How to repair a scratched coffee table

Written by chelsea fitzgerald
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How to repair a scratched coffee table
The shiny, unmarred finish of a wood coffee table adds elegance to a room. (Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images)

A scratch on a coffee table or other wood furniture is unsightly and makes it look old and worn out, detracting from the beauty of the wood surface. Often, the scratch is lighter than the wood, thus making it noticeable. Repairing the scratch will effectively save the coffee table from being relegated to the junk pile. You do not have to use costly wood refinishing kits in order to repair the scratch. Depending on the size and depth of the gouge, you can disguise it effectively and quickly with ordinary household products.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Feather duster
  • Nut cracker
  • Black walnut, pecan or Brazil nut
  • Soft cleaning cloths
  • Furniture polish
  • Rubber gloves
  • 2-quart clean metal can or old double boiler
  • Measuring spoon
  • Turpentine
  • Boiled linseed oil

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    Nut Meat Method

  1. 1

    Dust the surface of your coffee table to provide a clean surface and allow the nut meat to stain the wood surface.

  2. 2

    Remove the shell from a Brazil nut, black walnut or pecan with a nut cracker.

  3. 3

    Break the nut meat in half.

  4. 4

    Rub the nut meat over the scratch on your wood coffee table. Move the nut back and forth with the wood grain. The nut stains the scratch so it is no longer visible.

  5. 5

    Wipe off any residue left from the nut meat with a soft cloth. Polish your coffee table in your normal fashion.

    Wood Restoration Method

  1. 1

    Dust the entire surface and legs of the coffee table.

  2. 2

    Put on rubber gloves to protect your hands from the hot solution.

  3. 3

    Pour 1 pint hot water, 1 tbsp turpentine and 1 1/2 tbsp boiled linseed oil into a clean metal can or old double boiler. The solution works best if kept hot.

  4. 4

    Dip a cleaning cloth into the solution and wring it out well.

  5. 5

    Rub the cloth over an area no larger than 1 or 2 feet. Wet the cloth, wring it out and continue rubbing until the section is clean. This solution restores the oils, adds shine and effectively disguises any scratches in the wood surface.

  6. 6

    Buff the section with a clean, soft cloth once the area is clean. Boiled linseed oil becomes tacky after a while, therefore, it is important to wipe any remaining solution before continuing onto another section. Continuing cleaning and drying the coffee table one section at a time until all the wood is restored.

Tips and warnings

  • Rubbing the scratch with a coordinating colour of shoe polish cream is another effective way to repair minor scratches in wood.
  • Boiled linseed oil is available at hardware, discount or home supply stores.

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