How to Get Rid of Gouges in Wooden Furniture

A house is never complete without its furniture, whether you’re into a fuller or minimalistic look. Furniture not only gives your place life it also adds glamor to your taste. Furniture is an investment: let it be tables, chairs, sofas, bed; it’s a whole set of concepts that can be overwhelming especially when you’re moving into a new place. Wooden furniture is the kind to always give your space a classical and chic look.

However, maintenance of furniture is a hassle mainly wooden furniture. They require utmost care especially if they’re old or used consistently. Damage to wooden furniture disrupts the whole design and one cannot oversee it. It becomes too obvious. Gouges aren’t like dents. Dents only compress the wood fibers and can be easily fixed with the help of steam whereas gouges are trickier messes. Gouges splits apart the wood fibers. As overpowering it may seem, nothing is impossible. Here are a few easy fixes that you can do at the comfort of your home without really changing the furniture:

Wax filler sticks

  • Firstly clean the area of damage for a smooth application. Then rub the filler over the damaged area however be mindful of the color of the stick. It should be able to blend with the color of your wood. Rub the filler back and forth till the gouge is covered with it.
  • Blend the filler all around the gouge to smoothen the edges or any areas you might have missed. You can do so with your finger to get the maximum product to spread out but try not to remove too much filler from the area and try to level the gouge with the rest of the surrounding wood to avoid bumps.
  • Remove the excessive filler. You can use a card or any other object with a fine edge. Wipe and clean the surrounding areas and with the help of a fine edged product level the gouge with the rest of the wood. You can use a dry rag too.
  • Allow the filler to dry for 30 minutes till it hardens. If you see any areas missed or uneven you can repeat the procedure.

Wax filler putty

  • With the help of a putty knife spread the wood latex filler. Spread as much needed according to the gouge and level it with the rest of the surface. Gouges larger in size require to be filled with the color coherent with the surface. To avoid scratches to the wood, use a plastic knife instead of a metal one.
  • Remove the excess product from the damaged area with the use of the putty knife.
  • Allow the putty to dry up for 30 minutes and make sure it remains untouched for an easy process.
  • To perfect the application process now you need sandpaper. You need a 180 grit sandpaper to smoothen and even out the surface. Rub the area back and forth but avoid scratching the rest of the surface where there’s no filler to evade scratches.
  • Dampen a cloth with lukewarm water and squeeze the excess water out. Then rub the borders of the gouge in order to clean up the excess filler.
  • Last but not least you’ll need polyurethane or your desired sealant. You need to have the same sealant that you’ve used in other areas to give the furniture a completed, whole look. If you’re not sure about the sealant you’ve used in other areas you can use varnish and make it into a thin mixture by mixing it with almost 10-20% turpentine. Apply on the repaired area for the final step.

Shellac Sticks

  • Shellac sticks give a toned polished professional look. Clean the gouge carefully with the tip of a knife, mainly a craft knife. Shellac sticks are meant to be melted in order to fill the gouge. Do not use a match or stove to burn the stick for it will burn or discolor the stick or damage the stove and get stuck in the gas holes. Rather on a low setting an alcohol lamp or a propane torch is best.
  • The stick should match the wood shade as closely as possible for a refined, discreet look. When the stick has melted, hold it over a putty knife to avoid a mess. Make sure it’s of consistency like that of putty and cover the gouge. Smoothen the consistency with a hot knife and make sure it reaches every part of the damaged surface. Shellac dries up and hardens quickly so be mindful of the application process. Leave the filler a little high.  With a heated knife blade (putty knife) smoothen the surface like trowelling cement.
  • Allow the patch to sit for about two hours. Once the shellac has hardened, you can sand the surface and level it.
  • If the rest of the wood has a satin gloss finish, rub the fixed area with 0000 steel wool and some linseed seed till smooth. You can reapply the shellac if needed.

Fill with a piece of wood

  • If the hole is larger, you can also fill it with a piece of wood. Cut a piece of wood and trim it to fit perfectly in the gouge. If the piece can be taken from another piece of furniture from a spot that will not be visible then the repair can become almost impossible to detect due to the color coordination.
  • Fit the piece into the hole and use glue preferably carpenters glue to bond it to the wood. Leave the piece a little high and when the glue has dried out, and the wooden piece to level it with the surface.

Arts and Craft it

  • This is only applicable for minor gouges but is a fun and creative way to give your furniture a new look.
  • When carving the design make sure to use a sharp tool that will allow you to cut through the surface of the wood. The design should be around the gouge to cover up damage and blend it into the design.


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