It is only a matter of time that in your woodworking endeavors you will ding or dent your project. In my case it was a clamp that had damaged the wood. There is no need to make a new piece or leave the dent in the project as added "character". Simply remove it. I have not tried this on finished projects but only bare or stained wood.
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Step 1: Find a Ding or Dent
On a recent project I didn't notice that one of my wood clamps was missing its protective pad. Upon removing the clamps I noticed a circular dent left from the clamp. Not a problem, a little steam to the rescue.
Step 2: Apply Water & Heat
Apply a small amount of water to the damaged area. It works best if you rub it in & let the wood soak it up a bit. Using a plain household iron, heat the water in the damaged area. The iron heats the water into steam and makes the wood fibers swell and expand. It will also raise the grain slightly. Repeat for deeper dents if necessary. Also, if you're not in a hurry like I was, you can place a damp paper towel or rag in between the iron & the wood to eliminate and water splatter.
Step 3: Sand the Wood
Steaming the wood will inevitably raise the grain of the surrounding wood. Sand the raised grain smooth with sanding pad or power sander. You can see from the before and after that this method works pretty darn well!