How to fix a gouge in a table top?

Well, actually a series of gouges. The top of my wife's mother's buffet cabinet was gouged during a move many years ago. Parts are very deep. I have hesitated trying to fix this over the years because it is out of my league. I have asked in the past if I could refinish the entire dining room set as it is showing signs of wear and tear over the years and she finally caved in over Thanksgiving and actually asked if I would give it a shot.
The set is from about 1940 and is mahogany. This will be the first big refinishing project I have ever done. I am partially excited about it because the varnish is cracking and wearing off, mainly on the tops and the backs of the chairs.
The biggest thing I have to deal with is that gouge. It is about six- inches long and about 1/2" or so wide. How do I tackle that? Do I fill it up with filler and then top it off with a shellac stick or something? The good thing about this problem is that it is near the back of the cabinet top and not on the front but, still, it is on the top. I am a little scared to fill it only with putty as I have not had much success with it as I can't seem to "hide" it even in small areas, let alone a large one like this.
Also, anything else I should be on the look out for as I attempt to refinish this? Any gotchas that I need to look out for?
Thanks!
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Is this a depression or a ripped out rough?
For a depression you could try the wet cloth and a steam iron to re-raise the wood fibers.
after removing the finish get some wood filler that is snadabel and stainable. Sand it off with the wood and then stain and finish it. You will always see it but it gets quite hard to see when it is done from "scratch" (Pun intended)
Well, actually a series of gouges. The top of my wife's mother's buffet cabinet was gouged during a move many years ago. Parts are very deep. I have hesitated trying to fix this over the years because it is out of my league. I have asked in the past if I could refinish the entire dining room set as it is showing signs of wear and tear over the years and she finally caved in over Thanksgiving and actually asked if I would give it a shot.
The set is from about 1940 and is mahogany. This will be the first big refinishing project I have ever done. I am partially excited about it because the varnish is cracking and wearing off, mainly on the tops and the backs of the chairs.
The biggest thing I have to deal with is that gouge. It is about six- inches long and about 1/2" or so wide. How do I tackle that? Do I fill it up with filler and then top it off with a shellac stick or something? The good thing about this problem is that it is near the back of the cabinet top and not on the front but, still, it is on the top. I am a little scared to fill it only with putty as I have not had much success with it as I can't seem to "hide" it even in small areas, let alone a large one like this.
Also, anything else I should be on the look out for as I attempt to refinish this? Any gotchas that I need to look out for?
Thanks!
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Hello, Josepi,
This is ripped out rough. It is a lot worse than a depression. The finish is all gone in that area and you can see the smashed wood fibers, if you know what I mean.
busbus

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The steam technique only works if all the wood material is still there and you may have left it too long to work properly.
I used some wood filler on my oak staircase before sealing, sanding, staining and urethane and they are hardly noticable. It was a special filler that would take stain properly according to the brag on the squeeze tube.
wrote:

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Is this a depression or a ripped out rough?
For a depression you could try the wet cloth and a steam iron to re-raise the wood fibers.
after removing the finish get some wood filler that is snadabel and stainable. Sand it off with the wood and then stain and finish it. You will always see it but it gets quite hard to see when it is done from "scratch" (Pun intended)
Well, actually a series of gouges. The top of my wife's mother's buffet cabinet was gouged during a move many years ago. Parts are very deep. I have hesitated trying to fix this over the years because it is out of my league. I have asked in the past if I could refinish the entire dining room set as it is showing signs of wear and tear over the years and she finally caved in over Thanksgiving and actually asked if I would give it a shot.
The set is from about 1940 and is mahogany. This will be the first big refinishing project I have ever done. I am partially excited about it because the varnish is cracking and wearing off, mainly on the tops and the backs of the chairs.
The biggest thing I have to deal with is that gouge. It is about six- inches long and about 1/2" or so wide. How do I tackle that? Do I fill it up with filler and then top it off with a shellac stick or something? The good thing about this problem is that it is near the back of the cabinet top and not on the front but, still, it is on the top. I am a little scared to fill it only with putty as I have not had much success with it as I can't seem to "hide" it even in small areas, let alone a large one like this.
Also, anything else I should be on the look out for as I attempt to refinish this? Any gotchas that I need to look out for?
Thanks!
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busbus wrote:

Best would be a dutchman - another piece of mahogany. Even up the gouge so it is of a uniform width and depth; any easy way to do that is with a router and straight bit. Make the depth at least 1/4".
Make a new piece the same dimensions but *slightly* thicker than the gouge depth and *slightly *wider than the gouge width. Now taper the side(s) of the dutchman slightly so that the bottom is an easy fit into the gouge. Glue in and clamp firmly. After the glue is dry (wait several days), plane/scrape/sand the dutchman flush.
An even easier way is to use the router and a template to both even up the gouge and make the male part but you need to understand how to offset the cuts so they fit. If the male portion winds up a bit snug you can squish it in a vice; it will swell when you glue it in.
It will be less noticeable if you taper the ends of the gouge and dutchman so that they aren't 90 degrees to the sides.
--

dadiOH
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You said it, buster.... we exclusively use snadabel materials [sic]
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Soak the block for the dutchmen in water, then clamp hard and wait for it to dry. Cut the dutchmen, then install.
Same as with biscuits, the water from the glue will make them swell back up tight.
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wrote:

How deep is it? How many fibers did it tear out? Is it a scrape (to be filled or replaced)? Or just a depression (which might be steamed out)? etc.
A picture is worth 1,000 words, so find a way to put one online for us.
-- Happiness comes of the capacity to feel deeply, to enjoy simply, to think freely, to risk life, to be needed. -- Storm Jameson
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wrote:

Oh, it is deep! You said it: something must've fallen then shifted to one side or the other and tore up a nice long piece.
I was afraid the best answer would be to rout the spot out and put a new piece of wood in it. If I need to do this, then I think a LOT of playing around is going to be called for because I ain't never done that before and this piece of furniture holds sentimental value for my wife.
Here is another stupid question: is the type of mahogany used to build this thing 70 or so years ago the same as what is used now? I guess I am asking if it will match up...I guess that is a stupid question.
I was just hoping for an easier answer! Thanks...I will let you guys know what happens. I think I am going to keep this piece until last!!!!!!!!
busbus
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Oh, it is deep! You said it: something must've fallen then shifted to one side or the other and tore up a nice long piece.
I was afraid the best answer would be to rout the spot out and put a new piece of wood in it. If I need to do this, then I think a LOT of playing around is going to be called for because I ain't never done that before and this piece of furniture holds sentimental value for my wife.
Here is another stupid question: is the type of mahogany used to build this thing 70 or so years ago the same as what is used now? I guess I am asking if it will match up...I guess that is a stupid question.
I was just hoping for an easier answer! Thanks...I will let you guys know what happens. I think I am going to keep this piece until last!!!!!!!!
-------------- The usual way is to find somewhere on the piece of furniture which will be invisible when you remove a piece of the original wood to use for the repair. Inside? A drawer back? Art
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I'd look around back of he piece and see if there is like wood that isn't shown. It would be wood of the same vintage and life.
Life - I mean the month it sat on a porch or in a store window - stress and such.
One would carve out the nasty gouge and make an inlay from the wood in the back.
The worst it could be is off color. So one could make a nice looking bow tie or like work. e.g. make it art.
Maybe an easier way is cutting out diamonds - straight lines down the line and filling them with wood out of the back.
Or something like that out of contrasting wood to make a design.
Martin
On 11/29/2010 4:49 PM, busbus wrote:

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On 11/29/2010 4:49 PM, busbus wrote:

How about a new layer of veneer or possibly a thicker wood to resurface the entire top. Whats to stop you from putting on a new 3/4 inch layer with a decorative edge molding all around the new top to blend in with the original? Maybe you could cut out the center of the old top leaving a 2 or 3 inch frame around the outside then drop a new top into the center looking like this table top.
http://www.coscoproducts.com/eng/CoscoProductsFiles/ProductImages//800_800_2695_4649.png
LdB
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This thing is slick for making a dutchman: http://preview.tinyurl.com/23m3e7x
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On Mon, 29 Nov 2010 08:40:51 -0800 (PST), Robatoy

@#$%^%& previews...
Hey, he never said the gouge was 3-leaf clover shaped.
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Cover it with Formica. Comes in nice colors to suite any dcor!
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