How to Repair Scratches in Wood Oil Finish

close up of a wood table
  • 1-3 hours
  • Beginner
  • 0-100
What You'll Need
Instant coffee, walnuts, almonds, or eye liner pencil
Soap and water
Oil based wood stain
Wood stain marker
Wood putty
Putty knife
Paint brush
Old towels or rags

If your fine furniture has scratches in the wood oil finish, you should remove the scratches so the piece again looks new and is not merely an eye-sore. Repairing scratches in a wood oil finished piece of furniture is not difficult, and some scratches can be repaired in just a few minutes. This simple how-to guide will show everything you need to know to remove the scratches in your wood furniture. Let's get started.

How to Repair Hair-Line Scratches

Step 1 - Clean the Surface

Use a sponge along with some soap and water to clean the surface where the scratch appears on the furniture. Rinse the area and then dry with a towel. Allow the furniture to completely dry before continuing.

Step 2 - Fill the Scratch

Fill the small scratch on the furniture with coffee grounds that have been mixed with water, ground walnuts, or almonds or even an eyeliner pencil. Any of these methods are effective in hiding hairline scratches on wood furniture. After you fill the scratch, lightly clean around the area to remove any excess filler you placed in the scratch.

Step 3 - Repeat as Needed

With this method, you may have to repeat the process two or three times before the scratch is completely invisible.

How to Repair Large or Wide Scratches

filling a scratch in dark wood

Step 1 - Clean Scratched Area

Clean the scratched area with soap and water. Allow the damaged area to dry before going on.

Step 2 - Sand the Surface

Use a fine grit sandpaper to lightly sand and scuff the area around the scratch on the furniture. Do not sand too deep into the wood, but simply try to smooth out the area between the scratch and the undamaged area on the furniture.

Step 3 - Apply Oil Based Wood Stain

Apply a quality oil based wood stain to the scratched area. You may have to apply two or three coats.

Step 4 - Sand Again

If you need to apply more than one coat, allow the first coat to dry and then lightly sand the area before applying subsequent coats.

Step 5 - Apply More Coats

Apply more coats of oil based wood stain is needed.

How to Repair Deep Gouges

putty knives

Step 1 - Clean the Area Around Gouge

Clean the area around the gouge in the furniture with an oil-free soap, some water and a sponge. Allow the furniture to dry.

Step 2 - Fill With Wood Putty

Use a small putty knife and fill the gouge with wood putty. Try to smooth the surface of the wood putty as much as possible. It is better to put a little too much putty into the gouge rather than not enough. Allow the putty to dry.

Step 3 - Sand the Putty

Sand the surface of the wood putty until it is completely smooth and level with the surface of the wood furniture. Start with a low grit sandpaper and then work your way up to higher grits to ensure a smooth surface.

Step 4 - Refinish With Wood Stain

Apply wood stain over the gouge in the furniture. The area where you applied the wood putty will probably be a little darker than the other wood grain areas of the furniture. However, the removal of the gouge is a good trade-off in this situation.