How to Remove a Dent From Wood

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Introduction: How to Remove a Dent From Wood

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

Step 2: Steam the Wood

Put a dab of water on the affected area. Not too much. Just enough to cover the dent(s).

Cover it with your paper towel/rag. At this point, the water will wick through the material. That's fine.

Now, with your iron on its highest setting, hold it over the affected area and make small movements back and forth and in circles. Press down firmly and continue until your paper towel is dry. It won't take long to evaporate.

At this point, the wood fibers are absorbing the water and should expand back to where they were originally.

Continue this process and repeat by adding more water until the dents rise up to be flush with the rest of the material.

Step 3: Sand Smooth

At this point, the area around your dents should be pretty smooth. However, depending on the damage, you may still see an outline from where it was.

Use some sandpaper to go over the area lightly. It won't take much and you'll be able to get your piece back to looking like nothing ever happened to it!

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165 Comments

I used this method many years ago when I had a furniture store and it does work. But with furniture that has a clear finish on it , you will need to take a needle and poke several small holes so the steam can penetrate the clear finish. It does work.

1 reply

Great addition, many questions on this. I wish you could add this to the instructable somehow!

Awesome! I'll give it a try!

Fantastic, what a brilliant idea thank you one for the notebook

Thank you so much I now have a dent free sideboard what a great idea

Great! Do I assume that this will only work on unfinished - unwaxed/varnished? I feel one would have to remove a finish on a piece of furniture and then re-finish it after. Very useful to know. Thank you for sharing.

Very good! Extremely useful and simple.

WOW. Great fix. Thanks for sharing

Seems to me this would be great for unfinished wood. I have a hardwood floor with depressions left from moving a piano. I'm wondering if the finish on the floor would prevent the water from migrating into the woodgrain.

1 reply

Logic would suggest so. Most finishes, stains, or lacquers are oil-based or wax-based (or some other kind of petroleum distillate), which would inherently repel water once it's soaked into the wood grain at the cellular level. The only way to get around that would be to sand it down and go from there (but that's not practical).

Nice Instructable! Thanks for this!

Simple, yet effective

Does anyone have an idea for doing something similar to laminate "wood" 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.

4 replies

If the wood man made like fiber board rhen what happened is it broke down the glue inside. Dried and then the hold its shape the wood was swollen. Sometimes it made with glue that has a polyurethane in it. If possible try in a hidden area or if you have a extra peice to experiment with. You might need a solvent that will brake down the glue. But it might break down the laminate at the same time. I had the same problem on a pool table. It work with mineral spirits and an iron on as low as it would good.

I really do not think it would be a workable idea. The wood or paper fibers are compressed under a lot of pressure while the glue is drying. If I understood the people at HD correctly the water damages the glue and the fibers expand like a decompressing sponge.

Not sure if I understand this right but it would be the fake wood 2x4 things right?

If so I've just removed the piece(s) and replaced it with a new one from a hardware store.

can u plz share some imageS?