Furniture Repairs 05:12

Learn how to remove water marks, scratches & other damage from antiques.


Dogs sometimes enjoy a good chew on a bone, a toy or a piece of wood. Unfortunately, that piece of wood is sometimes a chair or table leg. Chew marks can ruin the look of the furniture and in some cases its structural integrity. You don't need to be an artist or a professional repairperson to make the furniture look a lot better. We repaired the lower spinals on a set of dining room chairs for little money and a few basic techniques.

Step 1

Take a Look at the Before

Step 2

Prep the Damaged Area

Next, "score" the damaged area by cutting small hatch marks diagonally across the chew marks (you can also use "X" type cuts). Hold the utility knife blade as shown in Image 1. It is better not to use the blade in the utility knife holder; you will have a lot more control if you don't. Place masking tape over the end of the blade to make it more comfortable on your fingers. Secure the blade firmly between your thumb and pointer finger, and scrape away any frayed edges of wood that stick out from the surface.

Step 3

Apply Filler

Follow the manufacturer's instructions for mixing the auto-body filler (we used Bondo brand). You will probably have to do a few applications to build up the area so that it will be flush with the surrounding area. Don't mix too much of the filler at once, as each application will set up and dry in about five minutes. NOTE: Only take on one damaged area at a time. It's best to repeat all the steps on each area that has been chewed.

Auto-body filler is a two-part epoxy. Use a small putty knife to mix it thoroughly (30 seconds) on a paper plate. Once you have enough filler covering the chewed area, let it dry to the touch, but don't wait too long — it should not completely harden or it will be difficult to carve off the excess. Slide a knife blade across the surface to slice off the extra filler and to roughly reshape the area that was damaged. It does not have to be exact; you can sand it down to the final shape.

Step 4

Sand Smooth

Use 150-grit sandpaper to smooth out the filled area. Blend the edges where the filler meets the non-damaged area. Sand some of the non-damaged area as well to feather it all together. Switch to the finer 220-grit sandpaper to finish it up.

Step 5

Fill In the Fine Holes

Use wax fill stick crayons to color over the top of the sanded area. Some of the crayon will attach itself to the filler and the wood. Use thick paper (we used a business card) to rub the wax into the small pore holes or irregularities. The paper will push the wax in and remove the access from the surface at the same time. At this point you should have a smooth surface. Check with your fingertip: run it lightly over the area to feel for areas that might need more attention.

Step 6

Add Color

Mix brown-tone acrylic paint with a little white if needed to lighten, and black if you need to darken the color. Red, yellow and orange may also help achieve the correct wood tone. The first color you brush on will be the base color; this should be a middle tone of all the colors that make up the finish. Next, mix up a couple different tones, some lighter and some darker, to apply "grain" streaks in the area. Remember, you are trying to trick they eye into believing the area is wood, so take your time and be sure to layer the colors for a more realistic appearance.

Step 7



Clear Coat

When the acrylic paint is dry, spray two or more even coats of clear lacquer over the area. It is better to spray in light coats so the lacquer won't run. A trick to matching the sheen is to start with a sheen that is slightly shinier than you need. After it dries, rub the area with 000 steel wool to bring down the sheen to the desired shininess. Be careful not to rub through the clear coat and into the color layer.