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Thread: Hard Maple Dent Repair?

  1. #1

    Hard Maple Dent Repair?

    Hi folks, looking for some dent repair advice. An unfortunate incident in which a metal object fell onto the top of an Ethan Allen hard maple dining table top caused a dent/gash. Looking for advice on whether to attempt DIY fix or pay $200 to their repair service. I assume the matte finish is catalyzed laquer. Here are photos of the dent and the table. The main dent is between 1/16 and 1/32" deep, the secondary dent is about 1/64" deep, and there is a minor mark/scratch off to the side. Photos attached. What do you suggest? Thanks!IMG_1711.jpgIMG_1712.jpg

  2. #2
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    Well, the dent is easy to get out; a hot iron & a wet cloth. But getting the stain & finish patched up will be the trick. I wonder how good a job their repair service would provide.

    Check out this guys channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/johnsonrestoration He does some excellent restoration work that might give you some ideas.

  3. #3
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    I agree with Frank that a hot iron and wet cloth will help...especially the smaller dent on the left in your picture. The larger dent appears to have broken fibers and may not respond as well to the iron/wet cloth. You may need to resort to filling with wax sticks, adding some grain with a fine marker and top coating.

    As Frank also suggested, Tom Johnson restoration videos are very instructive. One of the main lessons I’ve learned from him, is to first seal with shellac, then try to match the grain/color. That way, if you mess up, your repair can be removed and you can start over.

  4. #4
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    The smaller one will probably come out but but the larger one will not fully, I have done a lot of steaming out dents, it will also take a lot of skill to match/blend the touch up especially after you steam it affecting the surrounding area so unless you have experience doing this or you are ok with the fix being at best so-so then I would pay the $200 (you may still have to live with the so-so fix depending on the skill of the fixer). you Might also want to check with a local cabinet shop, might cost more but...

  5. #5
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    I agree with Frank. If it doesn't do what you want, you can always do other fixes.

  6. #6
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    Try a single drop of water in the big dent. No iron or heat.
    Use something like a tooth pick to install the drop.

    Good Luck
    Aj

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Hughes View Post
    Try a single drop of water in the big dent. No iron or heat.
    Use something like a tooth pick to install the drop.

    Good Luck
    This is what I do. Repeat as necessary.
    Lee Schierer
    USNA- '71
    Captain USN(Ret)

    My advice, comments and suggestions are free, but it costs money to run the site. If you found something of value here please give a little something back by becoming a contributor! Please Contribute

  8. #8
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    Using just a drop of water may work, but in my experience, heat is needed to bring back all but the very minor dents. I've managed to bring back some pretty catastrophic looking dents with heat & moisture.

  9. #9
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    I would also use a drop of water to start the process, but I doubt that it will be enough. Still, it get some moisture into the dent, which is needed. A wet cloth and iron is next - just be careful that you use heat enough to create steam, and then apply only for one second to avoid burning or scolding the finish. I would also consider a more focussed heat source, such as a soldering iron.

    Regards from Perth

    Derek

  10. #10
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    Same situation. Grandkids dented our dining table top. Tried same process as for unfinished wood.

    Dry washcloth over dent, drop of water over dent, and steam iron. Occasionally renewed the drop of water. Key point: Our dent had a microscopic crack in the finish that allowed steam to penetrate into the wood. Worked great & crack is now invisible.

    Water drop vs steam? Steam can penetrate cracks too tiny for liquid water to penetrate and may raise the dent faster.

    I can imagine a situation where you might need a tiny hole through the finish to allow steam into the wood. Such a tiny hole could be filled and nearly invisible.

  11. #11
    Not to be a contrarian, but that's an Ethan Allen table. That's expensive stuff around here. So, I'd ask you - how much do you like this table - is it a "lifetime" piece you plan to keep? If so, personally, I wouldn't cut corners with a DIY job. I'd spend the $200 to have a person who repairs finishes "all day long" make the repair - especially if Ethan Allen themselves offer the service (or job it out to a sub that they trust).

    Either way, I hope you find an approach you'll be happy with.

    Fred
    Last edited by Frederick Skelly; 10-09-2019 at 7:40 AM.
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
    - Sir Edmund Burke

  12. #12
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    I also use steam but not an iron. I do put water in the dent first and let it soak in, then cover with a damp cloth and apply heat. But I generally pinpiont the heat with a soldering iron. I use a fairly large tip, the same one I use for melting and welding plastic. It usually needs several cycles of soaking, wet cloth, and heating.

    JKJ

  13. #13
    Thanks all for the advice. But if I put water on a catalyzed laquer finish, won't it turn white? Then I have an additional problem...

  14. #14
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    Potentially, the biggest risk is inflecting more damage to the surrounding finish from the hot iron. Unless you have experimented around with this in the past I agree with Fredrick on this one. More than likely if you pay the repair service to do this they will be able to fill it and blend it in with relative ease, if the surrounding area gets monkeyed with too much and you don't have finishing/touch up skills you could be in for a much bigger bill.

    Quote Originally Posted by Len Rosenberg View Post
    Thanks all for the advice. But if I put water on a catalyzed laquer finish, won't it turn white? Then I have an additional problem...

  15. #15
    An I the only one who thinks that thre entire top needed a proper sanding and refinish regardless of the dents. Are those wide belts scratches I see?

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