Saturday, 24 May 2014

Fixing dents in Ercol tables

I'm slowly progressing with the refurbishment of my nest of dark Ercol Pebble occasional tables. The smallest has been completely rubbed down and I've set to work on the largest. Apart from the nasty cream paint and removal of the original dark stain it has a few little 5mm wide dents on the surface of the tabletop. I had starting sanding this and it became apparent that marks would still be visible below stain level and I didn't want to have to carry on sanding good wood to remove them. Apart from the work involved, pebble tops are rather thin and I didn't want to weaken it more than necessary. Sanding had reached the level that clean wood was visible overall but stain still remained in the grain. I had come across a dent removal solution involving use of a steam iron but decided to try just cold water with a tiny amount of washing up detergent. The dents in the top were just compression damage and no wood had been removed and I was hoping that water would soak into the crushed wood fibres causing them to swell to their original shape and the dents would "heal". The technique used was to wet the immediate area around a dent leaving a standing puddle which was left for several hours, (or days depending on what I was doing), then repeated probably 6-7 times. I haven't made any scientific measurement but it does seem to have been successful in reducing denting significantly to the extent that the sanding still needed to remove the grain staining will be enough and this final rub down will also remove some light water staining has occurred.

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