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Forum topic by marcb posted 05-19-2008 08:41 PM 1109 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View marcb's profile


768 posts in 3847 days

05-19-2008 08:41 PM

My wife and I went out to a bunch of garage sales and came home with a nice(ish) dresser. I say ish as it needs some somewhat extensive work but for the price you can’t beat it.

It had some weird green on it, not quite paint, showed wood grain and pattern and some coloring through it. Came off with stripper. Beautiful looking wood underneath. Golden Oak is my guess.

Quick question, the top is a little dented and beat up. I was thinking of planing it down smooth. Is this going to affect the wood color? I’ve never refinished something old before and I’m worried that exposing fresh wood is going to look completely different. No real way of telling if the wood had been stained at this point, but I hope not.

7 replies so far

View Toolz's profile


1004 posts in 3916 days

#1 posted 05-19-2008 09:06 PM

You might try steaming lightly with a damp towel on the wood and a steam iron. Sometimes that will raise dents and scratches. Just be sure to try it lightly and check the wood often.

-- Larry "Work like a Captain but Play like a Pirate!"

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3996 days

#2 posted 05-19-2008 09:22 PM

If you plane it down you will expose new wood. If the piece has been stained then the top will have to be color matched to the rest of the piece if you want them to look the same. But if the dent is not too deep then the steaming method can work.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Roper's profile


1389 posts in 3887 days

#3 posted 05-19-2008 09:25 PM

if you plane or sand the top at all it will show up much lighter in those spots after refinishing. if you don’t like the dents try what toolz suggests,but if the wood does have that great golden color i’d leave it be.

-- Roper - Master of sawdust-

View RonPage's profile


58 posts in 3874 days

#4 posted 05-19-2008 10:29 PM

I absolutely agree with the steaming technique to raise small surface dents.

As far as what may remain, that’s all part of the piece, isn’t it? I’d sure hate to lose that beautiful patina to a piece that looks brand new. Coaxing the beauty out of the wood is part of the fun of refinishing, I think.

I have crow’s feet around my eyes, too, but that’s because I’ve been around a while and won’t be trying to sand them off anytime soon :)

-- Ron, Bakersfield, CA. Measure twice, cut twice anyway.

View BertJ's profile


49 posts in 3872 days

#5 posted 05-19-2008 11:14 PM

I agree with most of the above suggestions, but if the gouges are deep you may want to go down to fresh wood. One part of woodworking is learning to match colors. Call it Chemistry 101. Many books on this subject, my friend—gotta learn it sooner or later!

Good luck and send photos!

View marcb's profile


768 posts in 3847 days

#6 posted 05-20-2008 08:20 AM

I steam the bulk of it out, maybe take a light scraping on some parts to smooth it out prior to refinish it, but I’ll shoot to keep the bulk of the old wood in tact.

View herg1's profile


42 posts in 3886 days

#7 posted 05-20-2008 02:28 PM

You actually have two things you would have to match if you decide to plane or scrape the surface. The wood over time has aged and has a patina as stated. You also most likely have a color (tint) that was left behind from the “weird green” that was on it.

I would vote to steam and then unless it is something you just cannot live with, leave it alone.


-- Roger1

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