Wood Furniture Repair: Easy Ways to Repair Dents

Many homes today have at least a few pieces of wood furniture. Whether it is an old family heirloom or a table bought at a quality furniture store, keeping your piece of wood furniture in good condition takes a bit of work, time and ingenuity. However, even with careful maintenance, there will be times when repairs will be necessary. A few of the most common ways to damage wood furniture are dents, cracks and gouges in the wood. Luckily the repairs to these imperfections are easily accomplished by the talented homeowner.

Dents occur when the wood in the furniture is forcefully compressed. Depending on the force of the blow, the dent could be wide and shallow or deep like a puncture. Unlike many other surface damages to your wood furniture, a dent is actual damage to the wood, and not the finish necessarily. Therefore to repair the dent, a few extra steps are needed..

In order to remove a dent, the first step is to make sure the wood is bare. On finished surfaces, carefully remove the finish around the damaged area by using fine grit sandpaper. Remove the furniture finish for about 1/2 inch around the dent to be repaired. The next step is to try to raise the wood in the dent so that it is level with the surrounding wood. To raise the wood in the dent, apply water and allow it to penetrate into the wood. Allow it to penetrate for a day or so, but be sure not to wet the entire surface. This treatment may be enough raise and repair the dent, but if it isn’t, there are a few other methods to try.

The next method for raising a dent is to soak a cloth in water and wring it out. Place the damp cloth, folded in several layers over the dent. Then press the cloth firmly with a warm iron. Be careful, of course, not to touch the iron directly to the wood, or you will scorch it, which will lead to another repair not discussed in this paper. The moist heat may be enough to swell the wood and raise the dent. If it isn’t, another option is to apply a commercial wood swelling liquid and give it about a day to work.

For those dents that cannot be fixed with heat or moisture, a more involved process must be used. Don’t worry, it is still something the average homeowner can handle. The first step is to take a fine, straight pin or needle to drive a series of holes in the dent. Drive the straight pin in for about a quarter inch each time, making sure the holes are as small as possible. Next treat the dent using one of the methods mentioned above. The purpose of the holes is the let the water and heat penetrate the wood’s surface. If you’re careful in how you produce the holes they shouldn’t show when the dent is raised. After the dent has been raised, let the wood dry for about a week and then refinish the damage areas. Be sure to allow the piece of wood furniture to dry completely between each finishing coat. After the last coat is dry, lightly buff the area with a soft steel wool to get the area to match the surrounding wood.

So if you find that your favorite piece of wood furniture is sporting a few new dents, you now have a few different ways to repair the damage.

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