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First Aid for Furniture

February 5, 2014

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A little ding or scratch here or there is no reason to replace furniture pieces. The Old Farmer’s Almanac: Home Wisdom has some unusual, but quite effective, tips for how to fix your damaged furniture.

First Aid for Furniture

Hide minor scratches with a child’s crayon. Or try shoe polish, nut meats, linseed oil, iodine, or a felt-tip pen. Draw along the scratch, rub it with your finger, and polish with a soft cloth.

In many cases, a wet pad and a hot iron will raise a dent in wood. Before starting, remove surface wax so that the moisture will penetrate the wood and make it swell when you place the wet pad on the surface and iron it.

Treat white spots from water condensation, alcohol, or coffee with a fine abrasive such as fine steel wool or table salt and a lubricant. Rub the grain gently with the abrasive, then with mayonnaise, lard, cooking or salad oil, or petroleum jelly. When the white spots disappear, wax or polish the wood.

To remove burns, scrape away the charred material with a sharp, curved-blade knife. After reaching solid wood, smooth the surface with fine sandpaper or steel wool. Clean the debris, restain the wood if necessary, and fill the gouge. Use common paste wax or, for deeper gouges, build up the surface with plastic wood or stick shellac before polishing or waxing as usual.

For candle drips, wait until the wax hardens, then flick it off with a fingernail. Do not use a knife. To speed up hardening, wrap an ice cube in a clean cloth and hold it on the wax.

For more advice on an array of topics, check out The 2014 Old Farmer's Almanac!

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