Wood Furniture Repair: How to Fix Scratches and Dings in Your Favorite Piece of Furniture

No matter whether or not your wooden furniture is old or new, sooner or later signs of extensive wear and use will show through. One day while you’re dusting the furniture you’ll notice a small scratch along the edge of your dinning room table. Or a ding will mysterious appear in the side of your dress bureau. Unless you enjoy paying someone else to fix these marks of normal furniture life, here are a few ways to fix them.


It’s late in the afternoon, and you’re preparing for the imminent arrival of your guests for the evening. It’s then that you notice a scratch in the surface of your coffee table. There’s no time to really fix it, but you know that your guests will comment on it. The only thing to do with it is to hide it.

One of the easiest ways to hide a scratch is to use the meat of a walnut pecan or Brazil nut. Rub the meat of the nut along the scratch, and the oil in the nut meat will darken the raw scratch.

If however, you want to actually fix the scratch, there are a few repair methods that don’t cost very much more than a bit of elbow grease and material that can be found at most hardware stores. If the scratch is shallow, you can apply a hard paste wax to the surface with # 0000 steel wool, making sure to stroke very lightly along the grain of the wood. Once the wax is level with the surface of the wood, buff the entire surface with a soft cloth. Soon the scratch will disappear. For scratches that are deeper, furniture patching sticks are very effective. Found in just about every hardware store, these wax sticks come in just about every shade of wood stain that you can come across. Using these sticks is fairly easy as well. Simply choose a shade that matches your finish and rub the stick into the scratch with firm, even strokes. Continue until the scratch is completely filled, and then remove any excess with the edge of a hard plastic card. Allow the wax to dry and buff the entire area to a smooth finish.


Dings are tiny chips in the finish of the wood furniture, and are usually caused by a sharp blow. The wood may not be affected, so the repair is fairly easy to do. To repair a ding, use a sharp craft knife to remove any loose finish in or around the ding. Be sure to work carefully, scraping the damage spot with the flat, sharp edge of the knife blade; don’t scratch the spot. Next, carefully feather the edges of the ding with # 0000 steel wool.

Clean the ding area will with a soft cloth moistened in mineral spirits, and then let it dry completely. Then, with an artists’ brush, carefully apply new finish to the spot — varnish, shellac, lacquer or enamel. Whatever was the original finish of the furniture.

At first, the repair spot will be very shiny and noticeable. Let the finish dry, then lightly buff the surface with steel wool, and wax and polish the entire piece of furniture. Once the job is complete the ding should blend perfectly with the rest of the furniture.

These are just a few ways to repair some of the most common cosmetic damages to wood furniture. As you can see, the methods used to make these repairs are relatively simple, easy, and most effective.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

five × = 35