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Repair Dented Wood

Updated on September 30, 2016

Profile View of 3/8ths Corner Radius

I have often heard how water can be used to repair wood damaged by a gouge. I have never seen a good example of the results until now.

I spent my afternoon building a wooden corner cover out of select pine (not cheap) to hide a pipe that feeds a hot water register in a remodeling project that I have undertaken. At the point of completion, I removed clamps used for gluing and placed them on the floor. To my horror, this eight foot long cover rolled off the sawhorses and landed on one of the clamps.

The damage was directly on the corner of the piece. This was both a blessing and a curse. Had the crush been on the surface of the piece it would have been shallow and possibly broader. However, being that the damage was directly on the corner, the area affected was small but very deep. A full eighth of an inch in multiple places.

I had hoped to eliminate the gouge with a 3/8ths router bit, but was unable to go deep enough to remove it. I studied the remaining damage and elected to try and swell the wood to the freshly routed surface of the radius using a drop of water. The result was stunning.

Now only did the wood swell to the routed surface but it continued to rise until reaching its original height. The picture above shows how the crushed wood swelled back to stand proud against the surface of the wood that was routed away. Impressive to say the least.

So if you're crying over something dropped on your wooden surface, let a tear fall on the wound. You may end up wiping away the damage along with your tears.


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