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Forum topic by papargbear posted 01-28-2011 06:21 PM 1460 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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75 posts in 3617 days

01-28-2011 06:21 PM

I’m building a home theater cabinet for my sister and I’m about 90% done. I just need to finish the doors and hang them. However, it never fails that something will go wrong at this point. I was working on another project when a piece of lumber kicked back off the router table and hit the media cabinet causing a dent in the lower rail. (see picture). The dent is about a 1/32 deep and the wood is mahogany. I can’t replace the rail without damaging the cabinet. I know about using steam to repair dents in wood but as the wood fibers seem to be severed I don’t think this would be a viable option. I’d appreciate any suggestions on possible repairs or am I sol?

14 replies so far

View RetiredCoastie's profile


999 posts in 3178 days

#1 posted 01-28-2011 06:25 PM

You might try the steam iron and wet rag method to get as much of the dent out as possible and then wet sand to develop a slurry that will fill the torn area, allow to dry then stain and finish.

-- Proud Supporter of Homes For Our Troops

View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4213 days

#2 posted 01-28-2011 06:28 PM

I’m thinking a combination of steaming and sanding to soften the edges of the indentation. I’d like to get a wider angle photo so I’d have a better idea of scale.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Don Johnson's profile

Don Johnson

685 posts in 2776 days

#3 posted 01-28-2011 06:34 PM

I’m sure that you have thought of it already, but if nothing else works, you could hide the dent with a decorative embellishment like these on a friend’s piece. (which were needed for a similar problem!)

I added the Sketchup pic as the photo’ is not too clear.

However, no doubt you will need more than one!

BTW, he told me he cut the bevels on the end of a long piece, BEFORE cutting each piece off

-- Don, Somerset UK,

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517 posts in 3068 days

#4 posted 01-28-2011 06:41 PM

Use the steam method to raise the grain as much as you can. Then use a plane to take thin the rail of the entier length so that you don’t end up with a dip in the middle. It’s hard to tell from just the closeup pictures but it’s probobly possible to remove and replace the rail without damaging the cabinet. I’m sure I’ve made much more difficult repairs than that.

-- Don - I wood work if I could. Redmond WA.

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517 posts in 3068 days

#5 posted 01-28-2011 06:46 PM

Don Johnson, that’s a brilliant idea!

-- Don - I wood work if I could. Redmond WA.

View papargbear's profile


75 posts in 3617 days

#6 posted 01-28-2011 08:35 PM

Here’s a little better perspective. The dent is about 1” square and directly underneath the partition.

View Bertha's profile


13525 posts in 2688 days

#7 posted 01-28-2011 08:42 PM

You might be able to steam the grain up & hit it with a small cabinet scraper, then wetsand & refinish. I would have a difficult time not damaging the divider with a plane, however a shoulder plane or circle plane might do it. Good luck. That’s a real drag & I feel for you.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

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51457 posts in 3475 days

#8 posted 01-28-2011 10:11 PM

I would use the steam method too…give that a try first.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

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David Kirtley

1286 posts in 2993 days

#9 posted 01-29-2011 01:02 AM

Steam and see what happens. A nice little piece of marquetry could be there if it fails.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

View Scott Gilroy's profile

Scott Gilroy

45 posts in 2997 days

#10 posted 01-29-2011 03:49 AM

The steam trick, mentioned by others, should be tried first. If it doesn’t do the trick, you have multiple options to try. In addition to the other suggestions, you could try the following:
It’s hard to tell by the picture, but can you plane or rout 1/16-1/8” off the entire front of the rail and apply a thin piece of the mahogany. I’ve done this and works fairly well. The best thickness would be whatever the diameter of your roundover is (or just a tad thicker). It looks like you have an 1/8” roundover on the front edge, but hard to tell from the picture. If the edge is only relieved with sanding, I’d go with 1/16”.

The suggestions for an ornamental opportunity would work too!
Good luck with the project.

-- Scott

View Bernie's profile


422 posts in 2832 days

#11 posted 01-29-2011 06:54 AM

STEAM – STEAM – STEAM… but first things first. Because you’re concerned about the cut or severed wood, try a thin sanding or scraping first. Because it’s a new piece, try sanding or scraping the entire surface (if you know about cabinet scrapers then you know what I’m talking about). Once you have thinned the surrounding area a tad, use the steam method and you will discover the dented strip is now a very minor lump. Sand this down to a level surface…

-- Bernie: It never gets hot or cold in New Hampshire, just seasonal!

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18267 posts in 3671 days

#12 posted 01-29-2011 08:40 AM

I’ll add to that, steam, steam , steam. Just keep adding water, it should come back close in a few days.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View papargbear's profile


75 posts in 3617 days

#13 posted 01-29-2011 02:37 PM

Thanks everyone. Looks like the steam method is the way to go. I’ll give it a try

View Don's profile


517 posts in 3068 days

#14 posted 01-29-2011 09:32 PM

BTW, it looks like you’ve already got some finish on it. If so, you’ll need to strip that first or the wood won’t absorb the steam.

-- Don - I wood work if I could. Redmond WA.

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