Repairing an Oak Sideboard

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I had been on the lookout for a nice piece of furniture to store stuff like cocktail glasses and board games. A (very wholesome – at least for the purposes of this blog) party cupboard if you will.

I spied a real gem on Gumtree (Gumtree turns it on OFTEN I do declare – I’m forever driving off to some random part of the city to pick up some stinky old item).

This particular find was an oak sideboard with flower detail and it was going for about £15 I seem to remember. The reason it was going so cheap was because it had a big hole punched right through the door and I thought to myself ‘ I can fix that… I have no idea how, but I reckon I can do it’.


So I went and grabbed it, stuffed it in the back of my little car and home it came where it sat in the middle of the dining room for about a week while I mulled over my options.

phone pic alert

The thing itself it nice and solid, but the doors are quite flimsy veneer (hence the hole). I searched high and low online but couldn’t really find any tutorials for repairing holes in veneer – they were there but mostly for repairing chipped veneer on the edge of a tabletop, so I started looking for repairing holes in doors.

Apparently there’s quite a bit of call for tutorials on how to fix holes punched in doors in drunken brawls (at least that’s how I like to imagine it happens). Some filled, some patched, some replaced panels. Still, nothing that could quite help me patch oak veneer, so I winged it. Caw! (Magpie noise. Sigh.)

I decided I was going to go for the ‘Fill AND Patch’ approach.

First up I cut the jaggedy hole into a nice rectangle which would be easier to patch. I bought some small sample sized sheets of oak veneer online for a couple of quid and tried to find the best match to the grain. I slapped a patch on the inside of the door to make a back for my filler.


Then I started to fill. Fill a bit, let it dry, fill a bit etc. I really didn’t care about the colour at this point as it was going to have a patch over it. I just wanted solid area so my patch would sit nice and smooth.


I let that dry and  while it was drying I took one of the sheets of veneer and cut a little patch to the right size. I sanded the wood filler flat so it sat just below the level of the oak, ready for the patch.

No, it’s not multi-coloured wood, just photography in too many different kinds of light. Oh, and patch standing by.

…and then lined up the patch ready to stick down with a little wood glue…


In order to make the grain look like it matched, I pulled out a simple old black pen and got to work. It’s usually the first thing people say when I point out the patch; “but how did you get the grain to match up you goddam genius?!” ha HA! In the most budget way everrr, is my answer.


Next thing was to try to make a smooth seam between the patch and the rest of the door. To do this I needed to colour some wood filler so it wouldn’t be so obvious when I stained the patch at the end. I had some generic ‘medium oak’ coloured stain so I mixed that up in a little wood filler.


…which I then used to fill the area around the patch.


Then it was more sanding, and more biro.


Then I pulled out the trusty generic stain (generic stain that I had transferred to a jar and forgotten to make a note of the brand – not useful if you ever want to buy the same again d’oh).

I also forgot to take any pictures of the staining process or reattaching the door, but here it is all done.


The top of the sideboard was also in pretty bad shape, watermarked and stained to all hell.


So I gave it a sanding  and a waxing and it looked muuuuch better:


Not perfect, but you know it has character!

The inside also needed some work as it had some very old, messed up lining paper stuck to the shelves and inside the drawers. Eww.


I had some sexy ass art deco green diamond pattern wallpaper that I’d used for another project so I wallpaper pasted that on to the shelves and the inside of the drawers.


I cleaned it all up, and then did a couple of coats of varnish over the wallpaper to make it more durable. Gotta think about durability. The longer things last the less often I have to do-over and the less careful I have to be when using them.

Once the varnish was dry, I finally had a place to put my drinking equipment! (AKA glasses).

Cocktail, anyone?
Or perhaps a vino…?
Love the detail on this thing. I have no idea how old it is or where it was made but is sure is pretty.
See how nicely that patch is hidden? …in shadow haha. Oh. That plant looks a little sad. Try not to cry whilst looking at it.

So now we have a place for all our party favourites – martini glasses, pudding bowls, port glasses, board games, nudie playing cards from various countries. Yep. All the good stuff. Ah damn forgot to keep it wholesome.

What do you think… the wood grain is beautiful I think, but should I have painted it a lush colour instead?

One thought on “Repairing an Oak Sideboard

  1. Ace repair skillz lady!
    FWIW I love the wood finish vibe – if only so some poor sod in the future doesn’t have to spend ages scraping paint off it…!


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