Veneer Repair

I intend to replace a built in, 20+ year old refrigerator. There is currently a 3/8 inch (?) oak veener plywood panel, on an appearance side of our current unit. Over thiose many years, some of that oak veneer has developed a darker color. The oak veneer has remained well "adhering", to the underlying base plywood panel.
Before installing the new refrig, I would like to refinish that oak panel. I am sure that the veneer surface is real Thin ! Bbeing an over 20 years old panel, it may be thicker than current veneers?
Is there a best way to refinish veneer? I sure would prefer to keep that existing panel, as that wood grain does closely match our existing oak cabinets etc.
Thanks for any advise -dave
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On Thursday, May 5, 2016 at 12:45:13 PM UTC-4, Dave C wrote:

I would look for a new piece of veneer at HD, etc. I recently did similar when replacing my ovens. I had to make a matching panel and did it by buying oak veneer and staining it. I guess you could try sanding and staining the existing veneer, IDK how well that would work, but replacing it is a backup option.
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You can't sand down very far, so your only option is probably to sand a bit and then stain darker, assuming the stain doesn't just come off. It's hard to tell from your description what the discoloration might be.
Another option might be to veneer over it or replace the panel, then stain that to match. I buy both from this place: http://boulterplywood.com/homepage.html
They'll ship anywhere. They carry oak plywood, both rotary cut and plain sliced. (The former looks like fir plywood, with wide, looping grain. The latter looks like boards.) They also carry oak veneer attached to kraft paper, for use with contact cement. I'm not sure about doing that on top of old poly, but I'm just explaining that option because I don't really know what you need. If it's a panel trimmed by chrome or some such, that you can easily take out, I'd go for replacing it and matching the color with stain.
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On 5/5/2016 9:45 AM, Dave C wrote:

I'd bet the dark is dirt/oils from folks' hands over the years. It's amazing how many places people "drag their hands" that you'd not consider without video evidence of their actions!
You might first try a good furniture cleaner.
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wrote:

When I took woodworking classes in high school, I recall them talking about bleaching wood to lighten it. I believe that just involved wiping bleach on the wood. Maybe someone can clarify this. Of course I know this is for bare wood, not wood which is sealed with a finish. A paint stripper might be a better bet than sanding it. Try it in a small spot first.
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snipped-for-privacy@unlisted.moo writes:

Oxalic acid is used to bleach wood. However, I wouldn't advise it - it's very easy to screw up. Don't use sodium hypochloride.
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Dave C wrote:

I kinda agree with Don Y that the darkening may be just crud. If it is, naptha (lighter fluid) would remove it withott harming any finish. Ditto paint thinner.
As mentioned, oxalic acid will bleach wood but any finish has to be removed first but your veneer won't take much sanding. Time was that 1/16" was standard veneer thickness but that was decades ago; now, 1/42" or less.
Other options include replacing the panel or adding new veneer to what is there. Both options have "gotch yas": is the existing red or white oak? They look different. Was the existing stained? Good luck matching the color if so.
Additionally, adding new veneer on top of the old and it isn't hard...unless you have never done it before. If you want to tey that, I'd suggest peel and stick veneer , a piece large enough to cover the entire panel without having to piece it together. Such can be had at Constantine's...
http://www.constantines.com/veneer.aspx
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