Your old piece of furniture has simply cracked or someone dropped a heavy toy or household item and made a significant gouge onto its surface. The looks of your piece of furniture has definitely been ruined and, if left untreated, the crack or gouge will only become larger. With some small tools, wood putty, matching wood stain, original finish, and some patience you will be able to easily restore the beauty of your furniture.

Here are the typical options in terms of what can be used as filler

  • wood filler is the easiest filler to use and can be applied on bare or finished wood
  • water putty should be used on bare wood only
  • for a really professional repair job, use shellac sticks instead of wood filler or water putty

Steps to Patching Cracks in Wood Furniture using Wood Filler or Water Putty

  • clean the area thoroughly with soft bristle brush and/or a craft knife
  • remove all debris with a vacuum cleaner to allow the putty to adhere properly to the wood surface
  • fill the crack or gouge with wood filler or water putty – press firmly with a putty knife until the filler level is slightly above the surrounding area
  • let the filler dry for about two days
  • apply more wood putty if necessary
  • once the putty has completely dried, lightly sand with fine-grit sandpaper along the wood grain untill leveled with the surrounding area
  • tint the putty if not aready tinted – test the tint on a test patch as some times the color turns darker than anticipated
  • lightly buff the area with number 0000 steel wool
  • apply the original wood finish with an artist’s brush and allow to dry completely
  • lightly buff the area with number 0000 steel wool
  • clean the area of any residue with a soft cloth
  • wax and polish the surface

Steps to Patching Cracks in Wood Furniture using Shellac Sticks

  • clean the area thoroughly with soft bristle brush and/or a craft knife
  • remove all debris with a vacuum cleaner to allow the putty to adhere properly to the wood surface
  • heat the shellac stick over an alcohol lamp until soft as a glazing compound or putty
  • quickly press the softened shellac into the crack or gouge
  • smooth the shellac with the hot putty knife making sure the crack or gouge is completely filled and a slightly high than the surounding area
  • allow to harden and cool for about two hours
  • sand the surface making sure is flat and flush with the surounding surface
  • apply a shellac finish

Tips

  • if the gouge is very deep, fill it with water putty almost level, let the putty dry completely, then fill the reminder using a shellac stick
  • when heating shellac sticks, hold a putty knife or a palette between the stick and the flame to keep it from dripping
  • you can use a propane torch on low setting, instead of the alchohol lamp
  • do not use an electric or gas range as liquid shellac could damage them
  • to make a shellac finish match a satin-gloss finish, rub the surface smooth with number 0000 steel wool and boiled linseed oil
  • To fill very deep holes, use wood plastic or water putty to fill the hole almost level. Let the filler dry completely, and then fill the indentation with a shellac stick.

Tips on how to prevent further cracks in interior wood such as wood flooring and wood furniture

  • keeping the moisture levels constant, preferably in between 30% and 45% will prevent you wood flooring and wood furniture from significantly expanding and contracting and as a result from further cracking
  • installing and runing a humifier during winter season will allow you to keep the moisture level between normal levels, while an air conditioning unit or simply a dehumidifier will allow you to control humidity levels during the hot/humid season
  • purchasing a quality humidity meter will certainly help to keep an eye on the humidity level within your home

More Information on Wood Repair

How to Repair Burns in Wood Furniture, from Scorches to Deep Char Burns
How to Hide or Repair Scratches, Dings and Dents in Wood Furniture
How to Repair Furniture Hardware – Loose, Missing or Damaged Hinges, Drawer Pulls, Locks, Handles

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