What to use to touch up scratches on mahogany?

linnea56January 26, 2009

I just noticed my piano has a lot of small scratches at the bottom. They show up white against the dark finish. Apart from these the finish is otherwise in good shape. What can I use to touch these up?


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It depends to a great degree on the depth of the damage and whether the white is from optical irregularities or wood-penetrating damage. For minimal damage, a spritz of lacquer (assuming the original finish is lacquer) will make it look much better. It gets more complicated from there. The difference between one technique working and not working is often only the matter of 0.001" or so. I did the photo-shoot for this article and we had a difficult time making damage for each of the approaches.

Here is a link that might be useful: Repairing color damage

    Bookmark   January 26, 2009 at 7:04PM
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If you check hobby lobby, they have wood markers it covers up scatches. They have several shades.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2009 at 7:36PM
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Very useful, thanks! Great article. IÂm saving it for future use. Nice diagnostic tool!

Maybe you would know this tooÂI had some furniture moved to my house last week. After the movers left I found a few dents that I THINK were not there before; minor dents in the front moldings that might have been from the ropes they used to strap the pieces down. But I canÂt be sure. I remember reading somewhere about removing or "lifting" small dents with water, the idea being to swell the fibers and bring them up. Is that true?

    Bookmark   January 26, 2009 at 9:32PM
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I do moving claims. Many times I can raise 80-90% of a dent with steam -- I put a drop of water on the spot and wet a rag and then touch my burn-in knife to the spot. To get the last little bit, I usually have to do a repair with a resin stick.

If you are going to get touch up markers (I use them regularly, too), get the ones made with lacquer. The ones you find at most home centers (Minwax comes to mind) are simply stain in a pen. They don't have enough binder (varnish) to hold the color and it's easily wiped off with use unless you top coat it.

One reason I mentioned the diagnoses in this article is the last piano I worked on was at a move claim, though it was not move damage. The panel around the foot pedals had a lot of white scuffs. I used the wet it trick and found the color restored so I sprayed it with a couple of coats of lacquer and the people though I walked on water. Note though, there is another type of white scuff that runs in lines parallel to the floor about 2" above it. These are usually paint transfer from a vacuum cleaner's bumper. Bumper hits white woodwork and picks up paint, then hits furniture and deposits the paint.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2009 at 10:07PM
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Thanks again! I think I will give the dent lifting a try. I donÂt have a burn in knife, how about warming a paring knife tip on the stove burner? Or an X-acto knife? How hot should it be? Like an iron?

About the touch up markers made with lacquerÂis there a brand I should look for? Or will it say lacquer somewhere on the label? I have a Woodcraft store not far away if that would be the right place to find some. When I think about it, I have a lot of scratched furniture! The piano scratches are mostly on the top; I think from picture frames without adequate felt pads. Plus the piano is next to the stairs and the kids often drop small things down to each other rather than carry them; sometimes they miss. I have not caught them at it but I think I can see the evidence now.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2009 at 12:28PM
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