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Furniture Care: Removing Scratches **






Removing Furniture Scratches


Scratches are probably one of the most common problems with furniture and how you repair the damage depends on. . .
  • the depth of the scratch
  • how perfect you want the repair
  • the type of finish on the piece

For scratches that are not deep, you can use one of the repair pens available at most hardware stores. These come in different wood tones and are easy to use. All you do is just wipe the felt tip over the scratch leaving a deposit of the colored liquid in the scratch. Make sure you buy the shade closest to the furniture color and if you accidently apply too much 'repair' have a soft cloth handy to wipe off any excess.

Another option is to use layers of colored furniture wax, wiping on and polishing the layers until they are level with the surface. A quick fix is to apply a coat of Old English liquid wiping it into the scratch and then wiping off any excess. The only caution with Old English is that it is very dark so you would not want to use it on pine or any other light colored wood. Also, you do not want to use it on any furniture that does not have a hard finish, i.e, varnish, shellac, tung oil, etc. Doing so will cause the Old English to soak into the wood causing a stain.

There is another option for a scratch that does not go into the wood or stain but rather is only a surface scratch, that being French polish. This is a process for the professional or the seasoned fixer-upper that has had experience using this process. Once the process has been completed, you may find that the area will be duller than the surrounding area - but this is typically better than a scratch.


For scratches that have penetrated the surface and have gone into the stain, you'll find the process more complicated. You'll need to re-apply the stain and finish. To re-apply stain, the color must be matched which means a lot of mixing and testing. To test stain, try rubbing down to the wood on a part of the furniture that won't show your testing and apply small spots of stain until you have a match. Once you have the correct color, apply the stain in the direction of the grain, wipe off excess, allow stain to dry for 24 hours and then apply the finishing coat(s) or wax. This coat might be French polish, tung oil or varnish. We do not recommend using polyurethane.

You can find most of the products necessary to repair scratches at your local hardware.


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