How to Fix Dents and Cracks in Wooden Corbels

What You'll Need
Wood putty
Wood filler
Putty knife
Wood stain or paint
Primer if using paint
Polyurethane sealer

Dents and cracks in wooden corbels can make the decorative wooden pieces look less appealing. However, such damage can be hidden using wood putty or wood filler. These compounds can hide the crevices to make the woodwork look good again.

Step 1 – Prep the Damages for Repairs

Remove any loose debris inside the dents and cracks. Be careful with wood splinters, as these can pierce skin. Before applying the wood filler, sand the surface of the wood to prepare it for sealing. Applying wood sealer after repairs will not only enhance the appearance of the wood, but it will also hide the repairs much better.

Step 2 – Choose What Compound to Use

There are two types of wood compound that you can use for repairs: wood filler and putty. Wood filler is a compound that cures and hardens quickly. It is tougher and harder than putty, so use this when dealing with larger and wider cracks and deep holes. The downside to wood filler is that you cannot smooth it.

Putty, by contrast, is a compound that cures slowly, usually in a day or two, and can be shaped or smoothed with a putty knife. Use this when dealing with relatively small or narrow cracks or dents or to cover hammered nails or screws. Choose a color that matches the wooden corbels. If an exact match cannot be found, purchase two separate colors and blend them together to get the correct color tone.

Step 3 – Fill the Cracks

Fill the small cracks with wood putty using a putty knife.  Allow the putty to fill the entire space. For dents, use the knife to shape the putty to conform to the contour of the corbel surface. Take some time to get the shape correct, especially on highly curved surfaces. Use a finger to smooth out the edges. Allow to dry.

Fill deep holes and larger cracks with wood filler. Mix the filler according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Do not make the mixture pourable, or it may not stick correctly to the space in the cracks. Use a putty knife to apply the compound. Shape it correctly as with the putty. Push it further down the crack or hole with a popsicle stick or toothpick. Allow the compound to dry overnight. Sand to level the surface. Next, apply putty on the area for a smoother surface.

Step 4 – Paint or Stain

Sand over the filled spaces of the wooden corbels with fine grit sandpaper to make the paint or stain adhere to it easily. If stain is to be used, be sure that the color of the putty or filler nearly matches the color of the wood. Apply the stain evenly and allow it to dry. Decide whether to apply a second coat to darken the color. Leave the stain to dry. When opting to use paint, prime the wood with a quality primer. Sand the primer coat after it dries. Apply the finishing coat and let it dry overnight.

Step 5 – Apply Polyurethane Sealer

Using polyurethane sealer for wood will provide the best sealing results. Use a paintbrush to apply the sealer once. Ensure that the sealer is applied evenly. Wait for the sealer to dry.