Nyce Refinishing & Furniture Repair 28 West Third St. Lansdale, Pa. 215-361-3900  

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23   Removing a scratch


Repairing furniture can be a minefield, and it's best to check with a qualified furniture conservator before considering any DIY repairs. If you are attempting any minor repairs such as removing scratches, it is important that the work can be easily reversed by a professional.

There are a number of surface finishes including: wax, varnish, lacquer, shellac, paint and modern synthetic finishes. Even bare wood will develop a patina of its own over decades. These finishes are a sign of the age of a piece and should be preserved.

Remove an unsightly surface scratch on your furniture with the following step-by-step advice.


Removing a scratch

  • If you find a scratch, first examine how deep it is. If it is only a surface scratch and has not gone through to the actual wood, you can attempt to colour-in the area. A scratch that has gone through to the wood can allow moisture into the wood. This could make the wood swell and cause cracking or the lifting of veneers. This type of damage needs professional attention.
  • Before attemping any repairs make sure you know what the surface finish of your piece is. If it's varnish, shellac or wax you could try the following steps
  • Make sure the surface is dust free.
  • Use a basic watercolour set and a sable brush. Do some test colours to find one that looks as if it will match. Try it on the underside of the piece (or some other area that can't be seen). The colour when wet will be the colour when waxed.
  • Avoid getting paint on the finish. Have a cloth ready to wipe off any stray spots of paints. You may want to go over the area again.
  • When it is fully dry (perhaps 1 hour), polish with beeswax polish and a lint-free cloth.

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