That’s a bit of a whoo-hoo indeed.
– Homer Simpson
I did not expect to have any luck with the problem, so I am charged up over how easy it really was.
There are many tutorials out there about using water and a hot iron to pop dents. Here’s a good video showing the basic technique:
Basically, you dribble some water on the dent, let it soak in, and then use a hot iron to fluff up the compressed wood fibers. For our buffet, though, there’s so much long-term wax build-up that I was concerned about causing white iron-shaped marks on the finish. I didn’t want to use a heat source that I couldn’t observe in process.
Most of the tutorials were for unfinished wood. To get the water past the existing finish, I poked four or five pinholes into the dent.
To keep the water on the edge, I used masking tape as a dam, then dribbled water into the dent. I left it for a little while to penetrate into the holes.
I was concerned about water damage, so I kept mopping it up to check and then dripping new water on the spot. It was probably underwater for 10 minutes all told. I removed the tape and wiped off the water, then used a hair dryer on high aimed right at the dent.
It didn’t take long — the heat and water plumped up the spot quickly. The process dulled the existing finish slightly, but the Restor-a-Finish and wax brought it right back (as well as filling in the pin pricks). I can feel the dent if I run my finger over it, but it is vastly improved.
I am a born skeptic, and I really did not think this would work. But paint me green and call me a pickle — it did!