How to Fix Damaged Surfaces of Wood Furniture

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January 19, 2017

How to Fix Damaged Surfaces of Wood Furniture - marking pen use in other areasWood is lovely, but at times it does not age well, or exposure makes the veneer or varnish suffer needlessly.

This page can help you revive that nice dresser or nightstand, not so that it regains its monetary value as much as that it still looks attractive in your home.


Total Time: 30 minutes to one hour


How to Fix Damaged Surfaces of Wood Furniture - small chest of drawers with bottle of oil soap, furniture pen, and rag on top

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  1. It is always a good idea to clean your furniture thoroughly with Murphy's Oil Soap before you begin. You can either buy the spray version, or dilute it one part to 3 parts water on a rag, then rub it on the wood.
  2. How to Fix Damaged Surfaces of Wood Furniture - pouring on oil soap

  3. Look for the marker that most complements your piece of furniture. Then, after your furniture has dried from the washing, simply draw on your wood! This can be a fun step for children to finish. It can also be helpful during this step to rub in the ink with a rag each time you draw on your piece of wood. It can also be helpful to draw over the same area multiple times.
  4. How to Fix Damaged Surfaces of Wood Furniture - covering damaged spots with marking pen
    How to Fix Damaged Surfaces of Wood Furniture - rubbing furniture marking pen color into wood
  5. Let it dry for a while. I would say, wait at least 5 minutes, because you don't want the ink to rub off in your next step.
  6. After the marker is all dry, then take equal parts olive oil and vinegar, shake them up really well in a jar, and rub it on the wood with a terry robe or other porous cloth.
  7. How to Fix Damaged Surfaces of Wood Furniture
    How to Fix Damaged Surfaces of Wood Furniture - cleaning surface with oil soap and cloth

  8. As you can see, it looks great! As good as new, when viewed in a certain light. As you can see in my photos, this really nice and pricey nightstand was worthless before the treatment. But now, unless you look at it up close, it looks as good as new. I also tried this treatment with 3 other nightstands and a rolling cart on this particular day, and the results were impressive each time.
  9. How to Fix Damaged Surfaces of Wood Furniture


March 26, 20179 found this helpful

thanks for this tutorial! i have some of those markers but was uncertain how they were used. it certainly looks like they make the furniture look MUCH better!

January 16, 202224 found this helpful

This is yet another example of someone giving out wrong information about "restoring" furniture. Used motor oil has a beautiful golden brown color, it does not mean you should rub it all over your furniture, either.OLIVE OIL, COCONUT OIL, SAFFLOWER OIL,MINERAL OIL, ANY NON DRYING OILS, DO NOT BELONG ON FURNITURE. If you rub oil into wood you are CONTAMINATING IT and rendering it unsuitable for actual, proven, proper restoration techniques developed over hundreds of years by people who actually know what they're doing!


Sure it'll probably look better for a little while, but it will not last and provides ZERO protection for the wood. Olive oil has fat in it, that can go rancid, grow mold, get sticky and attract dust, dirt, and even mice, rats and other vermin.Vinegar is Acetic acid, and will attack many finishes, softening them and causing more damage than it can "repair" I am a furniture restorer of 40+ years, and am so tired of fighting this misinformation all around the web

February 2, 20226 found this helpful

So can you tell us what you do use? That would be helpful. Ive used beeswax before on a Victorian dressing table. Ive used a Matt Varnish on a beautiful walnut desktop. Super pleased with both projects. Would love you to edify us.

November 6, 20224 found this helpful

The top need to be stripped and refinished with a stain that closely matches the rest of the piece, then finished with 2 coats of polyurethane. There are no shortcuts to fixing problems like this.

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