How to hide a dent/gouge in jewelry box

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Forum topic by cag0331 posted 11-10-2016 03:49 PM 712 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View cag0331's profile


13 posts in 728 days

11-10-2016 03:49 PM

Topic tags/keywords: jewelry box curly maple wenge dent gouge

Hey guys,

I’ve been working on a jewelry box for my girlfriend for a while now and its finally starting to take shape. This is my first real woodworking project so I’m not expecting complete perfection, but I’m definitely shooting for it. I have the case pretty much completed, but i noticed theres a slight dent or gouge right in the middle of the front rail (circled in the picture below), which is made of curly maple. Any idea on how i can fill that or at least hide it so its near invisible? any tips would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

13 replies so far

View HokieKen's profile


6298 posts in 1287 days

#1 posted 11-10-2016 04:09 PM

Don’t know how deep it is but you can try wetting the whole piece to raise the grain then sand it back. That may reduce it. You may be able to sand it enough to get it out without making the piece look un-flat. Failing that, some filler or you could inlay a couple thin vertical strips of the (Wenge?) as an accent that would hide it.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View splintergroup's profile


2313 posts in 1371 days

#2 posted 11-10-2016 04:12 PM

If the wood fibers are not severed, take a damp rag and place it over the ding. Use a clothes iron on high heat and place it on the cloth. This will force moisture into the dent and the resulting steam will expand the wood back out.

Let it dry, resand, Bob’s you Uncle!

View Madmark2's profile


392 posts in 736 days

#3 posted 11-10-2016 04:50 PM

Route it out.


View bondogaposis's profile


4996 posts in 2499 days

#4 posted 11-10-2016 05:25 PM

If it is a dent the above mentioned techniques will work. However if it is not a dent, but a missing chunk of wood you will need a different fix. If that is the case then I would route a rabbet along that edge then put an inlay strip of contrasting wood.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Aj2's profile


1731 posts in 1946 days

#5 posted 11-10-2016 07:17 PM

It looks like a piece of wood missing.So I would first try to blend it in with a card scraper.
I would only try to remove about half of the defect.
With card scraper you should be able to use most of the front to blend it in.
BTW I make one of those for my wife about ten years ago.Wasnt that a FWW project?


-- Aj

View bobasaurus's profile


3531 posts in 3332 days

#6 posted 11-10-2016 07:20 PM

I would wet it then use a heat gun to evaporate off the water, then repeat a few times. Amazing how much this can fix. Then card scraper to reduce the whole area if needed.

-- Allen, Colorado (Instagram @bobasaurus_woodworking)

View bilyo's profile


347 posts in 1251 days

#7 posted 11-12-2016 02:56 AM

Try the moisture/heat method first (I’ve good luck with a drop of water on the dent letting it dry naturally with no heat- sometimes multiple applications). If that doesn’t work or only partially works, try a dab of clear 5 min epoxy (don’t color it or add sanding dust). Let it cure overnight then sand it level to at least 220 grit. Once finished, you will never see it.

View Kazooman's profile


1151 posts in 2101 days

#8 posted 11-12-2016 03:56 AM

I think that I made a box using that exact design from the Internet. Bad time to discover a defect. If it is a “dent” then the water, heat, etc. suggestions might get you back to a flush surface. However, the pictures look more like a “gouge” as you suggested, and then I doubt that you will get it back to a flush surface. The epoxy fill might work, but I doubt it in a prominently figured piece such as you have to deal with.

One possibility would be to remove an entire strip along the bottom of the front piece and adjust the drawer heights accordingly. It would be very difficult to do with the pieces already glued up, and knowing what I do about the dimensions of the piece as compared to your pictures I do not think you have enough to work with without getting into the bottom of the top fixed drawer.

One alternative would be to somehow cut a rabbet along the edge to remove the defect and then have a corresponding lip on the top drawer that fits into the new recess. I am not certain how this would work out.

Another thought is to somehow turn the defect into a “feature”. The curved legs and all of the other dark wood accents are a feature of the box. How about another piece of the dark wood shaped exactly like the legs and just wide and long enough to cover the dent glued on to the face. That theme could be repeated on the two drawers if you decided to do so.

Here is my take on the design, curly maple and wenge.

Sorry for just the link, but I have problems embedding images from my IPad. I think that this is an Apple “feature”.

View bilyo's profile


347 posts in 1251 days

#9 posted 11-12-2016 04:30 AM

I respectfully disagree with Kazooman. It is largely because you are working with figured wood that the epoxy fix will blend right in. For one thing, in a shallow dent or gouge, the clear epoxy will tend to take on the color of the wood under it. I’ve used this fix many times in both figured and non-figured wood and it either blends with the rest of the finish or takes on the appearance of some other wood feature (small knot, grain pattern, etc) and is usually unremarkable. It works particularly well to fix shallow tear-outs.

I suggest that you try the epoxy first and if you don’t like the way it looks, then do one of the more elaborate fixes suggested. Unfortunately, you won’t see the effect of the epoxy until you put on the final finish. I would use a piece of scrap, put a small gouge in it, epoxy it, finish it, then decide.

Nice job BTW. Lucky girl !

View Aj2's profile


1731 posts in 1946 days

#10 posted 11-12-2016 05:31 AM

I wonder if we’ll ever know what fix he used I think my suggestion is the best of course.:)
The reality is their all good fixes.
My version of this Jewerly box is ebony and birds eye maple.
One more pointer to the Op make sure you buy your girl a new piece of jewelry with the box believe me she will look for one.When you present it to her.:)

-- Aj

View cag0331's profile


13 posts in 728 days

#11 posted 11-12-2016 05:41 AM

Thanks for all the tips! I tried the water and iron method and, while it helped at least a bit, it didn’t raise the grain enough to get it flush. I think my next shot will be trying to smooth it a bit with a card scraper and/or sandpaper. Failing that, I think I’m going to try the epoxy method. Another LJ (404 – Not Found) messaged me a similar fix only using lacquer/varnish. Are there pro’s/con’s to using lacquer, varnish, or epoxy over the others? Also, in using that method, when would I fill the gouge? I plan on using some sort of oil to bring out the grain followed by a clear topcoat (probably lacquer, but I’m still trying to figure that out.. I want as little yellowing as possible). So would the epoxy/lacquer be applied before or after the oil or what?

Thanks again!

View rwe2156's profile


3094 posts in 1629 days

#12 posted 11-12-2016 02:51 PM

Its nearly impossible to fix these type injuries by filling without it showing.

Water and hot iron only works on shallow dents this is why it failed.

I think the best fix is inlay a contrasting piece of wood, perhaps in a shape that agrees with the curves of the legs.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View bilyo's profile


347 posts in 1251 days

#13 posted 11-12-2016 03:02 PM

I think that the recommendation to use lacquer or varnish is referring to the technique of using your chosen final finish like a grain filler. This entails applying the finish, sanding it back (leaving finish in the pores) and repeating until you have a smooth surface. This works but it has limitations as to thickness to say nothing about the work involved. Using epoxy is basically the same process except you are concentrating your product and efforts on one area (the dent or gouge). Also, the epoxy has the ability of filling to an almost unlimited depth with a single application. You can use a finish like varnish to do the same thing, but it may take many layers on a deeper dent.

Fill your dent first by what ever method and then apply your finish – oil, varnish, lacquer, etc. Otherwise, you may create some adhesion problems. Again, try it on some scrap first. If you want to change the color of the epoxy, you can add a colorant (look it up – not sure what works) or a small amount of sanding dust. With the latter, use only a very small amount. You want to maintain some translucence. Also, some epoxies are yellower that others. You may need to shop around. Without checking, I think I’m using the Loctite brand purchased at Lowes. It’s pretty clear. I also have some System 3 that is more yellow.

Hope this helps

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