Removing veneer from furniture

There are times when you come across a piece of secondhand furniture for cheap that is too good to be missed. This chest of drawers is one of those. Although the veneer top has to be replaced, the dovetail joints on the drawers are a sign of craftmanship and something you don't see often these days.

With the exception of a veneer top that is shredded and peeled on the top, this chest of drawers is still in good condition. All it needs is sanding and painting to turn it into a practical piece of furniture for the home, and that's just what the backyard bungalow did.

Although you can remove old veneer, check before you do. Inspect underneath or inside the cabinet to make sure that it isn't constructed of chipboard, if it is you are going to have to replace the veneer. You can buy veneer at timber merchants and this is glued in place with contact adhesive.

You will usually be able to use a paint scraper to remove veneer, but in some instances a heat gun comes in handy for softening the glue on areas where it's difficult to remove. If all else fails, use 80-grit sanding pads and sand away the veneer. Finish off by sanding with 240-grit sandpaper.

After sanding, a coat of black chalk paint was applied over the entire chest of drawers. Once dry, vinyl stickers were placed on the drawer fronts. Using stickers is an easy way to cover up or allow detail to be applied after painting over the top.

A second coat of Annie Sloan’s Louis Blue was applied over the top and the stickers removed before the paint was completely dry. Where the paint does bleed onto the design, use an artist's paintbrush to touch up.

Lightly sand the edges of the chest of drawers with 120-grit sandpaper if you want a distressed finish. I like to add protection to the finished surface using antique wax. It won't change the colour but will protect the piece.