Scratches in the Finish Only
Wet a cleaning rag with paint thinner and use it to scrub the table around the scratches. This will remove the wax and furniture polish buildup that can accumulate on tables over time, making the subsequent repair easier. If the table has no such buildup, then you can skip this step.
Dip the steel wool into the oil and then into your chosen abrasive. Use motor oil, paraffin oil or boiled linseed oil. Polish the table around the scratch with the steel wool, rubbing back and forth with the grain of the wood. Continue polishing until the scratch wears away.
Polish the rest of the table in the same fashion. Abrading the finish will likely remove some of the glossiness, giving the abraded spot more of a satin look. Polishing the rest of the table until it all matches your repair will ensure that the repaired spot does not stand out.
Wipe the oil and abrasive off the table with a clean rag. Polish the table with furniture wax or lemon oil.
Scratches in the Wood
Hold the wax stick above the scratch in the wood. Apply the flame of the lighter to the wax stick so that the molten wax drips into the scratch. Use a barbecue lighter, which is much longer than a cigarette lighter, so that you do not burn yourself.
Heat the edge of the spatula with the lighter. Work the wax into the scratch with the spatula so that the wax completely fills the crack and remains level with the table surface. Scrape any excess wax off the top with the razor blade.
Apply shellac to the repair, so that the other finishes will have something to adhere to. Let it dry and then apply varnish or other desired finish that matches the rest of your table.
Things You Will Need
- Paint thinner
- Steel wool
- Motor oil, paraffin oil or boiled linseed oil
- Pumice or whiting (to act as an abrasive polish)
- Furniture wax or lemon oil
- Barbecue lighter
- Wax stick color matched to your table's wood
- Small spackle spatula
- Razor blade
- Varnish and/or other finishes to match table finishes
- Use crayons as a cheap alternative to a wax stick. Melt different colors together to match your table's color.
- As an alternative to the oil and abrasive treatment, mix equal parts lemon juice and salad oil.