Posted by on Jan 17, 2013 in Blog, Furniture Repair, How To Tips | 12 comments

I’ve come across some fabulous furniture finds which were selling for next to nothing yet I didn’t buy them.  Why?  They were scratched, gouged or scarred and I was under the impression that repairing these flaws was difficult and way too much work.  

Boy, was I wrong!

Now that I know how simple it is to fill in furniture scratches, I’m kicking myself for letting all those potential income makers slip away.

Well no worries.  You do better when you know better, right?

And now, armed with this skill, (and seriously… it’s not much of a “skill”… if you can ice-a-cupcake, you can do this!)  there are no limits to the future deals this Bargainista will find!  The one below cost me zero dollars… FREE 🙂 as it was someone’s castaway.







Here’s What You Need:


Water and Rag    *    Putty Knife    *    Wood Filler    *     Sand Paper




 Fill Scratches in 7 Easy Steps:


1. Sand the entire surface to “sand-out” any small scratches.  Because this dresser was badly gouged, I used my sander with an 80 grit and worked my way up.

What’s that hose attached to my sander?  To create a clean and healthy dust free sanding environment, you can read more here.




2. If there is any residue within the gouge, use the corner of your putty knife to dig out any loose dirt from the scratch.  Clean the surface with a damp rag.

3. Once the surface is clean and dry, spread an appropriate amount of filler over the scratch while pushing the filler into the holes and scratches at a 30° degree angle.




* Tip

The amount of filler you use will depend on the length and depth of your scratch.  Deep gouges or holes may need 2 or more applications.


4. With the flat end of the palette knife, smooth over while applying pressure to remove any excess filler.

5. Let it dry.  This could take anywhere from a 1/2 hour to 8 hours depending on the repair.  Time required will be explained on your Wood Filler’s Instructions.

6.  Once completely dry, sand with a 180 to 220 grit sand paper then “FEEL” if the scratches and holes are level.  If you still have any grooves, simply apply more filler and repeat from step 3.




7.  Apply your finish.  If you choose to stain your wood, most fillers are compatible, but I would do a test area first.


* Tip

If you apply your first coat of paint/primer and still see the scratch marks, no problem.  Just re-apply the filler over the paint/primer and repeat the steps once again.


So to all you DIY’ers, if you come across that “PERFECT PIECE” but it’s all scratched up, don’t let it get away!

You can acquire some really spectacular re-finishing finds for a “steal-of-a-deal” once you know how to fill in furniture scratches.

Garage Sales, Thrift Stores and Goodwill often have these diamonds in the rough selling for under $10!  It’s a great way to salvage and up-cycle pieces that would otherwise end up in our landfills.

I’ve been having fun doing these repairs…and I LOVE the end result.