How to fix chipped wood furniture is easier said than done. If you have the same sentiment, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’re sharing tips on fixing chipped wood furniture, mainly how to repair veneer before painting. Additionally, these tricks also work for a lot of furniture repairs.
Most antique furniture was made with real wood with blemishes but was made beautiful using a thin layer of expensive, pretty wood- the veneer.
A veneer is glued onto the less pretty wood to make it look like it was made of expensive wood. Today, this practice continues with manufactured furniture, but the wood under the veneer is often made from low-quality wood.
Notable Details about the Furniture
The sheen, texture, and appearance distinguish the laminate and wood veneer. Laminate is very slick and shiny with no natural wood grain since it’s basically plastic. Wood veneer, however, has texture, and it isn’t as smooth or shiny as laminate is.
Over time the wood veneer can get water damage, or the glue holding the veneer to the wood can become crumbly, making the veneer come loose. When this happens, it starts to lift away from the wood, making it easy for the veneer to chip and crack. This is where your knowledge on how to fix chipped wood furniture comes in handy.
What You’ll Need when Fixing Wooden Furniture
- Bondo or Wood Putty
- Utility Knife
- Wood Filler
How to Fix Chipped Wood Furniture:
- The first step on how to fix chipped wood furniture is to glue down or strip off all of the loose veneers.
- Mix up Bondo, or your chosen wood putty, and spread it immediately over the missing veneer.
- Let the putty dry for approximately 30 minutes.
- Sand the Bondo down until smooth.
- Apply a second coat of putty or fill in small blemishes with wood filler.
- Painting or refinishing your furniture is the last step you need to do on how to fix chipped wood furniture.
What is a Wood Putty?
Wood putty, or most commonly known as plastic wood, is used to fill imperfections, such as nail holes and chips in the wood before finishing. It is often made of wood dust combined with a binder that dries and a diluent or thinner, sometimes even pigment. Wood putty is a ready-to-use product with various pigments to complement ay wood color. Wood putty saves you time when doing how to fix chipped wood furniture.
Aside from a wood putty, you can also use other wood fillers such as Bondo. However, Bondo requires a quick mix of a golf ball size base with about an inch long of hardener. After 5 minutes of mixing, it will become a bit hard to work with. And after about 30 minutes, Bondo will completely harden.
How long does it take for wood putty and Bondo to dry?
For Bondo, the drying time depends on the weather and how much hardener you mix into the base. But typically, it should be hard enough that you can’t spread it after 5 minutes.
On the other hand, wood putty does not require drying time. But curing for both takes an extra 20-30 minutes. After which, you’re ready to sand it down.
How to sand the wood putty?
If you can, sand the putty down with a power sander and 220 grit sandpaper. The power sander works best on a flat surface like the side of a dresser. If you opt to sand wood putty manually, start with more coarse grit sandpaper like 100 grit or 120 grit to quickly remove the excess. Then work up to 220 grit sandpaper to get a nice smooth repair.
For sanding by hand, use reliable sandpaper since the cheaper ones tend to tear and lose their grit way too fast.
If you’re repairing a piece of furniture with details that are hard to reach, or areas where a power sander can’t get, you can use a utility knife.
About 5 minutes after you have put the putty onto wood, use a utility knife to shave off the excess and shape the wood putty. Once its dry and hard (about 30 minutes later), sand the rest of the putty down, so it’s smooth and seamless.
Do I need to apply a second coat?
If there aren’t many blemishes, you are just fine to move onto the next step. But oftentimes, especially when using the Bondo, it leaves air bubbles or small areas that need to be filled in to make the damage disappear entirely.
You can either spread another thin coat of Bondo on or use a wood filler upon completing how to fix chipped wood furniture. Once the filler is dry, sand it down until smooth again. Here’s how to learn more about wood furniture care.
The amount of trouble you’ll have when fixing chipped wood furniture depends on how deep and extensive the chips are. Small dents in the finish aren’t much trouble at all, especially if the finish is a lacquer, commonly used as a finishing material. On the other hand, when part of the wood is missing, the repair becomes a little tedious. If you managed to save the chipped-off piece, you can glue it back and sand it, but if that piece is gone, you then go ahead and use a filler and apply appropriate coloring to mask it.