The Affray Near The Duvet


– Tatum-Watson Fight, The Simpsons

We pick up most of our furniture a bit at a time. One example is the headboard in Ben’s room. I found it at Marva’s Place in south Minneapolis (recommended–and check out current coupons on their site). It’s a vintage piece, and I like its shape.


Panhandle windmill photo by my darling Uncle Bud.

When I first brought the headboard home, I cleaned it and applied some stain restorer. That brought up the shine quite a bit, but it didn’t really deal with the scuffs and scratches, which are significant.

I guess Boots and Patches had some crazy nights back in the day.

I guess Boots and Patches had some crazy nights.

I was changing the bed recently and realized I still hadn’t dealt with those marks, so I thought it would be fun to try a couple of different techniques and see which worked better. I’ve used stain touch-up pens often, and I’ve also used the walnut trick, but I’ve never compared those techniques head to head. (Walnut trick?? Rub a walnut on finished wood to disguise scuffs.)

Ladies and gentlemen, let’s get ready to rumble!

Walnut v Marker

If nothing else, I keep myself amused.

In this corner, A WALNUT. And in the other corner, a Varathane stain pen in Dark Walnut (because it would match the headboard better, not because it was also “walnut”).

Varathane Marker

I’ve used both Varathane and Minwax stain markers, and they seem about equally effective to me.

I taped off two areas and used the pen on the right and the walnut on the left. To be clear, you rub the walnut meat on the wood, NOT the shell!


Both worked, disguising the scratches by color but obviously leaving the scratches themselves in place (these options are not fillers). Even though both did the job, you can see the difference. Perhaps due to my technique, the pen is a little blotchy. I did buff the pen marks as I made them, and a little extra elbow grease will remove the blotchiness that’s there. But look at the walnut side! The scratches are disguised (except the one in the middle that I missed) and the walnut oil leaves the wood looking conditioned. I was so excited about the result that I did another area to the right of the stain marker space.

extra walnutingHere’s how this area looked before I started.

test areaEven better, the walnut option is quick — you don’t have to rub and rub to achieve stain pen coverage, and you don’t  need to de-blotch. It’s just a once-over. This whole test, including the extra area, took all of a minute.

I’ll admit, I was expecting the stain pen to win by a country mile — I’ve used walnuts before, but only as a stopgap when I didn’t have a stain marker. Putting the two options head to head was a surprise — knock-out by the walnut!



aliforeman_posterI’m not a boxing fan, but you probably guessed that the post title and quote are plays on the famous 1974 Ali-Foreman fight in Kinshasa, popularly referred to as “The Rumble in the Jungle.” This formula was repeated for the “Thrilla in Manila,” the championship fight between Ali and Frazier the following year. Thereafter, boxing lost its syntactical whimsy. Our runners-up:

  • Carnage on the Varnish
  • Pain on the Polyurethane
  • Skirmishings on the Furnishings

(I really loved Carnage on the Varnish, but I reckoned I’d disappoint a lot of non-DIY-minded Googlers.)

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3 Responses to The Affray Near The Duvet

  1. Pingback: Wood Flooring Maintenance Tips from Minwax - News and Updates

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