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Q: Is it possible to stain a wood veneer? ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: Is it possible to stain a wood veneer?
Category: Family and Home > Home
Asked by: mathowie-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 14 Jun 2002 09:11 PDT
Expires: 21 Jun 2002 09:11 PDT
Question ID: 25801
How can I stain a wood veneered piece of cheap furniture? I recently
bought a media cabinent on sale (about $60 from a place going out of
business), but it is a medium oak-to-cherry brownish-orange color. The
rest of the furniture in the room is dark walnut brown, and I'd like
to match the new piece with the old pieces. I went out and bought a
walnut stain, tried applying it to the back of a shelf, but it never
penetrated the (probably) sealed surface. Whatever I applied easily
wiped off without changing the color of anything.

What I want to know is, is there any method of stripping the sealer
coat from a cheap veneer and getting a stain into it? Or is it a lost
cause? Is painting it my only option?
Subject: Re: Is it possible to stain a wood veneer?
Answered By: knowledge_seeker-ga on 14 Jun 2002 10:01 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hi there!

The simple answer to your quesiton is: "Yes it's possible, but ..."

The first thing you should do is be sure that your cabinet is really
veneer. That is has a thin layer of REAL wood over whatever product is
underneath. Maybe carefully separate a spot on the bottom or back to
see that there is in fact wood there, and not some type composite
plastic material.  If it’s plastic, then paint is your only option.

Then you should decide how much time you are willing to spend to get a
good looking result.  Anything that removes the sealant will also
affect the stain underneath. You may get streaking and end up being
committed to stripping the entire piece and re-staining from bare

Next, be aware that your walnut stain will not end up being its
advertised color if you apply it over the oak/cherry.

Finally (take it from someone who knows!), wood stripping and
refinishing of furniture is labor intensive, messy, and exacting.  The
whole process may take a week or more depending on the size of the
piece. This is why it’s usually reserved for the preservation of
family pieces and antiques.

But, if you decide you’re going to do this, what you should do first
is test the finish. The general rule is that you start with the least
invasive product and work your way to stronger and stronger until you
find one that works.

The usual progression is warm water then ammonia then alcohol then
acetone (nail polish remover) and then to commercial stripping

There are many products on the market that remove finish from wood.
Your best bet is to go to your local hardware store and ask the people
there. But here are a few examples.

Here are some sites that offer techniques for stripping furniture

If you’d like a personal recommendation from someone who has
refinished lots of antique furniture (not to mention much of the
woodwork in an 1870’s home) I’d recommend painting the cabinet

Good luck with your project!


search terms used: 
“wood stripping” products
“wood stripping” technique
mathowie-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
Perfect, thanks. I suspect it is not a real wood veneer, and instead a
plastic fake wood laminate.

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