Tack Irons

Constantine's (800) 223-8087 Circle #602

First, examine the old glue.

Carefully lift the edge of the veneer with a palette knife (available at art supply stores) or any other thin, flexible blade. Be careful not to break the veneer. If there is old glue under the veneer, and it's in good condition, inject or brush some warm water under the veneer to reactivate the glue. (See photo, right.) Then put a caul over the veneer, clamp it, and allow it to dry overnight.

You can also reactivate old glue with heat using a household iron or a tack iron, also called an edge-banding iron. (See Sources.) I wouldn't recommend this on any piece where the finish is valuable— Handle with care. To fix delicate veneer without it may damage the finish. But heat disturbing the finish, inject warm water or dab on some works very well along an edge, and fresh hide glue. it also works on cracked veneer. Set your iron to low or medium heat, without steam. To help avoid finish problems, place several layers of rags between the veneer and the iron, and try to keep the heat localized. Sweep the iron slowly back and forth over the surface, applying gentle pressure. Clamp or weight the veneer, and let it dry.

If the old glue looks powdery, you'll need to add new glue. But first inject or brush on some warm water, to help soften the old glue. Gently scrape away the old glue with a palette knife, if you can do so without damaging the veneer. Then brush on fresh hide glue, clamp with cauls, wipe off any squeeze-out, and let the piece dry overnight.

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