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How to Repair Chipped Furniture Finish

Updated February 21, 2017

Whether you ran into your wood furniture with the vacuum or the kids knocked it over when they were playing, the chips created in the furniture's finish are unsightly blemishes. Chips typically puncture through the lacquered, varnished or shellacked wood, exposing the lighter coloured, natural wood beneath. These types of chips also expose the raw wood to moisture, making your furniture vulnerable to water damage. Repair wood chips to restore the appearance and preserve the physical condition of your furniture, using matching wood putty.

Smooth down any frayed wood from the chipped area with 220-grit sandpaper.

Clean the repair area with a cloth dampened in white spirit. Let the white spirit evaporate.

Pick up a small amount of coloured wood putty on the end of a plastic putty knife. Force the putty into the chip. Level it off so the putty is just higher than the wood's surface, to account for shrinkage during drying.

Allow the putty to dry for the time indicated on the label directions. Add another layer of putty if the surface of the putty shrinks below the wood's surface.

Sand the patched area smooth with 320-grit sandpaper.

Wipe down the area with white spirit to remove any dust left from sanding.

Draw in lines of wood grain, if necessary, using a wood-grain pencil.

Paint over the patch with clear wood finish, using a small, round brush.

Things You'll Need

  • 220-grit sandpaper
  • 320-grit sandpaper
  • Cloth
  • White spirit
  • Wood putty
  • Putty knife
  • Wood-grain pencil
  • Wood finish
  • Small, round brush
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About the Author

Mason Howard is an artist and writer in Minneapolis. Howard's work has been published in the "Creative Quarterly Journal of Art & Design" and "New American Paintings." He has also written for art exhibition catalogs and publications. Howard's recent writing includes covering popular culture, home improvement, cooking, health and fitness. He received his Master of Fine Arts from the University of Minnesota.