How to Repair Wooden Tabletop Scratches

by Mary Wroblewski
Nuts to you? Tasty as a snack, they also can make scratches disappear.

Nuts to you? Tasty as a snack, they also can make scratches disappear.

If your home is like many others, then you know it’s sometimes more time-efficient to fix a problem than it is to find out who caused it. So if you’ve discovered scratches on your wooden tabletop, take heart in the fact that there are several ways you can repair the damage, depending on the depth of the scratches and the type of wood. Follow a graduated strategy, increasing the intensity of your tactics until your who-done-it dissolves into a guess-who-fixed-it.

Items you will need

  • Mild dish soap
  • Clean, soft cloths
  • Furniture touch-up pen or crayon
  • Crayons or soft eyebrow pencils
  • Mayonnaise
  • Walnuts
  • Coffee grounds
  • Small bowl
  • Wood polishing compound
Step 1

Clean the tabletop with a mild dish soap and a little water or a mild oil soap to remove dirt, grime, grease and any other impediment. Doing so will reveal the full extent of the damage and give you a clean slate on which to make the repair.

Step 2

Repair minor scratches with a furniture touch-up pen or crayon in a wood shade. Move the applicator tip along the scratch to fill it in and wipe the excess with a clean, soft cloth. If your wood table is an interesting blend of two wood shades, consider using two touch-up pens or crayons to match the finish.

Step 3

Mimic the effect of store-bought furniture pens and crayons with wood-colored crayons from the kids’ art supply cabinet. Or use a soft eyebrow pencil to fill in scratches on your table. Expect a recursive effort; you may have to fill in the scratch, buff the table with a clean cloth and finesse the scratch a second time before achieving the effect you desire.

Step 4

Apply a little mayonnaise to the scratch with a clean cloth. Let it sit for 24 hours before buffing the scratch away. The idea here is that the oil and protein in the mayonnaise will cause the wood to swell so that it will naturally fill the scratch. Expect to make several applications of the mayonnaise for a satisfactory result.

Step 5

Break a walnut in two to reveal its soft interior. Then rub the walnut onto the length of the scratch to fill it naturally with the oils in the nut.

Step 6

Dampen some coffee grounds in a small bowl and apply the mixture to the scratches with a cotton swab. Let the grounds sit on the table for 15 minutes. This technique is better suited to tables that have a darker finish.

Step 7

Apply a wood polishing compound to your tabletop. Prepare to exert some elbow grease to restore luster and shine to your table.

About the Author

Mary Wroblewski has been writing professionally since 1994 for publications such as "Woman's Day," "The Chicago Tribune," "The Chicago Sun-Times" and "Crain's Chicago and New York Business." She has a B.S. in mass communication from Illinois State University and a M.A. in journalism from Northern Illinois University.

Photo Credits

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