Veneer Repair

I was epoxying spacers on the underside of my hatch openings and I neglected to use wax paper where a clamping block was sitting on my Okoume deck..  Some epoxy wicked up onto the top of the deck, and the clamping block pulled away some small areas of veneer from the edge of the hatch opning.. an ugly scar.  

Any advice on patching this with veneer from some scrap plywood, or just fill it with thickened epoxy and move on?

4 replies:

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RE: Veneer Repair

you don't say how large the damaged area is, but if you are like me when i'm building, it's not as bad as you think. all of my builds [5] had areas where i thought i had messed up and i was right, but thickened epoxy with wood flour hides almost everything.nobody will notice until you, like all other builders, point out your mistakes to all passersby.

RE: Veneer Repair

You can always use a utility knife to cut a scrap piece if plywood , possibly in a rectangle or a diamond shape, making it large enough to cover the damaged area. Use it as a pattern to score the veneer on the damaged piece, again with a sharp utility knife.  Then, try to clean out the scored area to a uniform a depth as you can.  Cut enough off the back off the pattern piece to allow it to sit flush with the surface on the damaged piece.  Glue the pattern piece in, and , if done carefully, you will have a veneer repair.  Practice on scraps.  If the first attempt, fails, make a slightly larger piece and try again.  I would use something with straight edges rather than curved edges, it will be much easier.  Adds character.

RE: Veneer Repair - Success!

I ended up using the advice from Dave as well as a video I found on line.  The procedure:

1.  Approximate the size/shape of the repair area and sketch it onto a  piece of scrap plywood (match grain pattern and orientation to extent possible).  This area on the scrap will be your patch.

2.  Cut straight-edged outline around patch sketched above.   I made mine a trapezoid since straight cuts are easier to make than curves.  I made the cuts with an Xacto knife, going gradually with repeated passes, light pressure.  Any significant pressure on the Xacto will snap the tip off the blade.  Repeat cuts until depth is through the outer ply.

3.  Put scrap ply in the vise and split the plywood (4 mm original thickness) with japanese pull saw.  It was really easy to cut through the midddle ply pretty close to the glue line where it joins the outer ply.

4.  Saw until the saw blade passes the cutout region.  At this point you should have a piece of veneer just over 1mm thick, with the patch cut out either entirely or mostly.  If it isn't fully cut out, go over the cuts some more until you have your patch loose. You can use coarse sandpaper to flatten the back and remove excess remaining middle ply, but handle the patch carefully.

5.  Hold the patch over the repair area and cut carefully along its outline, repeating cuts until you have cut thru the outer ply around the damage.  

6.  Use a sharp chisel and CAREFULLY remove the top ply within the cutout area around the damage.  Cut along outlines with xacto knife as needed to keep the cutout clean around the edges, no frays/attached fibers.  Clean up the bottom of removed area until it's nice and flat, down the perpendicular grain of the middle ply. Check fit of patch, should be pretty close around the edges - just a hairline crack.

7. Waterproof wood glue applied sparingly to the inside of the scooped-out damage and to the back of the patch, press in place, and clamp with wax paper and scrap wood over top.  As soon as the glue sets up, sand (some of the sawdust will work down into the crack and help hide the joint).  

I was very happy with the repair.  It's not an invisible repair but I have to look for it.  Now instead of pointing out the mistake to all passersby as gladwin jack points out above, I can point out the patch and brag about my woodworking prowess.. there will be plenty of other flaws to point out as well.


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