Chipped Furniture Finish


A Chipped Furniture Finish Can and Should be Repaired

Does your favorite piece of furniture have a chipped finish? There are many reasons that furniture becomes chipped. Some of the most common include accidentally hitting it with a vacuum cleaner, bumping it into a wall or another piece of furniture while moving it, and not being gentle when putting something heavy on top of it. No matter the reason, discovering a chipped finish is upsetting. The good news is that many types of finishes can be repaired.

hen a piece of wood furniture is chipped, the goal is to fill in the gouge with either the original piece of wood or with wood filler. It is best to fix the chipped area as soon as it is discovered because when a damaged piece of wood furniture is exposed to the elements (including dust and moisture), the exposed dent will be more susceptible to further damage. In order to maintain the beauty of the furniture and to ensure its longevity, it should be repaired.

Steps to Repair Chipped Furniture

1) Look carefully at the chipped area and examine the damage. Did the chip occur recently or has it been chipped for a while? If the damage just happened, look around to see if you can find the missing piece of wood.

  • If you can locate the missing piece of wood, save it until the area is clean and ready.


2) The chipped area will need to be cleaned and sanded before it is repaired. Using a very small piece of sand paper, rub the area where the chip occurred. The goal is to remove the remaining pieces of splintered wood.

  • The sanding process should only require a few strokes in the chipped area and not more.
  • Make sure to limit the area that is sanded to the chip spot and do not sand any part of the wood that is not damaged.


3) Using a clean cloth that has been dipped in mineral spirits, gently and quickly rub the chipped area. Then allow the area to dry.

4) If you have the piece of original wood, you will want to glue it back in place using wood glue.

5) If you do not have the original piece of wood, you will need to fill in the chipped area with wood putty or wood filler.

  • Make sure to use putty or filler that matches the original color of the wood.
  • Allow the first layer of putty or filler to dry. When dry, if it is not level with the surface of the surrounding wood, add a second layer.


6) When the wood glue or the wood putty/filler is dry, you will sand the area with sand paper so that the repaired area is completely level with the rest of the piece.

7) Using a clean cloth that has been dipped in mineral spirits, gently and quickly rub the repaired area to remove all left-over dust.

8) Apply a coat of finish on the repaired area, making sure to use the same type as the original finish.

9) When the newly applied finish is dry, apply liquid wax and buff until the finish is uniform.

Chipped Finish – Not Chipped Wood

If you see an area on your furniture’s finish that is chipped, but the underlying wood is not chipped, it is often possible to fix the chipped finish with a drop of clear nail polish. Simply apply the nail polish using a toothpick or the brush that came with the nail polish bottle. It may be necessary to add more than one layer, but be sure to allow each layer to dry thoroughly before adding the next one. When dry, sand the area using sand paper and then polish and buff to a nice finish.

A chipped finish can be repaired with a little bit of effort. While the repaired area may be noticeable to people who are really looking for it, most who look at the furniture will never know that damage ever existed! It is important to repair chipped furniture so that further damage to the piece can be kept to a minimum.

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