my Old Workshop

How to repair dented wood

Ever missed the nail and dented a piece of trim or other finish wood? Accidentally banged a door? A blemish you’ll notice forever, right? Maybe not.

You may be able to make the dent disappear as if by magic. Here’s how. Tear an old sheet into a five or six pieces five times larger than the dent. Soak them in water, wring them out, and lay them over the dent. Now lightly press a warm iron to the fabric. The steam the iron creates will swell the depressed wood fibers, bringing them back to their original state.

You might need to do this a few times to totally eliminate the dent.

Once you’re done, you’ll need to close the grain back up, since the steam will have opened it up. That means it will act like end-grain and absorb more stain, making the dented section darker. So sand thoroughly to get things back to normal.

Then stain and finish as you would normally. Now you’re the only one who even knows there was a dent there.

A few cautions. Don’t try this with veneers, and be careful near joints, since the steam may soften the glue in these areas.