How to Repair Broken Corners and Edges on Furniture

Video Transcript

Video Transcript

RON HAZELTON:

This armoire is kind of special to me.  It came out of the Intercontinental Hotel in New York City while they were having a liquidation sale.  Now I like the way that it looks but it also has some really nice features.

My wife and I do a lot of TV watching from bed and this has got a great pull-out and swivel at just the right height.  And down here, a real hotel bonus feature, a built-in refrigerator.  But because this was a liquidation sale, I had to carry this out myself and in the process I broke off the corner right here. 

It’s the only thing about this armoire that’s kind of bugged me, so I’m going to fix it right now.  Now this armoire is in two sections.  I’ve slid the top in this direction so that it’s overhanging.  That will allow me to work on it more easily.  Now what’s going to allow me to make this repair right here in the bedroom is this material.  It’s actually called Polyester Resin.

You can think of it as a putty with a hardener.  I’m going to be putting it on this area here, letting it harden and then shape it.  But in order to keep this from spilling off onto the floor, I’ve taken a scrap piece of wood and I’m going to attach this right under here.

I spray some WD40 on the board to act as a release agent and keep the putty from sticking to the wood.  Then clamp the board in place.  I remove a golf ball sized scoop of putty and place it on a scrap piece of acrylic plastic for mixing.

This hardener comes with the putty and acts as a catalyst, starting a chemical reaction that will turn the material from really gooey into rock hard.  The more hardener I put in, the faster the putty will set up.  The amount I added today will give me about five minutes of work time.

What I’m trying to do here is fill up the void left by the broken away wood.  I don’t worry about being overly neat.  The idea is just to get the material in place while it’s soft. 

Now as this material dries, there’s a window, maybe five or ten minutes when it’s firm but pliable, easily shaped.  And that’s where I am right now.  So I’m going to begin removing the excess material. 
[MUSIC]

I removed most of the extra putty by simply cutting it away with a utility knife.  In a few more minutes, the material will be way too hard to do this.

The putty is now firm enough that I can remove the board and begin shaping.  Files and rasps work well for this.  The tool I’m using though is called a micro plane.  I like it because the stainless steel cutting teeth are very sharp and non-clogging.

It if reminds you of a cheese grater, that’s because the manufacturer also makes kitchen utensils using the very same technology. 

With most of the shaping done, I’m ready to start smoothing the surface.  Sandpaper wrapped around dowels works really well for this.

[MUSIC]

I use larger dowels for bigger curves and smaller dowels for tighter ones.
[MUSIC]

Well the missing material has been replaced.  Now the challenge is going to be to restore the color and finish.  This filler that I put in here won’t accept wood stain so that’s not an option.

Instead I’m going to be using artist’s acrylic colors.  For this project, the colors I’ll use most will be the earth tones, sienna and umber along with red.  I dip my brush in water and mix two or more of the colors together until I’ve got a shade that looks close.

Then I apply it to the surface.  If the color is off, I just let it dry a few minutes and try again by painting a different color on top. 
[MUSIC]

Okay, I’ve replaced the missing material, gotten the color to match.  Now I need to put a top coat on so that the sheen or shine will also match.  And for that, I’ll sue spray lacquer. 

I keep the spray can about a foot or so from the surface moving in even strokes.  And take my finger off the nozzle at the end of each pass.  Several light coats works best.
[MUSIC]

Well there you go, you’d never know that little mishap took place and my piece of hotel history, well it’s never looked better.

A technique for replacing and restoring missing or damaged edges and corners on furniture and cabinets.

This attractivel armoire was rescued from a landmark New York City hotel that was going out of business. The piece was in great shape except for one corner that was broken off and missing.

NOTE:  The polyester resin used in this project is available from most home improvement centers, online and from auto parts stores.

Support the Wood Filler with a Small Board during Application
Step 1

Support the Wood Filler with a Small Board during Application

Clamp a flat smooth scrap of wood beneath the repair area to support the polyester resin during application. Spray the board first with WD-40 lubricant to limit sticking and make it release easily after the resin dries.

Mix the Catalyst and Wood Filler Resin before Repair Application
Step 2

Mix the Catalyst and Wood Filler Resin before Repair Application

Scoop a small amount of resin wood filler onto a flat surface and mix in the supplied catalyst before applying it to the furniture repair. Per directions, more catalyst will speed up the chemical reaction that hardens the resin.

Apply the Activated Resin Wood Filler Quickly before It Hardens
Step 3

Apply the Activated Resin Wood Filler Quickly before It Hardens

Apply the mixture to the broken furniture quickly to fill gaps and form a thick edge that can be shaped like the original later. Neatness is not too critical, but applying sufficient mixture before the resin hardens is important.

Cut away Excess Resin Wood Filler with a Utility Knife
Step 4

Cut away Excess Resin Wood Filler with a Utility Knife

Let the resin wood filler set to a firm-but-pliable consistency. Remove most of the excess material from the furniture repair. Start by cutting the edges with a utility knife, leaving enough margin for finer shaping in the next steps.

Shape the Fully-hardened Resin Wood Filler
Step 5

Shape the Fully-hardened Resin Wood Filler

Unclamp the wood support and begin shaping the fully-hardened resin wood filler. Use a wood rasp or stainless steel micro-blade that is designed to remain free of debris. Contour the surface to mimic the undamaged area of the furniture.

Smooth the Resin Wood Filler Furniture Repair with Sandpaper
Step 6

Smooth the Resin Wood Filler Furniture Repair with Sandpaper

Wrap sandpaper around a wooden dowel to smooth small curved surfaces of the furniture repair, using the free edges to hold the make-shift tool. Match the diameter of the dowel to the size of the curved resin wood filler surface.

Paint the Completed Resin Shape with Artist's Acrylic Colors
Step 7

Paint the Completed Resin Shape with Artist's Acrylic Colors

Paint the smoothed resin wood filler with artist's acrylic colors. The resin does not accept wood stain. Mix earth tones with red or other highlights to match the wood and apply another coat if the color is not exact.

Mask Off the Furniture Repair and Protect the Surrounding Finish
Step 8

Mask Off the Furniture Repair and Protect the Surrounding Finish

Mask off the resin wood filler repair when the acrylic paint dries. Painters tape and newspaper work well. Add a face mask for your own protection, because you will be working with an aerosol lacquer in the final step.

Spray the Resin Wood Filler with Lacquer for Gloss
Step 9

Spray the Resin Wood Filler with Lacquer for Gloss

Coat the resin wood filler repair with lacquer, holding the spray can a foot from the surface. Move back and forth in several light passes, removing your finger from the spray button at the end of each pass.