I have made hundreds of this epoxy repair to all types of furniture. I would like to share this technique with you so that you too can repair damage to your own furniture.
Shown here is some damage to a piece of furniture. What I have done is to insert a few wood screws. This is to provide something for the epoxy to bite onto and hold. It is always a good idea to insert metal into the repair somehow for strength and to provide a foothold for the epoxy.
The next step is to prepare the epoxy.I like to use this type of epoxy for this kind of a fix. All you need to do is to cut off a chunk from the tube. remove the plastic wrapper and massage in your hand until the 2 colors blend and it becomes soft and pliable. Then simply jam it into the hole ensuring that it goes all the way down in and around the screws. Sometime you need to use a little plunger tool like a small diameter piece of dowel to push the epoxy into place. Then using your hands, simply form it around the edges. You have about 10 – 15 minutes to form your shape and smooth it out with your fingers. When your done, it should look something like this:
So once this is dry (minimum of 12 hours) you can start to file or sand it to shape. I like to start out with a #49 cabinetmakers rasp but you can use any course file or sandpaper that does the trick. The idea is to blend in the repair to the existing profile around it.
Be sure the epoxy is completely dry or you will fill up your file with epoxy. The thicker the repair the longer you need to wait. Start with the file and when it is just about done, switch to sandpaper to remove the file marks. When done, it should look something like this:
The next step is camouflage the repair so it is not noticeable. Since this piece is painted, it makes it pretty easy. It may take some practice for you to get the color just right. Try to paint the repair the same color as the background around it. Brush on the paint in very thin coats and sand between coats. 2 or 3 light coats is much better than 1 heavy coat. When done, it should look like this:
Obviously, it stand out like a sore thumb because the surrounding is much darker. It got that way from 100 years of dirt, grime, and oil from our hands. So we need to reproduce that somehow. I am successful doing this with either waxes or glazes. In this case, I used a dark paste wax. Actually it is Briwax which we carry in the shop. I applied this carefully in one simple dab. If you try to keep going over it you will have trouble because it will “melt” the coat under it. With a little practice and patience you will get the technique. When all done, the repair is hardly noticeable.
One more thing! If you are making repairs to a real antique, it is a good idea to document the repair which includes WHAT was done, WHEN, and by WHOM. This document should be kept with the antique and passed with it when sold or passed down. A good way to do this is with a simple business card stapled to the underside.
I hope you have learned something interesting and can now make repairs to your own furniture.