By wetting/heating the crushed fibers so they swell. Place a damp cloth
over the ding and iron it, check the ding, iron it, check, etc. The
steam/heat may also swell the timber around it.
This isn't a fix all. What are you planning to do this on exactly?
If it's a small ding, put a drop of water in the divot and let it sit
for maybe 15 minutes. Bring the iron up to 3/4 or full heat and place a
small piece of white paper towel or white cotton cloth over the ding and
touch the water spot with the tip of the iron. When the water is
evaporated by the sizzling and spitting examine the area. Repeat as
needed. After the process is finished let it dry completely for a day or
so. Immediately after the ironing, the area could even be raised higher
than the surrounding surface but this will go down once the area returns
to the same moisture content as the rest of the wood. You might have to
repeat even at this point if it didn't come back up all the way.
Couple more things - this won't work 100% if any of the wood fibers
have been severed around the edge of the ding - but it certainly won't
hurt to try. Don't do any machining or sanding of the surface until the
day has passed to allow the wood to dry - if you work the surface before
this you'll likely be able to spot the ding area afterwards due to
differences in moisture content at the time of machining. Lastly, you
may have to do some finish touchup if it's already got a top coat on the
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