Q & A: Repair a Sand-Through

Q: I went right through the veneer when I was sanding solid-wood edging flush on some plywood shelves. How can I fix it?

A: Sanding through a veneer happens to everyone sooner or later. Here’s an old cabinetmaker’s trick that will salvage what looks to be a hopeless situation. First, remove the damaged veneer using a router and a straight cutting bit. Then, select a piece of hardwood whose color and grain resemble those of your veneer stock and cut a strip to fit the groove.

Veneer seems to be getting thinner every day. To avoid future sand-throughs, make a squiggly line with a pencil along the hardwood-veneer joint. It will help you keep track of how much material you’re removing.

Cut a 1/8-in.-deep groove wide enough to remove the sand-through area. Use a straight edge to guide the router. Cut the groove along the full length of the cabinet side or shelf. Click any image to view a larger version.

Glue a strip of hardwood into the groove. The strip should be just a hair thicker than the groove is deep, so it can be carefully sanded down flush.