it off and then use your scraper (I used my favorite multi tool) and being careful not to dig into the wood, peel the finish off. Seriously, it’s that easy. buffet 5

It comes off rather rubbery while it’s warm. You don’t have to exert ANY effort to get it off. If you do, it isn’t warm enough. You’ll get immediate resistance when you’ve reached the cooler part. You need to work a little quickly especially if you’re in a cool area (like outside on my front porch on a day in the high 40s). Keep your fabric wet. You’ll notice it dries out fairly quickly with the heat and it starts not working so well then get your fabric wet again. It took maybe 45 minutes to the entire top of the buffet.

It looked like this when I was done:

buffet 7

Kind of cool you can see how cracked it actually was. My porch looks like this now:

buffet 8

This picture seriously does not do the mess justice- It’s a disaster. The pieces can be sharp so be careful and occasionally they might fling off in different directions- so wearing gloves and eye protection would be a good idea.

As for the edges, I tried it. It didn’t work well because I couldn’t get the iron flat enough. I’m currently using a heat gun to peel that off. It’s not quite as quick without the moisture, though less smelly and icky than a chemical stripper.

So there you have it- the ridiculously easy way to strip a cracked finish. Don’t you love it?!

I’ll of course post the dining set when I’m done with it. Still looking for fabric for the chairs…. nothing is speaking to me yet. 🙁

You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    December 17, 2012 at 9:59 PM

    That’s awesome! What about taking the old pillowcase and dampening it, laying it on the edges, and then blowing with the heat gun? I wonder if that would help?

  • Reply
    December 17, 2012 at 11:07 PM

    Oh sure, now that I’m finally done you say that…
    REALLY good thought Gwen! I will certainly have to give that a try next time- thanks! 🙂

  • Reply
    I’m in! | Saved by Scottie
    January 4, 2013 at 5:34 PM

    […] think it came out pretty well! If you’re interested, the how to is here. I finished the table and am working on the other five chairs. It’s coming soon […]

  • Reply
    Umbrella Dresser with DLawless hardware - Saved by Scottie
    October 15, 2019 at 9:14 PM

    […] I pulled off the key hole cover using a putty knife because I didn’t want a lump and the key is long gone unfortunately. Then I got some water and a cloth and peeled the veneer off using this technique. […]

  • Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.