Wood furniture costs a lot and depending on the degree of the damage you may have to search “furniture repair near me” and hire a reputable professional to fix it for you. However, if it’s just a bit of chipping, you can take care of it yourself at home. Let’s check out how you can fix chips in furniture:

The Ways

  1. Fixing chipped finish – If it’s a slight scratch or the finish has been chipped at the surface level, then fixing it is very easy. Start by testing the finish. Knowing the finish lets you apply the appropriate fix. Get lacquer thinner on a dry cloth and dab it on a part of the furniture that’s hidden from view. While testing the finish, you may damage it. That’s why you need to apply the thinner on an inconspicuous part.

After applying the thinner you need to feel it by hand. If the thinner softens, its lacquer finish and if it remains hard, it’s alkyd varnish or polyurethane finish. Now you need to fill up a spray bottle with lacquer thinner and spray it lightly over the chipped area if it’s a lacquer finish. The thinner will dissolve the lacquer and make the nick disappear. Later the thinner will harden and the finish would be restored.

On the other hand, if the finish is varnish, you need to rub it gently with super fine steel wool. Rubbing should flatten the finish and make it blend in with the rest of the surface. If that doesn’t work, you need to get a cotton swab and dab some new varnish on the chipped finish. Allow the varnish to dry overnight and rub it again with steel wool to flatten it. Repeat this process till you get satisfactory results.

  1. Sand it down – If the chipped area is big and beyond the surface level, then you have a lot on your plate. You need to start by sanding down the chipped areas in order to remove little shreds and irregularities. It’s best if you have a sander. Plug it into the wall and sand down the chipped area until it’s smooth. You can also do this by hand with coarse sandpaper. However, that will take a lot of time and you’ll get exhausted very quickly. You need to sand down the chipped area until it’s nice and smooth to the touch.
  1. Rub down the dust – After you sand down the chipped area, take a dry rag and wipe it down to get rid of any residual dust. You can also use a vacuum cleaner with a narrow attachment to clean the dust.
  1. Mix the wood putty – Get a wood putty of your choice and follow the manufacturer’s instructions to mix it. Bondo is a brand that is very popular among DIYers and you can use the same. It comes in the form of a kit with putty, a hardener, and a metal spatula. Pour the putty into a clean plate and add a few small drops of hardener, get the spatula and mix it well.

Wood putty is also known as plastic wood and is perfect for filling up the chipped area. It is usually made of wood dust with a binder and a thinner. Sometimes it might contain pigments as well. It is a ready-to-use product that dries up on the applied area and bonds with the wood. However, unlike regular wood putty Bondo is usually preferred due to its ease of use and super quick hardening times. That means you have to get to work quickly after you mix Bondo.

  1. Apply the wood putty on the chipped region – Scrape the mixed wood putty with your metal spatula and apply it to the chipped area. Start with small amounts and keep applying the wood putty till you get the desired shape.

For instance, if the furniture has a cylindrical leg and it has a large portion chipped away, you need to apply the wood putty numerous times till you can get a roughly rounded shape. Once you get the desired shape, you need to let the wood putty rest and harden. If it’s Bondo, it will rest within a few minutes. Other types of wood putty will take some time. With other types of wood putty, you may have to apply and harden several times. Otherwise, excess wood putty may fall off the furniture.

  1. Sand it again – Once the wood putty is nice and hard, take your electric sander or 150 grit sandpaper and sand it down till the surface is smooth. If you choose to do it manually with the sandpaper, you need to use quite a lot of elbow grease. If you’re a beginner at furniture repair, you can start slow.

Sand the hardened putty for a few minutes and feel its smoothness. Keep repeating till you get a completely smooth surface. However, the end goal isn’t just making the surface smooth. You also need to sand it to make the putty into the exact shape that you need. Take your time because this is the most important step.

  1. Paint and finish – After the putty looks like it’s part of the furniture, you need to paint the surface. If it’s wooden color, you can mix in brown, black, and white to get the perfect base shade. After the base color is painted, you can stroke the grains with a rough bristle brush.

After you paint and match the finish of the furniture, spray one coat of sealant and let it dry. After that, you can sand it down with 400 grit sandpaper. You can repeat this process and apply two more coats of sealant to protect the furniture from insects and moisture damage.


Now that you know how to fix chipped furniture, you should be able to do it on your own. Just get the supplies and tools and your furniture would look as good as new within no time. However, if your furniture has major damage, you may need to search for “furniture repair near me” and hire a professional to restore it.