How to Repair Scratches in Wood Dye Finish

What You'll Need
Hard Paste Wax
#0000 Steel Wool
Patching Sticks
Sharp Craft Knife
Fine-grit Sandpaper
Mineral Spirits
Wood Filler
Water Putty Patch
Artists Brush
Wood Finish

It doesn't matter how hard you try, something always seems to happen to deface your once pristine wood dye finish. Sometimes it happens when you move or is more mysterious and just seems to appear out of nowhere. No matter, there are a couple of easy repairs for these scratches and gouges, when they suddenly appear.


If a quick fix is needed; say you're setting the dining room table for a dinner party and discover a scratch, this is easily covered. If you have a pecan or walnut, rub it the length of the scratch; the oils in the meat of the nut will help cover the scratch.

If you actually want to repair the scratch, there are a couple of ways to fill the scratch, depending on the depth of the scratch. All of the tools are available at hardware stores.

Step 1 - Repairing a Shallow Scratch

If you're dealing with a light scratch, the repair will be very easy. Using the steel wool, very lightly and going with the grain, apply the hard paste wax onto the scratch. As soon as the wax is even with the wood, rub the whole surface with a cloth.

Step 2 - Repairing a Deep Scratch

You can use a patching stick to repair deeper scratches; they are available in a lot of shades, so you should be able to find the shade of your wood dye.

Using a furniture polish stick is pretty easy; now take the polish stick and rub it on the deep scratch with hard strokes. Rub the stick on the scratch until it is filled; using a hard card, scrape the surface to remove excess polish. After the wax has dried, rub the entire surface with a cloth until the finish is smooth.


Gouges take a bit more effort to repair than scratches; since a gouge is much deeper.

Step 1 - Remove Excess Finish

First you want to use the craft knife to scrape any free material in or around the gouge. Use a gentle hand, the knife is sharp; you don't want the gouge to get worse. Now you want to use the steel wool to lightly feather the boundaries of the gouge. Use a cloth and clean the gouge with mineral spirits.

Step 2 - Repairing the Gouge

Now that the gouge is prepared, gently press the wood filler into the gouge using the craft knife; it will shrink slightly upon drying, be certain to pack it in tightly and let it be a little above the surface. You will need to let it dry for a couple to days. Then smooth it down with steel wool.

Apply the water putty patch over the gouge and smooth it down with sandpaper, feathering the edges. Then you can stain the patch the lightly buff it with steel wool. Apply the finish that will match, with an artists brush, then rub with the steel wool after the finish has dried. Then clean and polish.