Repairing Scrapes in Wood Furniture

"My wood dining table (it's country-ish, kind of soft wood -- maybe pine) is getting all kinds of scrapes. Do I have to take it to a special place to smooth them out, if that's even possible? Or can I do something myself to fix it?" -- iVillager jsaltiel

Question:

Depending on the number and severity of the scrapes and scratches, you may be able bring the table back to life yourself.

Most scrapes and scratches on furniture are in the finish. If there are only a few, they can be filled with either stain sticks if they are very shallow and narrow, or with a wax filler if they are a little deeper or wider. The wax filler looks like a crayon and is available in many wood tones. Basically you rub the “crayon” back and forth across the scratch, remove the excess with a plastic scraper (sometimes I use an old credit card) and then buff with a clean, soft cloth. You may need to use a couple of colors to blend in with the grain of the wood.

For more severe problems, you can use a refinisher. Refinishers melt the finish and redistribute it. I’ve used Formby brand refinisher for many years and have been pleased with the results. There are newer chemicals on the market that are citrus-based that also do a fine job. Whatever product you choose, be sure to follow manufacturer’s directions, and any time you are working with chemicals, be sure to have plenty of ventilation. If the scrapes are only in the table top, that’s all that may need to be done. Place a plastic drop cloth around the sides with masking tape to prevent the product from running down the sides and softening the finish.

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