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While completing a project, I accidentally sanded through the veneer on oak plywood. Any suggestions as to how I can hide this problem when I apply stain?

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Marty, I would have to see the problem area to best answer your question.  Depending on the size of the problem and without seeing its location I have a possible solution .  I have in the past did a process of which I call tattooing.  To do this I use a short thin piece of wood that is about 1/8 of one inch thick and about 8 to 12 inches.  In one end I push a sewing needle into the wood so that the pointed end extends out of the other side.  Take the stick in one hand and in a motion similar to hammering make a series of very small holes in the defect area.  This will give the stain something to bite into.  You might be able to simulate near by grains in the oak veneer.  The area will take stain either darker or lighter than the veneer so be careful with stain application.  The tattooing method works best in areas where there is a lot of grain pattern because you can simulate a grain pattern using this method.  I have used this several times and especially on hard wood where there is a grain that refused to take any stain color.

Depending on the finish you are doing but if you are using a clear coat over a stain you might be able to use some artist oil colors to make the area less noticeable by getting the base color correct and then add in some grain effect that is like the nearby grains.  Since you have sanded the ply and the veneer seems to be very thin it is hard but not impossible to add a patch. 

This is a big problem with plywood today as it has thin veneer and often time the veneers are loose and often crack after a short time of applying stains.  Like I said there may be other solutions depending on where it is.  Often times I will accent the defect rather that try and hide it.

I do not have a solution but the veneer is real thin on plywood. I usually work with solid wood but was building a bedroom night stand and looking for a quick build i used plywood. I only sanded through one small spot on the bottom and it covered with stain.   Between the thin veneer and covering edges I will go back to solid wood on my next project and just spend the extra time doing a glue up

Ed your are very right about the veneer on plywood being thin,  I will use it in building cabinet cases but on any thing that is exposed to the eye I will build, usually raised panels to go on it.  It is a shame as the wood industry is doing everything they can to save on veneer facing and cut it so thin that I have even seen bare core in sheets that are in the stack for sale.  The worse is the plywood from foreign imports.  

I'm hoping that Marty will send a photo so I can see if there is any solution other that the one above or a Dutchman patch. 
 
Ed Ward said:

I do not have a solution but the veneer is real thin on plywood. I usually work with solid wood but was building a bedroom night stand and looking for a quick build i used plywood. I only sanded through one small spot on the bottom and it covered with stain.   Between the thin veneer and covering edges I will go back to solid wood on my next project and just spend the extra time doing a glue up

Consider this repair approach.
(Akin to installing an inlay).

Mark-out around the damaged area of the existing veneer, using an sharp mat knife and straight edge.
Cut around the damaged area and remove it.
Clean out the bottom with a sharp chisel.

Place a high quality masking tape over the cut-out veneer, with the tape running parallel to the grain, so when you put in on the new donor veneer patch, it runs in the correct direction.

Trace out the shape of the patch on the tape using the side of a pencil.

Transfer the tape on the donor veneer patch.

Cut the piece out using a pair of quality scissors or mat knife and straightedge.

Place the donor patch over the area removed from the workpiece, and check fit.

NOTE: If the piece is to big to handle it one piece, snap it in-half, with the grain---and insert half of the patch, when it drys, install the second half.

Use appropriate glue.

Place wax paper over the patched area.
Apply caul(s) and clamp.

When glue has dried, remove clamps and caul.

Scrap excess glue that may have seeped out the joints.

If the veneer patch is a little thicker, and is above the surrounding area, it can be scraped or hand planed flush.
When using a hand plane, make shallow planing passes, shaving off .001 at a time.

NOTE:
A donor veneer patch can be obtained from the same material as the material being repaired---
cut thin strips on the table.

That is the same as a Dutchman patch.  Problem is that the veneer is usually too thin to sand of properly level.  You would be better off using a solid wood patch than a veneer and fit it to the already sanded and thin veneer.
 
Ken Darga said:

Consider this repair approach.
(Akin to installing an inlay).

Mark-out around the damaged area of the existing veneer, using an sharp mat knife and straight edge.
Cut around the damaged area and remove it.
Clean out the bottom with a sharp chisel.

Place a high quality masking tape over the cut-out veneer, with the tape running parallel to the grain, so when you put in on the new donor veneer patch, it runs in the correct direction.

Trace out the shape of the patch on the tape using the side of a pencil.

Transfer the tape on the donor veneer patch.

Cut the piece out using a pair of quality scissors or mat knife and straightedge.

Place the donor patch over the area removed from the workpiece, and check fit.

NOTE: If the piece is to big to handle it one piece, snap it in-half, with the grain---and insert half of the patch, when it drys, install the second half.

Use appropriate glue.

Place wax paper over the patched area.
Apply caul(s) and clamp.

When glue has dried, remove clamps and caul.

Scrap excess glue that may have seeped out the joints.

If the veneer patch is a little thicker, and is above the surrounding area, it can be scraped or hand planed flush.
When using a hand plane, make shallow planing passes, shaving off .001 at a time.

NOTE:
A donor veneer patch can be obtained from the same material as the material being repaired---
cut thin strips on the table.

Hey guys, thanks for your replies.

The damage is small but I am not sure how the stain will cover.

As requested I have attached two pictures; one of the bookcase and the other of the problem on the shelf.

Thanks again,

Marty

Aw man, that's a little one AND it's on the corner!  Take a piece of scrap with the same color and grain running in the same direction, cut the patch to a size slightly larger than the area you need to cover, then trace the patch onto the damaged piece.  Then cut out along the lines you traced, glue in the patch, clamp it up and let it cure.  Then trim it flush with the workpiece, then resand (LIGHTLY . . . not that you'll ever forget that one again).  With the grain running the same direction and if you get the seams nice and tight, the eye won't be drawn to it.  I'm all for a Dutchman, but in this case, there's no need to go through the trouble of trying to rout out only a portion of the damaged board, easier to just cut out the entire section and glue in a repair.

Oh and nice looking piece BTW.  The other thing I didn't think of:  Can't you flip that piece over or did you already glue the panel into the frame?

Hi Marty, After looking at the sanded through spot I think I would attempt to use a stiff brush an work at trying to add some grain effect to the spot and see if that will improve the looks.  I noted that the ply seems to have some straight grain effect running horizontally and that the hardwood that runs horizontal also  has similar grains.  I also noted that the hardwood that runs vertically is a darker color and will take a color effect from the stain that is going to be different than the horizontal hardwood near where the trouble spot is located.  This will give you some room to work the color in without drawing a lot of attention.  I think I would attempt to make this look like a natural knot or a brown spot in the plywood by using some darker stain in this area and blending it into the surrounded area. If all else fails there is the tattooing effect that you can do to make it take on a darker color like a knot that you would see in the wood.  Something that professional refinisher often do is to accent the defect and even by signing their work using a wood burned logo or name and date.  Like I said before if you can't hide it then accent it so that it looks intentional.

Your work looks very good and I see a lot of work and planning that went into this project.  I like the open areas of the sides as it brings attention to the sides which is usually flat and boring.  This is a plus in your work and craftsmanship.  Even with the mistake it is still an exceptional piece.  Thank you for sharing your work.
 
Marty Rosenbloom said:

Hey guys, thanks for your replies.

The damage is small but I am not sure how the stain will cover.

As requested I have attached two pictures; one of the bookcase and the other of the problem on the shelf.

Thanks again,

Marty

My fellow Kreg Woodworkers,

 

Thank you very much for your input. You have shared some great cures to cover/hide my sand through.

I very much appreciate your help.

Marty

PS By the way, this is a copy of a "Stickly Furniture piece" that I found in a Woodworkers book. I used the basic design - modified the measurements - and modified the process to use the Kreg pocket holes. There was as much thought/planning as there was constructing. Great fun!

If your using a dark stain it should cover. I have found gel stains are easier to control as they do not penetrate as deep. The other thing is small problems like yours be it a sand through ,a nick , a slight misalignment are noticed much more by the builder then others that view your piece. Besides things like that give it character and show its hand made.   

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