But before you roll up your sleeves, keep in mind a valuable antique should be evaluated by a qualified appraiser before any restoration is attempted, as refinishing an antique can diminish its value. If you decide to have an antique or valuable piece of furniture restored, you would be better off leaving that to a restoration professional as well. However, for ordinary furniture, there are a number of fixes that you can employ to improve its appearance.
Clear Nail Polish
Sometimes there is only damage to the clear finish on a piece of furniture and you can fill in the crack or crevice with clear nail polish. Let a few drops level the crack and allow it to dry; sand the surface lightly then restore the glossy finish on the entire piece by rubbing it down with auto polishing compound on a clean rag.
Touch Up Markers
Home improvement stores carry touch up markers in a variety of colors to match any wood finish. Choose one that is closest to your piece of furniture and use it to fill scratches and chipped edges where bare wood is visible. Touch up markers should be used only where bare wood is exposed and not where the finish is unspoiled.
Your local home improvement store also carries touch up wax sticks in different wood tones. Rub it across a chipped surface to fill in any gouges or depressions, letting the wax build up until it is higher than the undamaged surface of the furniture. Place a piece of cardboard over the treated area and gently rub down the wax until it is level with the surrounding surface. Follow with a clean rag and carefully wipe away the excess wax while blending in the edges of the repair. Use a clear coat of aerosol urethane to seal the restoration.
Chip Repair Kits
A chip repair kit contains several produces and involves is a multi step process that dries to a hard plastic finish. Choose the kit that most closely resembles your finish and blend the colors in the kit to create a perfect match. Then apply the compound and blend it into the damaged area. After the compound is dry, lightly sand the surface then apply the clear finish compound included in the kit.
A chipped section or loose layer of wood can be replaced with a patch veneer taken from an inconspicuous area of the same piece of furniture or you may purchase a sheet of matching veneer. For a small chip, veneer edging tape may be all that is needed for a successful repair.
The patch veneer must be cut exactly the same shape and size as the damaged section and then attached with contact cement or carpenter's glue. Clamps or a heavy object should be used to secure the repair for a day or two until the bond is secure, then the seam around the patch can be lightly sanded and the patch can be refinished to match the surrounding wood.