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An Overview of Kitchen Cabinet Refacing

by Greg Keefer

Many creative homeowners tackle kitchen cabinet refacing projects with the goal of home improvement in mind. Veneering is a great way to produce a unique and interesting pattern or gain the appearance of hardwood on relatively inexpensive cabinets. But, using sheets of wood veneer can be a touch-and-go process, since the veneer ranges from 1/64 to 1/32 inches in thickness.

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You'll need:

  • A marking gauge
  • Utility knife or scissors
  • Toothed plane
  • Veneer hammer
  • Clamps
  • Veneer saw

Have white carpenter's glue on hand that requires a 24-hour period to dry. The glue won't stain, is easily cleaned up, allows for last minute adjustments, and virtually disappears once it's dried.

In a nutshell, here's what you need to know about do-it-yourself veneering projects.

  • Sand the cabinet: Use an orbital sander to eliminate raised areas and knots. You need a perfectly even surface for proper bonding with the veneer.
  • Plane the surfaces: A toothed plane creates tiny grooves in the wood to facilitate excellent bonding.
  • Cut the veneer to size: Create designs, angles, and patterns, or simply apply a large sheet to the cabinet door, frame, or other section.
  • Apply the glue: Make sure you spread the glue to the edges, as well as throughout the center of the veneer.
  • Lay the veneer, and clamp it: For a tight bond, press the veneer tight with clamps and pieces of wood larger than the section of veneer you're working. Use the veneer hammer to move the excess glue in a zigzag motion.
  • Apply a protective finish. Veneer is fragile. Lightly rub the veneer with fine grit steel woo,l and, then, apply shellac or furniture wax as directed on the container.

Veneer is a beautiful way to spruce up old cabinets, enrich inexpensive cabinets, or create eye-pleasing designs on cabinet surfaces. You'll need quite a bit of patience. but the results are worth it.



About the Author

Greg Keefer has been a do-it-yourselfer with lots of experience in how to do things right and how to do them wrong. He enjoys sharing his experience with the hope of helping others to

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