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How to Remove Scratches From a Glossy Table

Updated February 21, 2017

Keeping tables in prime condition can be a difficult task. They receive a lot of daily wear and tear, and it's easy to scratch them. If your table has a glossy finish, then you may have to fix the damage to the finish as well as any damage to the wood underneath it. The method you need to employ to fix the scratch depends on the severity of the scratch.

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  1. Wet a cleaning rag with paint thinner and use it to scrub the table around the scratches. This will remove the wax and furniture polish build-up that can accumulate on tables over time, making the subsequent repair easier. If the table has no such build-up, then you can skip this step.

  2. Dip the steel wool into the oil and then into your chosen abrasive. Use motor oil, paraffin oil or boiled linseed oil. Polish the table around the scratch with the steel wool, rubbing back and forth with the grain of the wood. Continue polishing until the scratch wears away.

  3. Polish the rest of the table in the same fashion. Abrading the finish will likely remove some of the glossiness, giving the abraded spot more of a satin look. Polishing the rest of the table until it all matches your repair will ensure that the repaired spot does not stand out.

  4. Wipe the oil and abrasive off the table with a clean rag. Polish the table with furniture wax or lemon oil.

  5. Hold the wax stick above the scratch in the wood. Apply the flame of the lighter to the wax stick so that the molten wax drips into the scratch. Use a barbecue lighter, which is much longer than a cigarette lighter, so that you do not burn yourself.

  6. Heat the edge of the spatula with the lighter. Work the wax into the scratch with the spatula so that the wax completely fills the crack and remains level with the table surface. Scrape any excess wax off the top with the razor blade.

  7. Apply shellac to the repair, so that the other finishes will have something to adhere to. Let it dry and then apply varnish or other desired finish that matches the rest of your table.

  8. Tip

    Use crayons as a cheap alternative to a wax stick. Melt different colours together to match your table's colour. As an alternative to the oil and abrasive treatment, mix equal parts lemon juice and salad oil.

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Things You'll Need

  • Rags
  • Paint thinner
  • Steel wool
  • Motor oil, paraffin oil or boiled linseed oil
  • Pumice or whiting (to act as an abrasive polish)
  • Furniture wax or lemon oil
  • Barbecue lighter
  • Wax stick colour matched to your table's wood
  • Small spackle spatula
  • Razor blade
  • Shellac
  • Varnish and/or other finishes to match table finishes

About the Author

Jason Thompson has been self-employed as a freelance writer since 2007. He has written advertisements, book and video game reviews, technical articles and thesis papers. He started working with Mechanical Turk and then started contracting with individuals and companies directly via the Web.

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