How to Patch a Hollow Veneer Door

Make a nearly invisible fix with these step-by-step instructions.

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To repair a hole in a wood-veneer door, you'll need a piece of replacement veneer and some very basic drawing skills. Here's how to do it:

Materials and Tools:

sawhorses
flat-head screwdriver
hammer
utility knife
ruler
pencil and pen
cardboard
masking tape
wood chisel
medium-grit sandpaper
wood glue
towel
gloves
piece of replacement veneer
stain or paint supplies (optional)

Steps:

1. Remove the door from the hinges using a screwdriver and hammer and place across sawhorses.
2. Measure the size of the hole and draw a light reference line on the door bisecting the hole.
3. Draw an irregular shape large enough to encompass the hole on a lightweight piece of cardboard. Make the shape about ½-inch larger than the dimensions of the hole. The reason you want an irregular shape is that a square or circular patch on the veneer would be much more noticeable. A football-shaped patch works well.
4. Cut out the shape and attach a few doubled-up pieces of masking tape to the back.
5. Place the cardboard shape over the hole in the door and line it up with the reference line.
6. Score along the edge of the cutout. Go just deep enough to score the veneer; don't cut through the door, and be sure not to cut into the cardboard.
7. Mark the cardboard so you know which side is the top, and carefully peel it off the door. Be careful not to bend it, because you're going to use it as a template for your new patch.
8. Carefully deepen the score line on the door a bit, cutting just through the top layer of veneer.
9. Use a chisel to remove the top piece of veneer within the scored area. Smooth the exposed area with a piece of medium-grit sandpaper.
10. Hold your piece of replacement veneer up to the hole and try to match the grain pattern with that on the door. You probably won't match it perfectly; just get as close as you can. Stick your cardboard template on the area of veneer that matches best.
11. Cut around the template with the utility knife to create your veneer patch.
12. Test-fit the patch on the door. When it fits, coat the back of the patch with all-purpose glue. Spread the glue in an even layer.
13. Stick the patch on the door, twist it slightly to work it securely into place, cover it with a piece of plastic and place a heavy book on top. Allow the glue to set for 30 minutes.
14. Lightly sand the patch to smooth the edges, going with the grain. Touch up with a light coat of stain and give it a few minutes to dry.
15. Replace the door.

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