How to Sand Veneer Furniture

Sanding veneer furniture is a crucial skill for anyone looking to restore or refinish these beautiful yet delicate pieces. Veneer furniture, known for its attractive wood grain patterns, offers a more affordable alternative to solid wood furniture. However, over time, veneer can suffer from scratches, wear, or simply lose its original luster.

How to Sand Veneer Furniture

Sanding is a fundamental step in the process of rejuvenating veneer furniture, as it helps to smooth out imperfections, remove old finishes, and prepare the surface for refinishing.

In this article, we will guide you through the steps and techniques on how to sand veneer furniture effectively.

Whether you’re an experienced woodworker or a beginner looking to tackle a furniture restoration project, our comprehensive instructions and valuable tips will ensure that you achieve professional-looking results while preserving the unique beauty of your veneer furniture.

What is Veneer Furniture?

Veneer furniture is a type of furniture that has been popular for centuries due to its stylish yet durable construction. Veneer furniture utilizes thin sheets of wood veneer which are affixed to a piece of particleboard or plywood. This process allows for intricate designs and patterns to be created with minimal cost.

When purchasing veneer furniture, it is important to note that some pieces may require additional care when being cleaned or moved. Sanding the veneers in order to remove any dirt or scratches is a simple process but can be time-consuming, depending on the size of the piece.

When sanding a veneer piece of furniture, it is essential to use an orbital sander with fine-grit sandpaper to minimize any potential damage.

Start by lightly sanding the entire surface of the furniture and gradually increase pressure as needed. Moving in circular motions will help ensure an even finish. Additionally, make sure to pay attention to corners or edges that may require additional attention.

Use an Orbital Sander

Once you have finished sanding, use a damp cloth to wipe away any dust and dirt. Additionally, using a wood cleaner or furniture wax can help to improve the overall look of the piece. When applying any cleaning products, make sure to use a lint-free cloth to avoid leaving behind residue or streaks on the veneers.

Importance of Sanding Veneer Furniture

Sanding veneer furniture is an important step in the refinishing process. Not only does it remove dirt and dust, but it also helps to even out any imperfections in the surface of the wood. Additionally, sanding will restore luster to your furniture by bringing out its natural beauty. When doing this job yourself, there are a few things to keep in mind.

First, use sandpaper with a grit no higher than 120 for veneer furniture, as anything more coarse can cause damage to the thin layer of wood. Start with a lower grit and gradually increase the number until you have achieved the desired smoothness. When sanding, make sure to move your hand along with the grain of the wood to keep the surface consistent.

When you’re done sanding, vacuum away all of the dust particles and use a tack cloth to pick up any remaining debris. This will ensure that your furniture is as clean as possible before sealing it with varnish or paint. Remember, even if the job looks unfinished at first, have patience. The results of a well-sanded veneer furniture will be worth the effort.

10 Steps How to Sand Veneer Furniture

Prepare the Furniture for Sanding

The first step in sanding veneer furniture is to prepare the piece for sanding. This involves removing any hardware, such as knobs or handles, and cleaning the surface of the furniture to remove any dirt or debris. After cleaning, it is important to inspect the piece for any cracks or chips that may need to be filled before sanding begins.

Select the Appropriate Sandpaper

Cleaning the Surface of the Furniture

Once the furniture is prepared, it is time to select the appropriate sandpaper grit for the job. For veneer furniture, medium-grit paper should be used, such as 120-grit or 150-grit. A higher-grit paper can be used if a smoother finish is desired. It is also important to choose sandpaper with a backing that will not clog easily, such as aluminum oxide or silicon carbide paper.

Begin Sanding

After selecting the appropriate sandpaper, begin sanding in a back-and-forth motion using light pressure on the surface of the furniture. Do not apply too much pressure, as this can damage the veneer and create an uneven finish. Continue until all of the old finish has been removed, and then move on to finer grits of sandpaper if needed for a smoother finish.

Vacuum and Wipe Down

Once all of the old finish has been removed from the piece of furniture, use a vacuum cleaner with an upholstery attachment to remove any dust particles from crevices and corners before wiping them down with a damp cloth or tack cloth. This will help ensure that no dust particles are left behind during finishing processes later on in this process.

Apply Wood Filler

If there are any cracks or chips present in the wood veneer, now is when they should be filled using a wood filler that matches closely with your existing wood coloration and grain pattern (if applicable). To do this, simply fill each crack or chip with wood filler and allow it to dry completely before continuing on with your project.

Sand Again

Use a Vacuum Cleaner

Once all of your repairs have been made and allowed to dry completely, you’ll want to give your piece another light sanding using finer grits of sandpaper (such as 220-grit) until you achieve your desired level of smoothness on your new surface area(s). Be sure not to press too hard during this process so you don’t risk damaging your new repairs!

Clean Again

Once you’ve achieved your desired level of smoothness through light sanding techniques, use a vacuum cleaner with an upholstery attachment once again, followed by wiping down with a damp cloth or tack cloth in order to remove any remaining dust particles from crevices and corners before moving onto staining/finishing processes later on in this project!

Stain/Finish Your Piece

Now that you have prepped your piece properly for staining/finishing processes by following steps 1 through 7 above, it’s time to decide what type(s) of stain/finish you would like to use!

Depending upon what look you are going for (e.g., dark walnut stain vs lighter oak stain), make sure you select one that matches closely with your existing wood coloration & grain pattern (if applicable).

Apply Stain/Finish Evenly

When applying stain/finish evenly across your entire piece of furniture, make sure that you start at one end & work towards another end while making sure that each coat dries completely before applying additional coats! If possible, try not to over-saturate areas within close proximity so that there isn’t an uneven appearance once finished!

Buff Out Any Imperfections

Once all coats have dried completely & after allowing sufficient time for curing (depending upon which product was used), buff out any imperfections using 0000 steel wool & then wipe down thoroughly one final time with either mineral spirits or denatured alcohol prior to putting back into use!

Things to Consider When Snding Veneer Furniture

Use Multiple Grits of Sandpaper

When sanding veneer furniture, it is important to consider several factors before beginning the process. Firstly, check for any loose or fragile pieces that could be damaged during sanding. Next, decide which type of sandpaper will work best for your project; a finer grit paper typically works better than a coarser one.

If you choose to use a power sander, make sure you are familiar with the machine and its safety features. Lastly, be sure to wear proper safety gear such as gloves, goggles, and a dust mask to protect yourself from debris and chemical exposure. With these factors in mind, you are now ready to begin sanding your veneer furniture!

When sanding your piece of furniture it is important to move in the same direction as the grain of the veneer. This will ensure that all surfaces are sanded evenly and without creating any visible scratches or marks. It may be necessary to use multiple grits of sandpaper to achieve a smooth finish; start with a coarse grit and then progress to a finer one.


All in all, sanding veneer furniture can be a great way to give an old piece of furniture some new life. After wiping down the surface with a damp cloth and getting into any nooks and crannies with fine-grit sandpaper, you’ll be able to put a fresh coat of paint over the grain that will revitalize even the most dull piece of furniture.

And when your furniture is ready for use again, you’ll be proud that you took this DIY project on yourself! If you’re ready to tackle how to sand veneer furniture yourself or would like some tips to help along the way, please feel free to reach out – we’d love to hear from you!

Thank you for reading this post – we hope that it has provided some helpful information as you consider taking on this project. Good luck – have fun!

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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