Refresh damaged timber furniture with simple techniques for cleaning surfaces and filling chips and dents.
Timber furniture with a clear finish that shows the grain has a timeless appeal although the dings and blemishes that build up over the years can be conspicuous.
Restoring old timber to its former glory could be as simple as using a few drops of water to lift a dent or using epoxy putty to patch veneer. Here are our tips on how you can get your timber looking new again.
TIP Consult an expert first if your furniture may be a valuable antique.
Cleaning the timber
The first step to any furniture revamp is to give it a thorough clean, as simply removing the grime that has built up can restore much of the original lustre.
Use a sponge dipped in a solution of water and dishwashing detergent to gently clean the timber, getting into details and mouldings with a brush.
Rinse off the detergent with clean water and dry with a cloth.
Scrape off paint spots
Paint spatters are common on old furniture and they can often be easily removed without damaging the finish.
Make a precision scraper by applying masking tape to the ends of a one-sided razor blade then run the cutting edge carefully along the surface of the timber to remove any dried paint spots.
TIP The masking tape keeps the blade a fraction of a millimetre clear of the original finish and also prevents you from accidentally gouging the surface of the timber with a sharp corner.
To fix small indentations in furniture, apply a few drops of water to the area so the crushed fibres absorb the moisture and swell back to the original shape.
To ensure the water penetrates, make very fine cuts through the finish with a razor blade or utility knife.
TIP This fix won’t work on gouged or scratched timber
Use a razor to make fine cuts through the finish on timber furniture
Fill small indentations with drops of water so the timber swells back to its original shape
Filling chipped veneer
To replace a small section of veneer use an epoxy putty like Selleys Knead It Multipurpose, about $15 a tube, then match the surrounding veneer by mixing a little powdered oxide with Selleys Araldite, about $8 for 8ml.
See below for a step-by-step guide on how to fill chipped veneer.