Woodworking Technique – Preparing the Surface

Dented surface repairing technique

One way to fix a dent in wood is to swell crushed wood fibers to their original shape. Turn a household iron to its highest setting and allow it to heat up. Meanwhile, soak a clean cloth in water, fold it over a few times and place it on the dent. Press the tip of the iron against the cloth over the dent, holding it in place until the cloth steams. The steam will swell the wood fibers, lifting out the dent. Add water to the cloth as necessary and avoid leaving the iron on the cloth for too long, which may scorch the wood.

Gluing an edge splinter

A small splinter on the edge of a work-piece can be glued in place, as long as it is still attached. Clamp the stock in a vise and squeeze some glue into the gap between the splinter and the wood, Then press the splinter into place and secure it with masking tape. Once the glue is dry, remove the tape and sand the repair flush with adjacent surfaces.

How to apply wood filler

Choose a filler that is compatible with the ingredients and color of the wood finish you will be applying. Use a putty knife to work the filler into the hole and overfill it slightly, then scrape off the excess to level it with the surrounding surface. Avoid spreading filler onto undamaged areas, where it may cause uneven coloring if a stain is applied.

Melting shellac stick with gun

Select a shellac stick of the appropriate color and set a soldering gun on low. Holding the stick over the hole, melt it with the tip of the gun. Drip enough of the product to fill the hole. While the filler is still soft, use a knife or a wood chisel to press it evenly into the damaged area. Work carefully to avoid marring the surrounding area with the knife or chisel blade. Allow the filler to cool. To level the filler with the surrounding surface, soak the bottom of a felt block with a small amount of commercial leveling solution and lightly rub the block back and forth across the repair. The slow- acting solvent in the solution dissolves excess filler without harming the wood.

How to apply shellac stick with a burn-in knife

Light the alcohol torch and hold the burn-in knife over the wick for several seconds. With the shellac stick over the damaged area, press the knife against the stick so that enough filler melts and drips into the hole. Reheat the knife as necessary until the hole is filled. Use the knife to spread the filler evenly. Finish the repair with leveling solution and a felt block.

How to use a glue gun to apply shellac stick

A glue gun offers a simple alternative to a burn-in knife or soldering gun for repairing damage with a shellac stick. Use a sharp knife to whittle a shellac stick so that it fits in the barrel of your glue gun. To melt the filler, pull the trigger as you would to apply glue, then drip the melted shellac stick onto the damaged area. Press the filler into the hole with a knife or wood chisel, and level it – using a felt block and leveling solution.

How to patch a larger hole

An effective way to mend a larger hole on a wood surface is to cut a patch and a matching mortise over the hole, then glue the patch in place. Using a cut-off scrap from the workpiece, or a piece of veneer with similar grain and color, cut a patch that is slightly larger than the hole. Give the patch a diamond shape, less conspicuous than a square or rectangular patch after the finish is applied. Use a wood chisel to bevel the edges of the bottom face of the patch, then sand both faces. Place the patch over the hole, aligning its grain with the surface grain, and mark its outline with a sharp pencil.

Chiseling the mortise

Secure the workpiece with a clamp if necessary. Select a wood chisel slightly narrower than the sides of the mortise to cut along the outline. Tilt the woodworking tool with its bevel facing up to produce an angle corresponding to that on the edges of the patch. Remove the remaining waste from the outline with the chisel bevel facing down. Periodically test – fit the patch in the mortise until the mortise is slightly shallower than the patch is thick.

Gluing down the patch

Spread some glue in the mortise and set the patch in place. Lay a piece of wax paper over the patch, then position a wood block on top. (The paper will keep the patch from adhering to the block.) If the patch is located where you cannot clamp it directly, set a board atop the block and clamp the ends to focus the clamping pressure on the patch. Work quickly to prevent the patch from absorbing moisture from the glue and swelling.

How to patch a damaged corner

A damaged corner is best repaired with a patch. If the edges of the break are ragged or sharp, use a wood chisel to cut a shallow, oval-shaped mortise with smooth edges around the damage Hold the chisel with the bevel facing down and work with the grain of the wood.

Cut a patch that roughly fits the mortise, then shape it with wood sandpaper or a chisel until it fits perfectly. Spread some glue in the mortise and set the patch in position, aligning its grain with that of the workpiece. Use masking tape to keep the patch in place while the glue dries. To level the patch with the surrounding surfaces, pare away the excess with the chisel. Cut with the grain, keeping the chisel bevel side up.

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