Are you looking to repair dents in wood surfaces like floors or tables? It’s a common problem we all face, especially if you live in an old house. Fortunately, there are a few simple solutions that can help. Let’s take a look at them one by one.
Use an Iron
One of the easiest ways to fix dents in wood is by using a standard clothes iron. Put the iron on the steam setting on high and place a damp terry cloth on top of the area to be repaired. Place the iron on top of the terry cloth so it doesn’t make direct contact with the dented wood. Let it sit for about 5-10 seconds and then remove it.
Do this a few times until you see progress in the dent lessening. This works by increasing the moisture content and temperature of the wood so it expands and pushes the dent back out.
Be careful doing this on wood that has a finish on it because it may cause issues with that finish. I recommend testing this in a less noticeable section of the wood like a closet for floors to make sure you’re not causing more issues than you’re fixing.
Vinegar & Water
If heat isn’t enough to fix the problem, you can try using a mixture of equal parts white vinegar and water. Dampen a cloth with the mixture and apply it to the dent. The moisture from the cloth can help to swell the wood, which can make the dent less noticeable.
If the dent is deep or the wood is badly damaged, you may need to use a wood-filling product. I’ve done an extensive write up on some of the best wood patching products on the market in The 7 Best Products to Patch Wood.
Simply fill the dent with the putty or filler, let it dry, and then sand it down until it’s flush with the rest of the surface. Some fillers are stainable which can help match the existing finish on the wood. After staining the patch you can apply a couple coats of clear finish using a small artist’s brush.
Finally, if the damage is more extensive, you may need to sand the area down and refinish it. This will require removing the finish from the affected area, sanding it down, and then re-staining and refinishing it to match the surrounding wood. I’ve got a few posts that may be helpful for you below.
No matter what method you choose, it’s important to be gentle when trying to repair dents in wood, especially if the surface is painted or has a clear finish on it as some of the options above may cause the finish to peel. So take your time and be careful. With a little patience and the right approach, you can easily fix dents in wood surfaces and keep them looking beautiful for years to come.
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I love old houses, working with my hands, and teaching others the excitment of doing it yourself! Everything is teachable if you only give it the chance.
2 thoughts on “How To: Fix Dents in Wood”
I have refinished many pieces of furniture and have used the iron trick many times. IT WORKS! I need to redo my floors after 27 years and have several ares to treat because of careless handling of new appliances but I knowI can fix before finish is added.
Don’t forget inlays, sometimes called dutchmen, for wood repair. For unpainted wood, these look so much better than wood filler, IMO, and are stronger and will last longer. If you take the time to find matching wood, they can be almost invisible.