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After moving some furniture, I inevitably damaged some of it by dropping a heavy tool on it. I'm going to show you the technique I used to fix it and remove the dent without using wood filler.

This technique works great for wood floors and dining room tables, too.

I did this at TechShop.

Step 1: What you'll need

The trick is pretty simple. We're going to use an iron to steam the dent out of the wood.

You'll need the following:
  • An iron
  • Paper towel. I used a shop towel but an old t-shirt or rag will work, too
  • Water
<p>I seriously just had this idea in my head, since a wet glass or mug makes an expanded ring on wood... could you just add water to a dent? <br><br>And this page had the answer! Thanks!</p>
<p>What a great fix! Thanks</p>
<p>Thank You. I'll remember this if I find an old piece of furniture with this type of damage.</p>
<p>Centuries old.</p><p>The water swells the fibres, the heat speeds it up - amazing</p>
<p>awesome tutorial. I have used this many times to remove dents from gun stocks. many times if the wood fibers area not torn then you do not have to sand. thanks for the guide.</p>
<p>Also, you do not ALWAYS need heat. Many times I have removed small dents from bare maple by just dabbing some saliva on it. Within an hour, the dent is gone. If the dent is small, try this first before applying heat.</p>
<p>question: can I use heat gun instead iron. Thanks. </p>
<p>This is ingenious!!! Thank you so much!)</p>
<p>This is ingenious!!! Thank you so much!)</p>
<p>That's a new one for me. Thanks!</p>
<p>Will this work on pre-finished hardwood floors? Thanks!</p>
<p>This technique will work on prefinished wood floors; you will need to gently scrape away the finish (polyurethane, varnish, etc.) in the dent until the wood fibers are exposed. I find a scalpel-type exacto blade works really well for getting into the tight spots of dents.</p><p>This technique will also work on prefinished composite flooring IF the dent does not run deeper than the surface material and the surface material has not been pressure- impregnated (stabilised with resin). Hope this helps. :D</p>
<p>Rich idea.</p>
<p>wow</p>
My part-time job during college years in the 1970s was in a piano factory, where we used this technique routinely. The last steps before applying stain and finish to the piano wood tops, sides, and other panels were light hand-sanding of sharp edges and inspection for flaws. Stray wood chips caught between stacked boards might cause dents in the wood surface. We would apply a drop of water to a small dent with a moistened finger tip (don't use more water than necessary), then touch a hot iron to it (like pressing a shirt). The compressed wood fibers would swell and dry, and another light sanding made the dent disappear. This worked on solid and veneered surfaces. <br><br>Larger dents would be a problem, as would finished surfaces. The hot iron and the sanding will almost certainly damage the finish. Practice on a scrap piece of lumber (or maybe the bottom of the table or the hidden corner of a closet for wood flooring) before tackling a highly visible dent.
<p>Will this work on pre-finished hardwood floors? Thanks!</p>
<p>HA! I just did this yesterday on a piece of wood my wife wanted to use for crafts.<br>Works like a charm as long as the &quot;dent&quot; is not too deep.</p>
<p>Question: Will this work with a painted surface?? I have a dented piece of trim on my fireplace.........</p>
<p>What did you do? Set the iron down and go to sleep? ]:o)</p>
This saved my life today...just the iron and a wet cloth worked...thanks so much! I almost spent 100.00 on a new coffee table.
<p>I think I'll use this for my sisters floor, but I have a question: how much can you depend on this? ~&gt; Is the repaired area easily damaged again? </p>
<p>Thanks for this! Lifesaver :)</p>
<p>Cant wait to try this! The floor of our rental unit is such soft wood our chairs have left marks. So relieved I will actually be getting back my full deposit!</p>
<p>It works fine, but you have to be careful on surfaces that have a finish on them.. </p>
<p>Would you recommend this method on a veneer table top?</p>
<p>I have been working with veneer for many years now and it is only about 1/42nd of an inch thick. We use this method all the time even on scratches, it does not always work because the wood is so thin. Old funtiture might have a much thicker veneer and a glue that might not hold up to the steam but modern glues should hold up fine to it. The modern glues are applied with around 200F degrees heat to dry the glue in a fraction of the time. You still might want to test it out on the bottom or your table though. The key to using an iron is that you have to keep it moving like the article says or it can burn the wood. On a horizontal surface you can get the rag wet, ring out the water and then iron that but most finishes will not allow the moisture through. When doing this on a finished dent you can take a razor knife and cut some slits into the wood where the dent is. Make sure you use light pressure so the slits are not too wide. </p>
<p>Never on Veneer. Veneer is a very thin piece of stained wood that is glued on the surface of furniture. If u steam or get this veneer wet, it will peel right off the object you are working on. I believe veneer is about 1/4-inch thick or less maybe 1/8-inch thick, I have had veneer just break off some old old furniture that I owned at one time. Don't do it you will wind up crying. over the disaster. </p>
<p>Does it work with parquet? It would be really useful</p>
<p>I would be careful with using it on parquet. You could experiment on parquet section from hardware or flooring store. It might be ok but when I was taught to do this, the wood did expand and take out the dent, but it over-expanded (too much water), swelling above the level of the surface slightly so it had to be sanded back smooth. Gave a great finish though, after it was resurfaced and lacquered. No trace of mark.</p>
<p>wow good idea this is fantastic</p>
<p>this is fantastic&hellip; I have a wooden box I got for christmas that has a ding in it from shipping, I am going to try this in hopes to make it perfect again&hellip; thank you so much. I HOPE it really is that simple, I didn't want to sand away to get the box looking unmarred - and end up ruining the finish </p>
<p>Excelent</p>
<p>Does anyone have an idea for doing something similar to laminate &quot;wood&quot; flooring that got damp and the fiber/paper swelled at the edges creating a series of humps at each joint in an area? I tried using an iron on highest setting just to see if it would melt the surface. Even with 100+ lbs pressure I couldn't compress the edges down. Has anyone tried it with steam? I don't want to add to the problem and make the ridges even more prominant. It is right in front of the fireplace so don't suggest covering with a rug.</p>
<p>D+</p>
<p>My father was a carpenter, he tought me this technique when I was a child. If the dent is small it is not necessary to use an iron, it is possible to make the dent rise up simply by wetting the dent and wait until the water dry. If necessary apply some more water and newly leave it dry. Finally it could be better to sand a little to recover the smoothness of the surface.</p>
<p>Thanks for the tip, it really works!!</p>
<p>The last time I was in a retail furniture outlet I happened to ask the salesperson about the finishing technique. He explained to me that the last step in the manufacturing process is for a man to beat the piece with a chain ... the customers like the effect and pay extra for it ...</p>
<p>Withyou til the sandpaper. After you sandpaper the dent flat you have to refinish the entire surface!</p>
<p>maybe the wet towel and the iron on a cabinet door would work well, not looking for perfection, i live in a rental...just trying to make the rental look better</p>
<p>I had the iron too hot and burned my whole house down. The only thing that wasn't destroyed was the dent.</p>
<p>Awesome, I do a lot of painting/drawing on wood that other people have thrown away (old kitchen tables, old fence boards, broken doors etc.) so this will definitely come in handy.</p>
<p>Removing dents this way works well. But there is another use for steaming &quot;dents&quot; or &quot;punches&quot; in certain kinds of wood. Many years ago I &quot;carved&quot; a piece of wood by &quot;punching&quot; in the design using various shaped punches, each punch to about the same depth. Then I sanded the entire piece of wood's surface flush to the tops of the punches. Then steam-ironed the wood, raising the &quot;punches&quot; above the surface ... a neat experiment that worked well, and somewhat easier than carving.</p>
<p>I don't know where you live but I doubt it's Florida. Never met anyone who cared about 'doing it right' even if they could afford it. Just git er done. Shame, but true.</p>
I live in Florida, and I agree with you. I don't know why, but I have seen people who will rig anything, just to get it done. No one cares about doing it right.
<p>I too live in Florida, and I'll tell you, you are just not looking in the right place. I have been in the carpentry trade for 37 years and strive to do everything right and I DO care...</p><p>Having said that, if you are hiring the cheapest guy you can find... well, there's your problem... just sayin'....</p>
<p>Are you folks kidding .... doing it right is the way that no body want to pay for ... do it quick and it will cost you 1/4 to 1/2 the price.</p>
<p>There are three things that everybody wants, they want a change to be</p><p>Quick</p><p>Effective and</p><p>Cheap</p><p>Let me tell you, you can have any TWO, but not all three.</p><p>So, Quick and cheap, won't be effective ( sell it as soon as the paint is dry)</p><p>Quick and effective, WONT be cheap ( but it's a family heirloom ?)</p><p>Effective and cheap, WONT be quick ( How much time are you prepared to put into this ?)</p><p>So, you pay your money and you take your choice....</p>
As a carpenter I've used this method for years, and it's really effective! Can't always totally remove badly scarred wood, and it won't &quot;re-grow&quot; chips /splinters that are missing, but it's like magic to pull out dents.

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