How to Restore Veneer on an Old Singer Sewing Machine

The name Singer is an American icon in the world of sewing machines. Most antique shop or flea market aficionados have seen dozens of them in varying states of disrepair. Finding one with a halfway solid wood cabinet is not uncommon. If the pieces are all there, most cabinets can be redone. One repair that often stumps DIY woodworkers is veneer damage. Most Singer machines have an oak veneer. The damage typically takes one of three forms: peeled veneer, blisters or bubbles, and missing chunks caused by impact damage.

...
Old sewing machine cabinets, including Singers, are typically veneered.

Restoring Peeling Singer Veneer

Step 1

Lift the veneer up along the peeled edge and use compressed air to blow any debris from under its surface. Scrape any loose glue from the substrate and the back of the veneer with a thin metal scraper.

Step 2

Apply a coat of wood glue to the back of the veneer and the substrate underneath. Use an art brush to spread the glue evenly across the surface.

Step 3

Press the veneer into place and position a piece of wax paper over the damage. Place a wood block on top of the wax paper and clamp it down with wood working clamps to press the veneer in place. Wipe excess glue from the edge of the veneer. Allow the glue to dry before removing the clamps, wood block and wax paper.

Restoring Blistered Singer Veneer

Step 4

Locate the blister by running your hand along the surface, marking any raised areas with chalk. Slice through the veneer in the center of the bubble with a razor craft knife.

Step 5

Inject wood glue into the blister through the razor slit with a large syringe. Press the veneer down firmly with your hand and wipe excess glue from the surface with a damp rag.

Step 6

Place wax paper over the damage and fit a small scrap of wood over it. Clamp the wood down, to press the bubble flat with a C clamp. Allow the clamp to stay in place overnight, then remove.

Restoring Missing Singer Veneer

Step 7

Mark a diamond on a sheet of paper a little larger than the missing section and any surrounding edges that are ragged, and cut it out with scissors. Place it over the damaged area and trace around it. Cut the traced diamond into the veneer and lift out the shape with a sharp wood chisel.

Step 8

Select a piece of veneer to match the grain of the sewing machine cabinet. Trace the diamond onto the veneer and cut it out with a razor craft knife. Apply wood glue to the back of this patch and place it in the shape you cut from the veneer.

Step 9

Place wax paper over the patch and position a block of wood on top. Clamp the wood tight with a wood working clamp and leave it over night.

Step 10

Apply two coats of stain and clear finish all-in-one in the same color as the original sewing machine finish over the patched area, using an art brush.