Friday, February 22, 2008

Repairing Dents and Scratches In Wooden Country Rustic and Primitive Décor

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Repairing Dents and Scratches In Wooden Country Rustic and Primitive Décor

When it comes to dents and scratches in your Country Rustic and Primitive Décor, the first thing you need to do is ask yourself, “do I really want to repair this”. A large portion of the charm and uniqueness of these types of decorative items is the “Used and Worn Look” that they have developed over the years. You really need to consider this prior to making any repairs.

There are instances where repairs just must be made however and that is what we will look at today. This isn’t so much a “How To” type of posting as it is some basic principles that can be used to repair a wide variety of wooden items. There are just too many variables involved to be “piece specific” in this post. There are many tricks of the trade but we will focus on those the average home owner would normally be willing to tackle.

The most common repair that the reader will probably want to make is dealing with scratches. Usually most scratches on wood are not deep. Usually scratches only happen in the outer Finish Layer of the piece. Let’s look at these types of scratches first. I’ll discuss how to handle deep scratches in a minute.

Minor surface scratches can usually be repaired very quickly and simply. First, you have to determine what type of Finish the piece is. If the Finish is a Natural Oil Finish, and the scratch isn’t real large and noticeable, the quickest way to deal with it is simply by using a matching Oil Finish to go over the scratch. Once this is dry, a coat of wax is usually all that is needed. If the scratch is really light, a product called an “Almond Stick” can be used to simply run over it and the scratch will disappear. These little pieces of magic are not always easy to find. They can sometimes be found in hardware stores. Occasionally better quality furniture stores carry them. If neither of these work, try a cabinet makers supply outlet. They come in a light and dark color. Simply use the appropriate shade.

It is not usual for Country Rustic and Primitive home décor pieces to have a heavy gloss or semi-gloss varnish finish. If your piece does appear to have this type of finish and it is a true antique, the finish is probably either a multi-layered and dried Linseed Oil finish, a varnish or a built up hard wax finish. Linseed Oil will dry quite hard and with multiple coats can provide a very durable finish. One of the main reasons it isn’t used much these days is that it takes weeks for each coat to dry properly (depending on the drying conditions). If you do have a scratch in a Linseed Oil finish that must be repaired, you should take it to an expert. If however it is a varnish finish, you can take a very small brush (similar to a small artists brush) and simply fill the scratch with a high quality varnish. You will need to build up in layers and wipe off any excess varnish that you get on surfaces around the scratch. Let each layer dry and repeat until the scratch is filled. If the scratch is in a wax finish, you can melt a small amount of quality paste furniture wax and use the same process as with varnish to fill the scratch.

Dents in wooden item require different approaches depending on the size and depth of the dent and the type of wood itself. If you have a really deep dent, I strongly suggest you have an expert deal with it. You could very easily damage the piece if you don’t have the expertise to deal with it yourself. Minor dents can often be lifted back out with a steam iron. Simply place a cloth over the dented wood area and place a hot (not too hot) steam iron on top for a minute or two. The actually time required depends a great deal on the type (hardness) of wood and the depth of the dent. The steam will cause the wood fibers to swell and basically fill in the dent. Caution is the key word when using this process and I recommend you experiment on a piece of scrap wood first before you attack you actual piece. A little practice can go a long way in preventing damage to the actual piece you are planning on repairing.

The other most often addressed repair that might be needed is Re-gluing. Simply squirting some glue into a crack of separated piece can crate further problems for you. Using the wrong type of glue can actually cause further damage to the piece. Small cracks can often be repaired simply by injecting (with a syringe) a small amount of good woodworkers wood glue into the crack and clamping the crack closed tightly. If the crack is large, take it to an expert if you don’t feel comfortable addressing it.

Actual joints in any piece can usually be re-glued relatively simply with a good wood glue and clamps. There are some instances, depending upon the type of joint, wood and condition of the joint that will require more work. Sometimes, the old glue will need to be removed in order to make a proper repair. Sometimes a special type of glue must be used because of the condition of the wood. If this appears to be the case, see an expert.

Most minor repairs can usually be addressed by the average home owner but always remember that if you don’t feel comfortable doing it, Don’t.

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