Fixing table top ding

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Forum topic by Neophyte74 posted 10-15-2019 03:01 AM 377 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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17 posts in 68 days

10-15-2019 03:01 AM

I have a small ding in a Sapele table top I just built. It is half an inch long and about 1/16th of an inch wide. It is at a point where to boards came together during glueup. I have researched wood filler and wood putty and it sounds like wood filler is a better option. Am I correct? How would others fix this defect? The table is sanded but I have not applied finish yet. When I do finish I plan to use arm r Seal semi gloss

11 replies so far

View HerringImpaired's profile


26 posts in 253 days

#1 posted 10-15-2019 03:13 AM

Have you tried steaming it to see if you can raise the grain? Maybe a damp towel with an Iron….

-- "My greatest fear is that upon my demise, my wife will sell my tools for what I said I paid for them."

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5001 posts in 1134 days

#2 posted 10-15-2019 03:59 AM

Photos help. An area of expertise of mine is defect repair. Like Herring suggested, if it’s a dent, you can steam it out. If it’s a gouge, you need to fill it.

Since it’s on a table top, soft fills won’t stand up to use. Like I said, without a photo, you won’t get much help.

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2536 posts in 2342 days

#3 posted 10-15-2019 04:25 AM

I fix dents with just a small drop of water. Steam works too but you might mess up the finish.
I use a sliver of wood to add the water in the dent.

Good Luck

-- Aj

View ChefHDAN's profile


1484 posts in 3394 days

#4 posted 10-15-2019 12:07 PM

If all else fails there is always the option to patch, I resized an entertainment center during the build forgetting that I drew it at the first size because of some defects in the stock for the top. Wound up cutting templates and putting 3 heart shaped patches into the top, they’re now my favorite part of the piece.

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

View ruger's profile


132 posts in 640 days

#5 posted 10-15-2019 02:53 PM

I dropped a maple box off my table saw that I was ready to apply finish to. really bad crush on one corner. I was ready to scrap it and thought,, might as well soak the corner with water and apply heat to it and see what happens.. to my surprise it worked really well. re sanded it and looked great.

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Fred Hargis

5812 posts in 3038 days

#6 posted 10-15-2019 04:27 PM

I’d tried getting it to raise back up with one of the methods mentioned above first.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View Neophyte74's profile


17 posts in 68 days

#7 posted 10-15-2019 07:05 PM

Since it is a small indent I am wondering if it will simply be filled in by the multiple coats of arm r Seal and grain filler that I will be applying.

View Rich's profile


5001 posts in 1134 days

#8 posted 10-15-2019 07:16 PM

Since it is a small indent I am wondering if it will simply be filled in by the multiple coats of arm r Seal and grain filler that I will be applying.

- Neophyte74

I can’t help you with so little information. “A small dent” could mean anything. As has been pointed out, if it’s really a dent, meaning something hit it, you can steam it out. If it’s a gouge, where something removed the wood, steaming won’t work.

The idea behind steaming a dent is that a simple dent involves the wood cells being compressed. Steam will make them swell again and eliminate all or part of the dent.

Obviously, if the wood has been gouged out, that won’t work and a filler is required. There are several different types of filler, and some are totally inappropriate for a table top. But the subject is too broad to cover in detail here.

View 4wood's profile


38 posts in 498 days

#9 posted 10-15-2019 07:30 PM

Make some dents in some of your left over sapele similar to what you have to fix and try all of the methods above until you find one that works the best. I have steamed out many small dents with great success. Below is the link to more information on this site.

View WoodenDreams's profile


806 posts in 455 days

#10 posted 10-15-2019 09:39 PM

As mentioned above, pics help. If you decide wood filler, have you gave mixing your saw dust with glue and use you own filler concoction. Would most likely be a closer match.

View TungOil's profile


1347 posts in 1039 days

#11 posted 10-16-2019 03:14 AM

I’ve been working with nothing but Sapele for the past 2 years. Sapele steams really well, start with that. If you find you have to use a filler the best match I found is Famowood walnut. White glue and sawdust will work if you are not staining the piece, but the glue will not stain the same so avoid that if you are staining.

-- The optimist says "the glass is half full". The pessimist says "the glass is half empty". The engineer says "the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"

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