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How to Fix Dents and Water Stains on Wood Surfaces

Wood surfaces are easily stained and marred by water and blows but can be repaired. It’s a paradox: Metal and wood can be strong enough to sit on yet dent with a simple blow from a hard object. Here’s how to fight back.

Bang out dents in thin metal, such as a patio tabletop, using a hammer. Work with care from the other side – you don’t want to create more dents.

Careful use of water can get a dent out of wood. But be aware that you’re treading a fine line. Water can stain and warp wood, so don’t try this on an irreplaceable item. Put a small amount of liquid over the dent. The wood swells as it absorbs the liquid, thus filling the dent. Dry thoroughly.

Use filler to repair dents in painted walls. Smooth the filler, or a basic bonding paste (spackle), onto the dent making it even with the rest of the wall. When dry, rub down with sandpaper and repaint.

If you catch that water ring whilst it’s still wet, you can simply wipe it away. Once the stain is dry, you need to use more drastic measures.

Go over the surface with great care using very fine steel wool. Work in the direction of the grain, not the circle of the ring. Next, wipe over the mark with a cloth that has a few drops of olive oil on it, then leave to sit for as long as possible – ideally overnight.

Next day, polish up with a dry cloth. Try mayonnaise on really bad marking. Bizarre, yet it often works. Don’t despair if it doesn’t work instantly. Repeated applications can make a big difference.

Don’t re-wax or apply polish to the wood until you are certain the mark is gone. Otherwise, you’re simply sealing it in.

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