YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Tips for Repairing and Revitalizing Wood Furniture : Damage: A variety of treatments, from beeswax to a blow-dryer, can be used to fix scratches and dents around the home.


Don't let minor damage diminish furniture.

Follow these tips from Better Homes and Gardens magazine on repairing and revitalizing varnish, lacquer and shellac finishes.

Small, shallow scratches in most wood finishes can easily be removed by rubbing beeswax across the damage. When there are a lot of small scratches, buff them out with pumice and rottenstone and then polish with a coat of paste wax.

For any smaller scratches that have nicked the wood, apply a colored furniture polish and scratch-hiding polish to conceal the raw wood. Special soft-tip markers or wax filler sticks also will work.

Rings left by glasses and other water spots can be removed by wiping a pad soaked in denatured alcohol over the area. Lift the pad up at the end of each stroke. If that fails, rub the spot with pumice and rottenstone.

Small dents that haven't damaged the finish or scratched the wood can often be brought back to flush by ironing over the dent with a moist cloth and an iron set on warm. Also try moistening the area and then heating it with a blow-dryer.

If the scratch has gouged deeply, stain the exposed wood to match. Use a thinned stain or spot-finishing stain; build up to desired color. Fill the crevice with spot-finishing lacquer. Sand with 600-grit sandpaper and polish with pumice and rottenstone.

When edges and corners wear down, restore their color and shine by applying a thinned stain or spot-finishing stain. Build up thin coats to achieve the desired color. Let dry and dab on several thin coats of the original finish. Buff to desired gloss with fine steel wool or pumice and rottenstone.

Burns or large gouges require a burn-in stick and a special knife. First, heat the burn-in knife and slice off a thin slab of the stick. Melt the slab and press it into the gouge. When it has dried, smooth with sandpaper.

When filling or restaining is necessary, also match the grain patterns with the undamaged wood. To do this, apply several thin coats of stain until the desired background color is reached.

Then, with a small, pointed-tip brush, paint in the lines of grain, using a small batch of dark-colored stain. Carefully merge the new patterns that were painted in with the original grain.

Often all a dull finish needs is cleaning. To cut through old wax and grime, wipe with benzine or naphtha, or use a commercial finish restorer. These products can be found in a woodworking or hardware store.

Los Angeles Times Articles