Furniture Repair: Where to start?

Furniture Repair: Where to start?

In our consumer-based fast fashion society, we are often tempted (even encouraged) to throw things away and buy the latest and trendiest new products.  Some items, including pieces of furniture, are actually designed to be as cheap as possible and therefore easily replaceable again and again. That is one way to keep up with ever-changing styles, but there is something to be said for investing in a  quality, classic, piece of furniture that can fit seamlessly through every remodel, last through every move, and when properly taken care of, become an heirloom to be shared for years to come..

Let’s look at a few tips on how Guardsman can guide you to keep your furniture beautiful.

Wood stain

Water Damage:

Growing up did Grandma walk around making sure that you were using coasters under your drinks?  It may have seemed to be a pain for you, however, she was preventing a larger pain for herself in the future, water damage.  Hot tea/coffee mugs directly on a wooden table can cause the same unsightly white cloudy stain that a sweating glass of lemonade can cause.  This is due to the water particles seeping into the finish and sometimes a white cloudy ring or spot on your wooden furniture appears.  The white cloudiness indicates that the moisture has not seeped all the way into the wood itself; rather it has been trapped within the finish.

Acting fast with a water stain makes all the difference in the world in terms of being able to reverse the damage.  Sometimes if you catch it quick enough using a hair dryer on a hot setting and moving it back and forth over the area for a few minutes may help the moisture evaporate out of the finish.   If the overall table top finish is somewhat glossy, the Guardsman Water Mark Remover Cloth will remove water stains and other serious stains such as ink and some cosmetics.

If there is a dark ring in the wooden furniture, this would indicate that the water has reached the wood and may be a bit more intricate of a repair requiring sanding and refinishing.  If this is more than you are ready to tackle on your own, feel free to give the Guardsman team a call. We can help you bring your lovely old pieces back to life as we put our expertise to use and bring your vision to life.


Should you have a burn in your furniture, don’t panic!  Burns will more than likely need the attention from a furniture repair professional.  Contact Guardsman and we will be happy to assist you!

Dents and Scratches:

Unfortunately, dents, scratches, and dings will occur on your furniture if you are using it at all.  Someone may drop their keys on it, speeds into it with a toy in their hand, silverware falls onto the table, and the list goes on and on.   Even if these issues could have been prevented the likelihood of you ending up with dents, nicks, and scratches in your wood furniture is high!  Have no fear, many of these issues can be repaired with a little ingenuity and elbow grease.

Deciding if you want to fix a shallow dent or not is the first thing you need to assess.  Furniture touch up markers and furniture filler sticks do wonders at concealing small defects.  Choose one that best matches the finish and apply to the damaged areas.


Wood is very susceptible to changes in humidity.  These changes can cause the wood to swell or to crack and split.  If the wood splits it can be repaired, it just takes time and determination.  Materials you would need to fix split furniture are:

  • Wood Glue
  • Masking Tape
  • Clamps or Clear packing tape
  • Putty or Utility knife

Steps for Repairing Split Wood:

  • The first thing to do is place masking tape on either side of the crack, this will protect the rest of the furniture if glue drips or oozes out.
  • In order to inject the split with the glue, you can separate the crack with a putty or utility knife, just giving enough space for the glue to get down into the crack or split.
  • If needed, you can also use a straw to blow the glue into the crack.
  • The location of the split will determine how to clamp it.
  • If you are able to use traditional clamps to squeeze the wood back together this will work best. However, if the spit is in a location that clamps are not useful, some strong adhesive tape can work to secure the damaged area while the glue dries.

dog on couch

Pet Damage (thanks Fido!):

It is likely that you are not the only one in your house that enjoys your furniture.  Your four-legged friends often find comfort in our home furnishings as well.  When it pertains to your wood furniture, it can look a bit like a chew toy and can become the subject of Fido’s obsession.  This can appear to be a daunting task to repair however, it doesn’t have to be.  Here are a few steps to make the process of repair a little more tolerable.

  • Keep a good quality wood filler handy.
  • The chewed portions need to be cleaned up and splinters removed. You may need to use a tool like a scratch awl to help remove these splinters and create a smooth clean surface.
  • Use a wood putty the same shade or lighter in color than the wood to fill in the chew marks.
  • Once it is dry and solid, sand to smooth out the edges.
  • Wipe down sanded area and apply a finishing coat with paint, stain or polish depending on the finish on your furniture.

Damage to Veneer

Veneer is a thin layer of wood glued to a solid base.   Because it is the glue that holds the wood to the furniture it can be very vulnerable to becoming damaged.  Often the glue used on older veneer furniture is not water resistant and can be softened by exposure to water and humidity.  This can cause the veneer to crack, blister, buckle and break.  Unfortunately, the veneer can chip and entire pieces can break off.  Undamaged veneer is easy to glue back down and the repair itself will be difficult to perceive if you match the grain properly.

With blisters on the veneer, heat will typically soften the glue and help to reseal it to the base.  Place a piece of wax paper over the blister and cover with cardboard.  Use a medium hot iron and gently move it back and forth pressing firmly.  Check the area every few minutes and once the blister has flattened you can remove the heat.  Leaving the cardboard on for the next 24 hours will provide a little weight to help ensure the blister stays flat.  Once this is complete, wax and polish the surface to restore its original beauty.

If there are large blisters, you may need to place a very small slit in it with a sharp knife or blade and repeat steps above.  If the glue does not soften you will need to scrape it out and inject a little carpenters glue under the veneer with the tip of the blade.  Be careful not to overdo the glue as it will ooze out and can be difficult to clean up.

Repair pressed wood

Repairing Pressed Wood:

Pressed wood or particle board can be a very affordable option for furniture.  The trade-off is that it does not always stand the test of time.  It can chip or break when it is hit by the vacuum as well as under normal wear and tear.  It can crack under the pressure of heavy items such as too many books on the bookshelf.  However, with pressed wood, the repairs can be relatively easy.  Most cracks or chips can be filled in with a wood putty. Use a putty knife swiping back and forth until the crack is properly filled.  If there is a chunk missing, you can use the putty and mold it into the shape of the piece that is missing.  Let it dry overnight.  Once it is completely dry you can sand it lightly to make it smooth.  You can then refinish the piece with paint.

Since pressed wood pieces can be very affordable, you may want to look at the amount of time and money it will take to repair the piece and evaluate if it is worth the investment.

Wood furniture is naturally elegant and can stand the test of time when cared for properly.  Keeping it clean, protecting it with coasters, trivets, table clothes and various waxes and polishes will certainly extend the longevity of the piece.  However, if damage occurs, and eventually it most likely will, then repairing it will also help to extend its life.  Wood furniture can be such a wonderful life-long investment that can be passed down for generations to come.

If you have any questions about this or other types of furniture repair, then the Guardsman team stands ready to walk you through the process. Our On-Site Care and Repair program will help you keep your favorite pieces looking fresh off the showroom floor for years to come. Call today to find out more and to see how Guardsman can make all the difference.

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Open the door to Guardsman On-Site Care and Repair, and let us show you what we can do to keep you living on your furniture with pride.
We’ll fix and care for your pieces—generally right in your own home or business.