It is all too simple to damage an older piece of veneered furniture if you try to refinish it; veneers are thin and easy to sand through, and that can be a problem when the piece has dulled with age. An alternative that can turn a throwaway to a conversation piece without the risk of damaging the hairline would be to paint the surface white and distress the end. There is more than one means to try it, but a simple method uses flat white latex paint or wood primer. Other colours used as highlights add to the distressing outcomes.
Start the restoration by eliminating all of the hardware in the veneered piece, having a screwdriver to remove drawer pulls and door hinges. Cover the floor with plastic sheeting and provide ventilation by opening a window, using a fan or both.
Wash the veneer with a solution of 1/2-cup trisodium phosphate per gallon or warm water. This eliminates greasy deposits and also dulls the aged end, which both enhance paint adhesion. Wipe the piece dry using a clean rag.
Prepare a painting solution. If you want to create an opaque white end, the best plan is to apply a coat of wood primer followed by a couple of coats of white paint. If you prefer a pickled appearance, mix flat latex paint or primer having an equal quantity of water.
Apply primer and paint — if that’s the option you choose — using a paintbrush. Permit each undercoat dry; then sand it using 220-grit sandpaper before applying another coat. If you opt for a pickled finish, brush on the paint mixture having a paintbrush and wipe immediately using a rag. This technique allows paint to gather in pores, cracks and crevices and leaves a milky finish on the rest of the surface.
Distress the end after it dries. Among the many approaches you can do this is to hit the surface using a chain, pound it with a hammer or make tiny holes with a hammer and nail. You can also use sandpaper to remove paint in specific areas to make the end look worn.
Highlight the distressing effect by mixing a glaze, using water-soluble glazing compound and universal pigment. Using a glaze that is the identical shade as the exposed wood inside a closet or on the bottom of a table helps make the piece appear worn.
Apply the glaze using a rag, then rubbing it to areas where you desire the most shade highlighting. Allow it to dry; subsequently shield the finish by brushing on a single coat of satin polyurethane.