Tips for Restoring Furniture
Even furniture with water marks, vacuum-cleaner nicks, scratches or damaged veneer can look like new without too much trouble.
For water marks and scratches, try wiping on mayonnaise. The oils will help lift the water mark and restore the wood to its former color. If that doesn't work, try lemon oil and 0000-grade steel wool.
Wipe with the grain, using light pressure to smooth out scratches and bring back the color. If the water mark still won't come out, refinish the wood or take the furniture to a professional.
If a piece of veneer comes loose, cut and install a new piece, using wood glue. When the piece is in place, sand and stain it to match the furniture.
For large gouges, splice a piece of veneer onto the furniture. It may be necessary to take the piece to a professional for this level of work.
If metal drawer pulls look dull and tarnished, clean them with fine steel wool or a polishing compound. Remove the pulls, and polish them to a shine. Apply varnish to keep them looking good.
For light scratches, stain the wood to match the rest of the furniture. Check with a home-improvement center for the proper color, and apply the stain with a detail paintbrush. After the stain dries, apply a paste wax to seal it.