How to Repair A [Seemingly] Hopeless Dresser

As I mentioned on Monday, I finally found the perfect dresser for the next item on my 2017 Furniture Flip Bucket List.  


There's just a few little problems...

Damage 2.jpg

And one big one.

See what I mean? Gasp!  There's a huge chunk missing from the decorative trim molding.  

Up until this point in my furniture refinishing career, I have only re-attached existing splintered pieces.  I've never conjured missing pieces of a dresser before.  I mean do I whittle it?  Cut the whole section of molding out and replace it with as close a match as I can find?  No my friends.  I am here to tell you today - there is another way.  And all you need is a few items from the hardware store:

A can of minwax wood filler with hardening agent
A wood shaver
A plastic putty knife
Scrap wood
Some sandpaper

After watching a couple helpful videos, I learned that step one is to attach a piece of scrap wood underneath the damaged area with a few screws.

Following the instructions on the Minwax can, I mixed the wood putty with the hardener and applied it quickly to the effected area.

And I applied some to the chips in the veneer on the drawers while I was at it.

After letting it set, I gingerly detached the scrap wood - first by unscrewing it from the dresser, then by cutting away the excess hardened wood filler.

Now comes the fun part - sanding the hardened wood to match the contours on the molding as close as possible.

To get those clean lines, I used a wood shaver on the bottom until the wood filler felt flush with the underside of the drawer frame.

And also on the front edge since sanding would have rounded the edges too much.

After that, it was a matter of sanding the entire body of the piece to prep for paint.

And sanding the drawers to smooth out the repaired areas of the veneer too.

Now it's time to paint.  

Can you spot the repair?

How about now?

Once painted, the damaged areas are virtually undetectable!

I am so pleased to find that such a seemingly "big" problem can be fixed by such a small can of wood filler!

I hope this little tutorial saves a dresser or two from the dump.  And if you end up giving this repair method a try, feel free to share your experience with us!

P.S. Read more about this dresser's transformation on Apartment Therapy!