Repairing Scratches on Wood Furniture

Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 181 Posts
October 6, 2010

Repairing Scratches on Wood FurnitureTo cover scratches on wood furniture, rub a matching color crayon into the scratch and smooth with the fingers. Heat and oil from your finger will blend in the crayon. Alternatively, cover with petroleum jelly overnight. Rub in well, remove excess and buff.


To fix light scratches or blemishes on walnut, rub the scratch with a piece of walnut or pecan meat, then wax with the product you normally use.

For mahogany, rub the scratch with a dark brown crayon or a brown commercial wax product, then buff with your fingers, then a cloth.

For red mahogany, apply ordinary iodine with a small brush and wax with the product you normally use.

For maple, add iodine to denatured alcohol to get the right color and apply with a q-tip, then dry, wax and buff.

For ebony, use black shoe polish, black eyebrow pencil or black crayon.

For teak, rub very gently with 0000 steel wool. Rub in equal amounts of linseed oil and turpentine.

By Ron from Cortez, CO

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Silver Post Medal for All Time! 297 Posts
August 13, 2010

For furniture scratches, rub the meat of the walnut (no shell!) over any scratches or nicks. Test the method on a less visible area to be sure it doesn't darken the wood.


November 22, 2004

Use shoe polish (paste or wax-based) to touch up nicks and scratches on door frames and furniture. It's quick and easy to use, and when rubbed in really makes the scratch seem to disappear. By Kathy


September 4, 2008

A couple days ago I was given a lovely old dresser, oak I think. Unfortunately it got scratched in a couple tiny spots in the move. I didn't have any kind of scratch cover on hand.


Bronze Tip Medal for All Time! 86 Tips
December 11, 2012

Rub a walnut on damaged wooden furniture to cover up scratches.


August 21, 2007

I bought a nice oak look cabinet at a thrift store for my redecorated bathroom but it had some scratches and nicks. At the dollar store, I bought a bottle of brown liquid shoe wax and with a cotton ball went gently over the nicks, scratches and worn spots.



Here are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community.

August 16, 2007

I have a coffee table that is a dark wood finish. It was given to me by my husband's mother, not exactly sure how old it is. It is starting to loose its shiny service and upon that my son decided to play on it and has made several scratches on the surface. How can I bring back the shine and make the scratches at least a little less noticeable.

Lisa from Vacaville, CA


August 16, 20070 found this helpful

They have wood coloring that comes in crayon form at hardware stores to put on the scratches. Just match to the color of your wood. Then you can put the shin back in several ways. To just put a shine on you can get linseed oil or a paste wax and rub into the wood. To put a protection on the table you can polyurithan(not sure I spelled right) or for a heavy protection you can put epoxy coating on the table, these take a little longer to set and dry but if you have the time it may be worth it in the long run to keep the table longer.



By joan (Guest Post)
August 16, 20070 found this helpful

The best thing I have found for your problem is a liquid called Old English Scratch cover. It comes for light or dark wood. Follow bottle directions and I think you will be very happy with the new finish. After, simply shine it with furniture wax. I love Behold.

August 17, 20070 found this helpful

I agree with Joan, Old English works wonders on the scratches and there is Johnson's Mini Wax go to your local Lowe's store and ask the person in the paint dept. what would restore the lustre back. I hope i have been helpful to you.

August 18, 20070 found this helpful

I got paint stain markers from walmart that matched the wood colors of my furniture. They worked perfectly. The come in alot of shades too.

By Anna from Maine (Guest Post)
August 18, 20070 found this helpful

Use Old English to blend the color then take dark shoe polish (Kiwi is one, it is the wax type) rub all over the table then buff well with a soft cloth. I used to do upholstery work and this remedy worked very well for me. You can build up the wax shoe polish over the scratches so they don't show.

By Carol in PA (Guest Post)
August 19, 20070 found this helpful

Old English scratch cover is the best way to repair your table. I'd apply it all over the whole table. This method is tried and true.

On HGTV's Design Remix, the host talks about a product called "furniture restorer." I'm not sure what that is, but would like to find out. Years ago we had a product called Liquid Gold that was said to restore furniture to its original luster.


But, I have used Old English Scratch Cover (for dark wood) and have had success. I always keep it on hand for touchups when needed. Your furniture will look like new.

By Claudia-MD (Guest Post)
August 20, 20070 found this helpful

I agree on the Old English scratch cover. I have antique mix&max dining room chairs and using this stuff covers any little nicks or scratches and makes them shine with a rich glow. Great stuff and inexpensive. A bottle will last you for years.

By Alma (Guest Post)
June 14, 20080 found this helpful

Does anyone know how to repair damage done by acetone? I accidentally dropped nail polish remover on my new coffee table and caused damaged. It looks awful! Any help would be appreciated.

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March 1, 2010

I've just purchased a second hand table. In transport it was scratched by accident. It's a clear varnished maple coloured table. The scratches are white and quite deep. Does anyone have any ideas how to cover them? Thanks.

By dolly123 from UK


Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 186 Feedbacks
March 2, 20100 found this helpful

You can buy some kind of sticks in different colors that if you can find one in an identical color or close to it, you can use that to fill in the scratch. On dark furniture nothing beats the dark Old English polish.

March 3, 20100 found this helpful

Any store that sells paint and stain sells the touchup filler sticks and touchup stain markers right in the same area as the wood stains usually. I like to cut a sliver of the filler crayon off with a smooth polished putty knife and wipe it onto the scratch that way. Then hold the polished face of the putty knife blade firmly down on the damage and rub the filler into the scratch.


Put some more filler into the scratch if you didn't get enough the first time. Then scrape off the smears with a sharp plastic spatula or the edge of a credit card. Then polish the area with a dry soft cloth to remove the remaining smears.


Silver Post Medal for All Time! 306 Posts
March 3, 20100 found this helpful

If the underside of the table is finished and has any scratches I would try my repairs there first until I liked my results. If there isn't a scratch, I might even make one where it doesn't show if I really like the table. You would hate to ruin the table by getting the wrong color that shows worse than the scratch. Not to scare you but a voice of experience.


Maple is a white wood so that is normal that the scratches are white. If a leg would come off the table, take it to a good paint department for aid in choosing your stain or wax sticks. I would also apply a varnish over the complete tabletop when the repairs are done. I prefer Minwax polyurethene. Good luck.


Bronze Request Medal for All Time! 65 Requests
April 30, 20100 found this helpful

I have really old unfinished wood floors all through my home. We can't afford to refinish them right now, but I got two great ideas that really work, from this site.

1- plain mineral oil cleaned the wood well and hid scratched.
2- Liquid Gold acted like a small miracle in our house. It made the wood warmer looking, shined, hid scratch mark. I won't be without it.


However, if you have a real antique work real money, I'd take it to a professional. It would be an investment. Good Luck!

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April 29, 2008

Best way to remove scratch from an oak table top?

Jerry from Lee's Summit, MO


Silver Feedback Medal for All Time! 290 Feedbacks
April 29, 20080 found this helpful

You can't really remove the scratch, but you can fill it in the so it will blend with the rest of the wood. Use a crayon which is a close match to the oak table top. Gently melt the crayon to soften it and apply over the scratch, then buff with a soft cloth.

It really works!


Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 168 Feedbacks
April 30, 20080 found this helpful

You might try lightly sanding it if the scratch isn't deep and apply a matching oak stain over the entire table top. I worked out a sizeable scratch on an old cherry sewing machine cabinet and then restained over the drawer and you couldn't tell it was ever scratched and I used an electric sander. If you try this out, you will need a protective finish.

By Cathy from Townsville (Guest Post)
May 1, 20080 found this helpful

Go to your hardware store or French Polisher and get special crayons that are made for just that problem. Don't use the 'rub it with a shelled walnut' tip if it comes up, I've tried it and it's a myth!

May 2, 20080 found this helpful

Try Old English scratch remover. Gary dominicus

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August 19, 2010

How can I get rid of small scratches on my dark wooden table?

By Ginseng from England


August 19, 20100 found this helpful

Try a dark brown crayon-same your furniture.

August 23, 20100 found this helpful

I have successfully used brown shoe polish, both solid and liquid.

August 24, 20100 found this helpful

I use the meat of the walnut. Not the shell but the walnut itself.

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January 3, 2011

How do you fix scratches on a coffee table?

By Helen Bra


January 6, 20110 found this helpful

If this is a stained and finished wood surface you can sand down and refinish the table or the use the product - "Liquid Gold" which is a kind of furniture polish that minimizes scratches. You might also try using wood filler and stain the filler to match. I have never tried it but I have been told by furniture restorers that you can add the stain to the wood filler. But if this is not a wood surface (ie has the laminate) you can use a product called "Furniture Touch Ups!". It will not repair but will minimize the visible scratch. You can also tell your sister that scratches add to the value of a piece of furniture when it becomes an antique. That "aged" look.

Good Luck!

January 6, 20110 found this helpful

I mix a little hot water with some instant coffee, making a paste. Then rub on the scratches and rub in well. Let dry. It will match walnut wood perfectly.

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September 13, 2018

This is a page about covering up nicks and scratches on wood. In addition to store bought scratch repair items, you can try instant coffee and crayons to try covering up scratches and nicks on your furniture.

A row of crayons.


ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

January 3, 2011

How can I remove a couple scratches on a dark wood table?


August 19, 2010

An antique dealer told me this useful trade secret for covering up light scratches on dark wood furniture.


August 19, 2010

An antique dealer told me this useful trade secret for covering up light scratches on dark wood furniture.


July 16, 2010

I put a flower pot on my sister's new dining room table while I was arranging flowers and have scratched her table as I was turning the pot while adjusting the flowers.


January 15, 2010

A tip for covering scratches on dark furniture - Using a partially green walnut husk, simply rub the scratch until you're satisfied with the darkening effect.

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