Fixing a damaged surface layer of fine wood
Soften unpliable old veneer with a few drops of water. Make cuts with a razor knife guided by a metal ruler. Always cut with the grain or at an angle to it. If a veneer edge is loose, use a thin knife and an emery board to scrape and sand off the old glue underneath. If space is tight, cut the veneer perpendicular or at an angle to the edge, going with the grain as much as possible. Vacuum out the dust. Put yellow carpenter’s glue on a knife or a card and work it under the veneer. Wipe off excess with a damp cloth. Put wax paper and a wood block over the area; clamp or weight it overnight.
With a veneer blister, slit through its middle along the grain. Then clean under and reglue the veneer by alternately pressing down one blister half and working under the other half. If the veneer edges overlap at the slit, carefully pare them to fit. On old veneer, try first to remelt the glue under a blister. Using a thick towel, press it with a warm iron for a minute at a time to flatten it. Weight it overnight.
Patching a damaged spot
Buy matching veneer from a woodworking supply house or a craft store. Tape tracing paper over the damaged area, leaving one edge un taped. Trace around the area, forming triangular fingers. (In midsurface. draw a long oval shape.) Slip the veneer under the paper: match the woods’ grains and clamp it. Cut through the new and old veneer along the line. Clean out old veneer and glue. Test fit the patch. Dampen it. Glue it in. Clamp, using wax paper and a wood block.