How to Repair Damaged Furniture

Here’s a super simple trick to repair damaged furniture. A lot of old furniture is damaged in some way, whether it’s your own furniture or a thrift find. So let’s learn how to repair those chewed up marks, holes, chipping veneer, hardware holes, large scratches, missing corners, trim etc.

Get more of my favorite Tips for Repairing Old Furniture here!

The process is the same no matter what you’re trying to repair.

But once you paint it, no one will see the difference.

When we bought these chairs, they had bite marks on some of the legs as well as holes where I imagine leg braces used to be.

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To repair damaged furniture we use:

Plastic Spreader – I love the handles on these!
Razor Blade Scraper – Not the exact one I used, but I prefer this style for this job.
Wood Filler

Here is a video showing a very similar fix using Bondo!

If this looks similar to your furniture and you want to get the damage fixed before you paint your furniture, you’re in the right place.

These dining chairs had some pretty good damage, but we wanted to paint them and we sure didn’t want that big hole or the scratches there.

Using Bondo is pretty simple and quick. It’s way faster than wood fillerespecially when you are filling in deep holes and it drys a lot harder too!

Damaged and chewed up chair leg

How to Repair Damaged Furniture

Step One: Sand around all of the holes with 220 grit sandpaper, then wipe the dust off.

Step Two: Mix up the Bondo (per the instructions of the can) and fill in all the holes, bite marks and gouges, broken corners, or any other damage with your plastic spreader.

Bondo applied over damaged area of chair leg

*Tip: Mix up small batches of Bondo, and work fast. It dries quickly!

*Extra Tip: Use extra Bondo when filling holes, so they are overfilled a little but. This helps so you don’t need to keep applying layers of Bondo.

Step Three: Once the bondo is set, but not hard (about 5-10 minutes) use a utility knife to cut / scrape away the excess Bondo.

Without this step it will take a long time to sand the bondo smooth, because once the Bondo is completely hard and dry it gets really hard to sand.

Utility knife cutting through drying bondo
Cut off excess Bondo before it hardens completely

Step Four: After the Bondo is completely dry (overnight is good) sand the bondo smooth with 100 grit sandpaper and up to 220 grit sandpaper

Step Five: Fill any small imperfections with wood filler. Or apply another thin coat of Bondo.

Now you can paint!

Here are some more Bondo tips and tricks to repair chewed up wood furniture.

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Can you Stain Bondo?

Bondo will not take stain like wood does. Actually no wood filler actually takes stain like wood does.

Check out this wood stain repair tutorial to learn more.

If you want to make Bondo blend in with wood, it is best to use this Bondo Wood Filler.

It mixes up just like regular Bondo, but it looks more like wood filler.

When the Bondo is set and dry, you can use different shades of gel stain to hide the repair.

Click here to learn How to Stain Bondo Wood Filler!

This is a good video that explains the process. But with another one of my favorite products for wood repair, Kwikwood! Learn more about how I use Kwikwood to fill in hardware holes when changing hardware on a dresser.

Like this video shows, you can paint gel stain on the filler to mimic wood stain. Gel stain can fix wood filler that won’t stain!

How long does Bondo take to dry?

It depends on the weather and how much hardener you mixed into the base, but it should be hardening enough that you can’t spread it after 5 minutes.

The back of the can says that it cures in 20 -30 minutes.

After it has cured, you can sand it down.

Can Bondo be used on wood?


The pink auto body filler can even be used on wood! (That’s the kind I prefer to use because you can see if enough red hardener was mixed in or not).

Bondo can also be used on aluminum, concrete, and fiberglass.

Best way to sand Bondo?

Shaping the Bondo with a utility knife before it completely dries really helps when it comes to sanding Bondo.

But there is still going to be sanding involved to get it nice and smooth.

If you can, sand the Bondo down with a power sander and 220 grit sandpaper.

If you are stuck hand sanding, start with more coarse grit sandpaper like 100 grit to remove the most excess quickly. Then work your way up to 220 grit sandpaper to get a really nice smooth repair.

Related: What Paint to Use on a Dresser

After you have repaired your furniture, don’t make these five biggest furniture painting mistakes!

Have you tried this trick? I would love to know how it goes! Comment below!

Dried bondo sanded level with chair leg
Full view of dining chair after repairs
Holes filled and sanded smooth

Until next time,


Other Painted Furniture Makeovers you might like:

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chair leg with text overlay

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  1. Diana Angel says:

    Is this a technique you learned yourself? I have a table I need to fix and am also worried it won't stain well. Going to try your technique, thank you so much. Love your chair results

  2. It's a combination of so many techniques learned over the years. Best of luck with your project!

      1. Hey Bee! Yes and no. There is more info on how to stain bondo in the post above.

  3. This is amazing! I never would have thought it would be that easy to repair a broken chair or any furniture. Your step by step guide is very helpful! Thank you for sharing.

  4. Tori Raddison says:

    It was really helpful when you suggested using a utility knife to cut the excess Bondo because that’ll save me a lot of sanding. I got a puppy last year and he has been chewing on everything we own! Now that he’s a little older and knows not to do that, my husband and I have started making the repairs. Our wooden chairs are totally destroyed so I’m going to have to get some help with them.

    1. The utility knife part is the best secret to using Bondo! Sorry about your furniture!

  5. Is anyone going to call out the fact that the “repaired” leg is not the one as the damaged leg? Look at where the damage is in relation to where the bindi starts.

    1. Hey there! You’re right, the finished photo isn’t the same leg! When I was taking photos, I wasn’t planning on sharing on the blog. So when I posted, I didn’t have photos of the same leg. But I can assure you that it worked great and has worked time and time again for me!

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