Tips on How to Apply Wood Veneer

how to apply wood veneer

These wooden veneer pieces resemble that of real wood in appearance and feel. The veneer can be applied to any smooth wooden surface including shelves, tables, chairs, bookcases, picture frames, flooring and more. The process of how to apply wood veneer to an object has become an increasingly popular home improvement topic amongst homeowners and professionals alike.

The first step is to prepare the surface on which you will be applying the veneer. For this project, you will need: an uncut board or similar flat surface, uncut or trimmed plywood, two completely straight pieces of wood that are at least one inch longer than the veneer piece(s), and a wood putty knife or pencil. The reason for this preparation is to allow the veneer to adhere properly to the surface. A general rule to follow when working with any kind of putty is to always start on one edge then work inwards. This allows the putty knife or pencil to cut along the edges with a smooth and even motion.

Use A Power Tool To Remove The Rough Edge

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Once the surface has been prepared, the next step in learning how to apply wood veneer is to prepare the two sides of the veneer for installation. The two sides should be completely clean and dry. If the surface material has not been pre cut and is a little rough, you may need to use a power tool to remove the rough edge. Apply a coat of primer on both sides. Primer helps provide an attractive surface for the veneer to adhere to.

Next, it is time to install the veneer. Start by placing the two uncut sides of the veneer onto their respective edges and pushing the edges firmly down until they are seated into the wooden frame. Use the appropriate glue for the size of the frame. Be sure to check the package to ensure that the glue is appropriate for your wood type; water-based glue generally works best for hardwoods like oak, maple, birch and cherry while oil-based glue works best for softwoods like pine and cedar.

Carefully Use A Hammer Veneer

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Use a very thin, even layer of glue to ensure proper adhesion of the substrate to the frame. Then, carefully run a bead of contact cement over the glued-in area to permanently line the area. After the area has dried, you can add a single layer of wood veneer to the frame.

For best results, you should always work from the outside in. Start by lining the frame up with the edges of the substrate. Work in small sections, making sure that they are properly secured to the frame. Once you have lined up all of your panels, carefully use a hammer veneer to carefully line the edges of your new piece of wood. Use enough pressure to ensure that the edges stay flush to the edges of the substrate. You may want to use wood screws or drywall anchors to keep the frame in place.

Need To Add The Finishing Touches

Make sure that you smooth out any bubbles, lumps, or divots that may be present in the corners of your new piece of solid wood. Apply the glue to all of the edges of your new substrate. When the glue has completely dried, you will need to add the finishing touches.

Apply a very thin layer of wood veneer over the adhesive and then use a wood pencil to line the edges of your frame. Finish by sanding and polishing your frame until it is completely smooth.


When learning how to apply wood veneer, you will notice that it is often much easier to work with the back of your hand than with a brush or roller. It is also much easier to work in smaller portions than in large areas. Wood veneers can be applied quickly and easily if you follow the right steps. If you are unsure of how to do something, simply ask someone who has more experience.

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