Do you have a factory-finish cherry dresser with a silky smooth finish? The type of finish that’s so incredibly smooth that it’s difficult to tell if the wood underneath is real or imitation. These spayed-on finishes are quite durable, but do occasionally get scratched, dinged or dented. Such was the case with my client’s cherry dresser. It was damaged during a recent move and she asked if I could repair it.
So what’s the easiest way to repair scratches on cherry furniture like this?
The first thing to do is choose a stain that both matches the furniture and has a full coverage. For these types of projects, I prefer General Finishes Gel Stain. Gel stain is an oil-based stain with a much thicker consistency than Minwax oil-based stains.
I actually brought a drawer to my local Woodcraft shop and they matched the color to Georgian Cherry. Perfectly matched actually.
The next thing I suggest is to dip a clean white rag into the gel stain and wipe it directly on the scratches. In some cases, this will cover the scratches adequately. A few of the scratches on this dresser covered well on this first pass.
If you have an area where the wood is not taking the stain or there are deep dents in the wood, then you’ll need to very lightly sand the area with 220-grit sandpaper. I highly recommend just sanding the tiny area that’s damaged rather than the entire drawer front.
Once sanded, apply the gel stain. It may take three to four applications of the gel stain to fully cover the sanded area, as it did here. Be patient and allow each coat to fully dry before adding another (usually 12 hours).
Once you’ve achieved full coverage of the scratched or sanded area, add a topcoat. The gel stain has a slight sheen and while it may appear you don’t need to seal it, you actually do or the stain will wipe off over time. In this case, I used Minwax rub-on satin polyurethane.
If you live in the Boston area and have solid wood furniture pieces that need an update, let’s talk about how paint or stain could transform them. See this info on my custom furniture painting & staining services…
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