This article was originally published in the Early Summer 2017 issue of Cottage Life magazine.
Should your cottage be graced with “antiques,” especially the pine variety, you likely have a history with dents in wood. From shallow imprints made by glassware to deeper hollows with broken fibres from the time you dropped the hammer, dents can vary in severity, but the approach to reviving the wood in every case is the same.
By taking advantage of wood’s response to water, we can get crushed fibres to expand. Soak the dent with water, then place a few layers of wet cotton overtop—torn old T-shirts work—followed with a hot iron. Press down to force steam into the dent, allowing the wood to regain its structure. Check your progress as you go.
As soon as the cloth is dry, remove it, examine the dent, and repeat if necessary until the dent is history. Let the grain fully dry before sanding, so you don’t end up with a dent again after it shrinks. Then sand the site of the repair, and finish as needed.
Tip: For deep dents, leave water in for a few hours before steaming.