Furniture Ding Fixers for Free
Fix dings and scratches on wood surfaces without spending a penny. You already have a palette of colors in your closet, desk drawer or makeup kit. Shoe polish, eyebrow pencils, markers, watercolors, fingernail polish and iodine thinned to the right shade with denatured alcohol are just a few of the possibilities. Before applying color to the marred area, try it on the part of the furniture that’s the least visible. You can even create a “test” scratch in a hidden spot. When you determine the right color, rub it into the scratch, then wipe off the residue from the adjacent surface. Many thanks to Nina Jacobson for revealing our true colors.
Check out other furniture fixes that don’t include throwing a matchbook under a wobbly chair.
Flawless Surface Prep
Anxious to put varnish on that freshly sanded project? Well, just hold on for a second! Before applying the finish, rub the project (with the grain!) with No. 0000 steel wool. You’ll lift sanding dust from the grain and burnish and shine the surface fibers.
Follow up with a mopping pad cloth ($4 a box at a grocery store) to wipe away any specks of dust or steel wool. You’ve now ensured a pristine surface for perfect results with oil-based (not water-based) finishes. Many thanks to Gabriel Shearing for this professional finisher’s tip. See why adding steel wool to a loose screw isn’t such a screwy idea.
Poly Finish with No Runs, Drips or Bubbles
If the project you’re finishing features spindles, legs, nooks or crannies, switch from a regular to a wipe-on polyurethane. This finish goes on like a hand-rubbed oil finish and won’t pool, bubble or drip to leave mini messes to sand off when it’s dry. A number of wipe-on poly finishes are available, but we like Rockler’s Polyurethane Satin Gel Finish (rockler.com, $10.59 a pint, $19.29 a quart). It wipes on smoothly, dries super fast and, when applied with a cloth, leaves zero lap marks. Our thanks to Sean Gerlach for this smooth tip. See why using a wood conditioner isn’t a bad idea when finishing wood.