How to fix a broken wooden headboard

Updated February 21, 2017

Wooden headboards, like any furniture pieces, can be damaged over time. A headboard made from a quality hardwood can be salvaged from almost any damage it may incur through regular wear and tear. The repair process includes stripping the wood finish, filling in scratches and dents, gluing split or broken parts, and refinishing the wood surface.

Place the wooden headboard on a work surface. Apply wood stripper and remove the finish as directed on the stripper container.

Sand the headboard with an orbital sander. Sand the detailed areas of the headboard with a detail sander.

Identify areas that must be patched with wood filler. Push a scratch awl into the wood around any dents or scratches that require filling. The holes allow the filler to adhere to the wood surface effectively.

Use a putty knife to fill in any scratches or dents with wood filler. Allow the filler to harden according to its directions. Sand the filled areas smooth.

Spread the wooden parts that have cracks or splits. Apply wood glue liberally to the inside wood surfaces of the splits or cracked parts. Clamp the parts that are cracked and wipe off any glue that oozes out. Allow the glue to dry as directed. Remove the clamps and sand the glued areas until they're smooth.

Apply a wood finish to match the other parts of the bed frame. Allow the finish to dry.


Inspect the condition of the bed frame and make any necessary repairs. Screws and bolts often come loose over time. Tighten any loose hardware.


Follow safety precautions as directed on the wood stripping solvent. Wear eye and face protection when sanding.

Things You'll Need

  • Wood stripper
  • Orbital sander
  • Detail sander
  • Scratch awl
  • Wood filler
  • Putty knife
  • Wood glue
  • Clamps
  • Damp rag
  • Wood finish
  • Poly brush
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About the Author

Jonah Morrissey has been writing for print and online publications since 2000. He began his career as a staff reporter/photographer for a weekly newspaper in upstate New York. Morrissey specializes in topics related to home-and-garden projects, green living and small business. He graduated from Saint Michael's College, earning a B.A. in political science with a minor in journalism and mass communications.