Should I Remove Veneer to Get Smooth Paintable Surface?

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Q: I recently inherited this buffet, along with a matching dining table and 6 chairs. I love the lines and carving on the buffet, but the color is horrible. I have already painted the dining table and the drawers to the buffet black and was sanding the buffet when I ran into a problem. All the flat surfaces are covered in veneer.

The veneer is old, dried out, chipped and coming loose. The dining table was in good enough shape that I could just re-glue the lifted places, the chairs are in such bad shape that I can easily remove all the veneer and paint the wood underneath.

There were a few nicks in the buffet doors and they were easily filled with wood filler. The buffet is another story. As I was sanding it started cracking and chipping. I decided to take my putty knife to it, but some places are still so well attached that pulling it all off becomes a struggle. Does anyone have any ideas how I can get a smooth surface to paint? All the other ideas I have used seem like they will be very time consuming on this large piece. I don't care if the veneer is on or off, as long as I can get a smooth finish.

Sent by Allison

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Janel Laban is the Executive Editor of Apartment Therapy and has been working here, at the dreamiest of dream jobs, since March 2006.

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