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Small dings and scratches on desk top with leather inserts.
Donald Burch
Club Member
April 29, 2015 - 12:38 pm
Member Since: April 29, 2015
Forum Posts: 1
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I need to know the most compatible wood filler to use. Sanding and stripping is tough as there are 3 leather panels on the top and only 1.5 inches in between them. This is where the bulk of damage is and the only way I can think of to repair is to hand sand and fill the nicks. I think heavy bodied sanding sealer will take many applications to get it smoothed out am thus are looking for the best way or the best filler. I will be staining and applying a tongue oil finish afterward.


Thanks Don

May 3, 2015 - 7:28 am
Member Since: January 18, 2013
Forum Posts: 49
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I can relate with your problem on this and would like to see a picture in order to give you the best advise. 

What are your abilities as far as touching up the filler and finishing? 

 One warning I can give you in advance – Be careful not to tape out the leather inserts without applying a coat or two of finish over them first. Reason is, sometimes the color in the leather and/or gold tooling will lift off with the tape (even blue).  That creates a huge problem and I have seen it happen many times.  If I am going to tape out leather, I ALWAYS apply 1-2 coats of lacquer first as a protective coat. Once it dries within a day or two, I then tape out with blue tape and proceed with the job.

All that being said,  my normal approach in this situation is as follows:

1→Determine is the wood trim is solid or veneer. It’s usually always solid wood on the top of these desks with leather inserts, but double check.

2→I seal the leather inserts with lacquer 100% of the time. Aerosol lacquer will suffice, but it’s low in solids so go with 2-3 coats around the edges where you will tape. The original finish on these desks and the leather is usually lacquer. I wouldn’t use anything else on the leather.

3→Fill the deepest of the dents and gouges with a softer filler like Elmer’s wood filler. I don’t want a hard filler in this situation. I want something that is easy to sand.

4→ I tape out the leather as noted above and with a sander I carefully sand off all the old finish and filler and remove as many imperfections as I can. This is dictated by how deep they are.  The wood trim is higher than the leather, so there is usually room to sand but I take my time and work cautiously.

5→Stain as needed

6→Remove tape and begin finishing the wood trim. I advise against finishing with the tape still on, because a bridge can be created between the tape and the wood and your finish may peel in areas as you remove the tape.  

7→Final coat the entire top.


That is MY normal procedure, but it may or may not be best for you depending on your skill sets.


Good Luck !!

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