How to Refinish Veneer Table

If you are looking for a way to give your furniture an entirely new look, then refinishing your veneer table is the perfect project for you! Refinishing can breathe new life into any piece of furniture, no matter what its condition.

Not only will this refresh and revitalize your items but it is also an incredibly satisfying pastime that gives you total control over the outcome – no two pieces of furniture will ever be quite the same!

How to Refinish Veneer Table

Plus with a little bit of practice and some good advice, anyone can learn how to transform their tired tables into stunning centrepieces. So if you’ve been mulling over ways to makeover your living space without breaking the bank, read on as we break down all there is to know about how to refinish veneer table in simple steps.

Tools and Materials You Will Need to Refinish Veneer Table

  1. Veneer stripper
  2. Sandpaper (coarse, medium, fine grit)
  3. Putty knife
  4. Mineral spirits or denatured alcohol
  5. Tack cloth
  6. Wood stain
  7. Paintbrushes (for applying stripper and stain)
  8. Polyurethane finish
  9. Cloth or foam for wiping off excess stain
  10. Drop cloths to protect your workspace

Step-by-step Guidelines on How to Refinish Veneer Table

Step 1: Preparing the Work Area

To avoid making a mess, start by preparing your work area. Lay down drop cloths to protect your floor from any drips or spills. If possible, move your table to an outdoor area, as working with chemicals can produce strong fumes. Preparing a well-ventilated space will also help prevent any health hazards.

Chemicals Can Produce Strong Fumes

Step 2: Removing the Old Veneer

Using a putty knife, carefully scrape off any damaged or loose veneer from the surface of your table. Be gentle to avoid causing further damage. Once removed, sand down the area to remove any glue or adhesive residue and create an even surface.

While removing old veneer is a crucial step in refinishing, it can also be time-consuming. If you are not confident in your ability to remove the veneer yourself, consider seeking professional help.

Step 3: Stripping the Veneer

Next, apply a coat of veneer stripper using a paintbrush, following the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. Let it sit for the recommended amount of time. The stripper will soften the old finish and allow you to remove it easily.

This step is essential as it ensures a clean and smooth surface for the new veneer to be applied. Make sure to wear protective gloves and a mask while working with the stripper.

Step 4: Sanding the Surface

After the veneer has been removed, sand down the surface of your table using coarse-grit sandpaper. This will remove any remaining old finish and prepare the surface for staining. Follow this up with medium-grit sandpaper to smooth out any rough areas. Finish off with fine-grit sandpaper for a smooth and even finish.

Step 5: Applying the Stain

Before applying the stain, use a tack cloth to remove any dust or debris from the surface of your table. Using a brush or foam applicator, apply the stain in thin, even coats, following the wood grain. Wipe off any excess stain with a clean cloth or foam pad. Repeat this process until you achieve the desired color of your veneer.

Step 6: Applying the Finish

Once your stain has dried, it’s time to apply a protective finish. Using a paintbrush, apply polyurethane in thin coats, following the wood grain. Make sure to let each layer dry completely before adding another coat. Sand down any rough areas between coats for a smooth finish. While applying the finish, make sure to work in a well-ventilated area and wear protective gear.

Using a Paintbrush Apply Polyurethane

Step 7: Finishing Touches

After your final coat of polyurethane has dried, give your table a light sanding using fine-grit sandpaper. This will remove any imperfections or dust particles. Wipe down the surface with a clean cloth and enjoy your newly refinished veneer table.

Make sure to wait at least 24 hours before using your table, giving the finish enough time to cure completely.

With these simple steps, you can transform your old and worn veneer table into a beautiful and unique piece of furniture. Remember to take your time and work carefully, as refinishing requires patience and attention to detail. Happy refinishing!

Additional Tips and Tricks to Refinish Veneer Table

1. When stripping the old finish off the veneer table, be sure to wear protective gear such as gloves, eye protection, and a mask. Chemical strippers can be harmful to your skin and respiratory system.

2. If you prefer not to use chemical strippers, an alternative method is sanding. Start with a coarse grit sandpaper and gradually move to a finer grit for a smoother finish.

3. Before applying a new finish, be sure to thoroughly clean the surface of the table to remove any remaining residue from the stripping process.

4. When sanding, pay special attention to any areas where the veneer is damaged or peeling. Gently sand these areas and apply wood filler if necessary before proceeding with the rest of the table.

5. If you plan on staining the table, it is best to test the stain on a small, inconspicuous area of the veneer first. This will help you ensure that you achieve the desired color before applying it to the entire table.

6. Apply multiple thin coats of finish rather than one thick coat. This will prevent drips and allow for a more even application.

7. Use a high-quality brush or foam pad to apply the finish to avoid leaving brush marks on the surface of the table.

8. After applying each coat of finish, lightly sand the table with fine-grained sandpaper before applying the next coat. This will help create a smooth and even finish.

9. If you plan on using polyurethane as your finish, be sure to use a water-based product. Oil-based polyurethane can discolor the veneer and ruin all your hard work.

10. Finally, allow plenty of time for the finish to dry and cure before using the table. This usually takes a few days, so be patient and resist the temptation to use it too soon.

 Dry and Cure Before Using the Table

By following these additional tips and tricks, you can ensure that your veneer table refinishing project is a success. Remember to always work in a well-ventilated area and take your time to achieve the best results. Happy refinishing!

Precautions Need to Be Followed for Refinishing Veneer Table

1. First and foremost, it is important to keep safety in mind when refinishing a veneer table. Make sure to wear protective gear such as gloves, goggles, and a face mask.

2. Before starting the refinishing process, make sure to remove any hardware or accessories from the table such as knobs, handles, or decorative pieces.

3. Clean the surface of the table thoroughly with a mild detergent and warm water. This will help remove any dirt, dust, or grime that may have accumulated on the surface.

4. It is important to test the finish of the table before starting the refinishing process. Use a small amount of denatured alcohol on a hidden area of the table to see if it affects the finish in any way.

5. If the table has any damage or scratches, it is important to repair them before starting the refinishing process. Use wood filler or putty to fill in any cracks or gouges.

Use Wood Filler or Putty to Fill in Any Cracks or Gouges

6. Sanding is a crucial step in refinishing veneer tables. Use fine-rit sandpaper to gently sand the surface of the table, making sure not to press too hard and damage the veneer.

7. After sanding, wipe down the table with a tack cloth to remove any dust or debris. This will ensure a smooth and even surface for refinishing.

8. Choose an appropriate stain or paint for your veneer table. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and apply thin coats for best results.

Following these precautions will help ensure a successful and safe refinishing process for your veneer table. Remember to take your time and be patient, as the end result will be worth it. Now, let’s dive deeper into the steps of refinishing a veneer table.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Refinish Any Table With Veneer?

Veneer tables can be refinished, but not all types of veneers are created equal. Some are more difficult to work with than others, and some may not be worth the effort to refinish at all.

Generally speaking, solid wood tables will hold up better over time and can be easily refinished with sanding and staining. However, if you have a table with a thin veneer layer on top of a particle board or MDF, it may be more difficult to refinish as the veneer can easily chip or peel off during the process.

A Thin Veneer Layer on Top of a Particle Board

How Do I Know If My Table Has Veneer?

A veneer is a thin layer of wood that is bonded to a base material, such as a particle board or MDF. To determine if your table has a veneer, look for seams or lines where the different materials meet.

You may also be able to see the texture and grain of the wood if you look closely. If you are still unsure, lightly sand a small inconspicuous area and see if it reveals a different material underneath. If so, then your table likely has a veneer.

Can I Refinish My Veneer Table Without Sanding?

Sanding is usually the most effective way to refinish a veneer table, as it allows you to remove the old finish and even out any imperfections in the wood.

However, there are alternative methods such as using chemical strippers or heat guns that can also be used to remove the old finish without sanding. Keep in mind that these methods may not be as effective and can potentially damage the veneer if not done carefully.


With the above outlined you can easily learn how to refinish veneer table. It is important to carefully assess the type of veneer and condition of your table before attempting to refinish it. Be sure to use proper techniques and tools, and always take precautions to protect yourself and your surroundings during the refinishing process. With patience and attention to detail, you can transform an old or worn-out veneer table into a beautiful piece that will last for years to come. Happy refinishing!  

Photo of author

Adrian Green

Adrian is a woodworking hobbyist and has loved Woodworking since he was 10 years old. Back then in childhood, his father used to have a furniture shop. He used to help his dad and learned a lot from him about how to fix woodworking furniture, basic carpentry knowledge and also about how to work hard and take care of business. He enjoys woodworking as a hobby. He loves the feeling of creating something with his own hands, and the satisfaction that comes from seeing his finished products used by others.

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