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raising dents in wood

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by poomwah, Mar 17, 2008.

  1. poomwah


    Jan 26, 2008
    I've heard that you can raise a dent in wood by wetting it and applying heat from an iron. has anyone ever done this? does it work? any warnings?
  2. Phil Mailloux

    Phil Mailloux

    Mar 25, 2005
    Brisbane, Australia
    Builder: Mailloux Basses
    Yes it works, you need to wet a little area of a towel, put that wet towel bit on top of your dent and stroke a hot soldering iron on the towel. The iron will make steam and raise the grain under that area. There's so much you can do though and it won't fix the wood if the fibers have been broken.
  3. poomwah


    Jan 26, 2008
    thanks Phil
  4. mrniceguy715


    May 2, 2006
    an answer I actaully knew lol
  5. Nelson Guitars

    Nelson Guitars

    Aug 14, 2006
    Novato California
    Custom builder
    This does work really well. I only have to add that time is a factor you can use to advantage. Put a drop right on the dented area and avoid getting it on the adjacent surfaces. Let it soak in a bit. Sometimes you won't even need the heat. Only apply the heat after letting the drop of water soak in for about five minutes.

    We are talking about unfinished wood here right? Applying heat to any sort of finish would be a disaster.

    Also, this technique works well with most wood if it has been damaged by compression. If any of the original wood has gone missing then you really don't have any hope of swelling the adjacent wood fibers enough to fill in the space. Seems obvious, but I have seen stranger things tried when people are trying to fix problems.

    Greg N
  6. poomwah


    Jan 26, 2008
    yeah, its on bare wood, there are some dings that I'd rather not sand out, but I will only if I HAVE to. I still havent figured out the screw holes though, so this post may not have been necessary, I might wind up filling the dents and screw holes and going with an opaque finish instead :[ not what I want, but hey, what are ya gonna do

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