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Covering Up Wood's Damaging Evidence

June 27, 1992| From Associated Press

Fine wood furnishings need more than dusting and polishing to remain in top shape. Unnecessary weathering, aging, or damage can be avoided by placing those precious pieces away from excessive exposure to moisture, heat, and sunlight.

To hide minor damage to varnish, lacquer, and shellac finishes, try these easy repairs:

* Limited damage. Scratches can usually be removed by rubbing beeswax across them. If there are many scratches, buff the surface of the piece with pumice and rottenstone, then polish with paste wax.

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

* Water spots. Water rings and 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. Another option is to rub the spot with pumice and rottenstone.

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

* Deep scratches. If the scratch has gouged deeply, start by using a thinned or spot-finishing stain on the exposed wood. Then, fill the crevice with spot-finishing lacquer and sand with 600-grit sandpaper. Polish the area with pumice and rottenstone.

* Worn edges. Where edges and corners have worn, apply a spot-finishing or thinned stain to achieve the desired color. When dry, dab on coats of the original finish and buff with fine steel wool, or pumice and rottenstone.

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

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