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8 Tricks for Repairing and Restoring Wood Damage

Wood is a beautiful decor element, but it often needs a little TLC to truly reach its full potential. Here are eight of the easiest ways to repair and restore common wood issues.
07/10/2014 05:30pm ET | Updated December 6, 2017
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Wood is a beautiful decor element, but it often needs a little TLC to truly reach its full potential. Here are eight of the easiest ways to repair and restore common wood issues. Let the natural beauty of the wood elements in your home shine through!

1. Naturally Restore Wood
Before grabbing a store bought wood stain, try a natural ingredient. Coconut oil not only rehydrates your wood, but also restores your wood's natural color and soft glow. It may appear to "stain" the wood darker, but it's actually a restoration of the healthier, natural color. Pretty cool secret power of coconut oil huh?

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2. Naturally Stain & Darken
To stain wood a darker, yet still more natural color, give vinegar a try! You can use either balsamic vinegar or apple cider vinegar, depending on the color you prefer. If you scrub the vinegar in with a wire brush, it will take this great wood DIY to the next level!

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3. Repair Minor Nicks & Scratches
To repair fairly minor damage, just use this all natural recipe to restore your wood.
Mix thoroughly ¾ cup of oil (canola oil is perfect) and ¼ cup of vinegar (white or apple cider). Follow application instructions, and your wood pieces will be looking as good as new in no time! You can also repair scuffs by rubbing them with a walnut!

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4. Repair Major Damage
If you have a charming wood piece, but a major eyesore is detracting from its overall look, it's time to break out the Bondo all purpose filler! Bondo is an alternative to normal wood fillers preferred by many furniture restorers on Hometalk. Mix up your Bondo, apply to the uneven, damaged section, then sand smooth. After, you can repaint the whole piece for an even look.

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5. Return to Underlying Wood
If you have an older piece that's been painted and abused through the years, peel back the layers of time by stripping it down to the original, beautiful wood. Depending on the size of the problem area you can sand it down (small) or use a liquid paint stripper (large). To apply liquid stripper, spread it around evenly with a chip brush to create a nice thick layer. Leave the stripper for 30 minutes, then scrape away, following the wood grain. Get the exact step by step tutorial from Finding Silver Pennies on Hometalk.

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6. Refinishing Wood Like A Pro
Refinishing wood may seem simple; just buy the stain and apply -- but take it from the furniture makeover experts of Hometalk, much can be done to enhance the staining process. First, make sure you sand the wood- even if you don't see any sort of finish or top coat. You must sand with the grain (in the same direction as the wood grain). Start with a coarse-grit, and end with a fine-grit for best results. A nice smooth wood surface will readily accept your stain and it will color evenly. Apply the stain with a rag for great control, and buff thoroughly at the end for a more durable and attractive end result!

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7. Repair Holes
Do you love the look of reclaimed wood or pallets, but are old, unattractive nail holes giving you holding you back? Well, give them the boot with this restoration trick! It's best to refill the holes with wood, instead of glue, so that a wood stain will look even and natural. Simply sharpen a toothpick, skewer, or even a caramel apple stick and pop it in! After you sand it down to a flush finish, you'll be ready to go!

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8. Fix Watermarks
Is a pesky watermark refusing to cooperate with your refinish or repainting efforts? Give that annoying stain the boot with a spray shallac! A shallac coating, like Zinsser Bulls Eye Spray, will seal the mark and prevent any bleed through so you can paint in peace. See how Debbie applied the shallac to her water stain on Hometalk.

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Repairing and restoring furniture is easy to do, if you just have the right instructions! Find all the tutorials for any kind of furniture fix up job with ease on Hometalk!