Removing Dents from Unfinished Wood

Many do-it-yourselfers are drawn to unfinished furniture, both because it’s generally less expensive than finished furniture, and because the finishing process provides a creative outlet. Unfortunately, unfinished furniture is basically unprotected furniture, and as such, it is prone to denting. Fortunately, aggressive sanding and filling aren’t your only options for repairing dents in unfinished wood. Often, it’s quite easy raise a dent using little more than a damp cloth and an iron.
Simply place the damp cloth on top of the dented area and apply a hot iron to the cloth for a few seconds at time, checking the dented area frequently. Applying heat to the damp cloth creates steam which permeates the cells of the wood, causing the crushed fibers in the dented area to expand until the dent is no longer visible.
Once the dent has disappeared, simply allow the area to dry, sand lightly and proceed with the finish of your choice.

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Timothy Dahl

Timothy Dahl

Founder/EIC at Charles & Hudson
Timothy’s background includes stints at This Old House, ELLE DECOR, Metropolitan Home and Woman’s Day. His work has been published on Wired Design, Bob Vila, DIY Network, The Family Handyman and Popular Mechanics and he has been featured on the Martha Stewart radio show and as a speaker at the ALT Design Summit, K/BIS and the National Hardware Show.