a complete wood repair newbie on how to repair ornate wood trim

If you’d like to know how to repair wood carvings, and have a good sense of shaping material, I will teach you how I did it myself. I have a cane I use if my ankle is sore and I’ve dropped it one too many times. The right side of the naga’s face was broken off partially, and the tongue was chipped off. This is some really delicate work to restore, not just a ding you fill with wood putty. The cane can’t be ordered anymore, either.

This cane was handcarved in Indonesia and was purchased from National Geographic's store, Novica

This cane was handcarved in Indonesia and was purchased from National Geographic’s store, Novica

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The left side and tongue were heavily damaged

I

IMG_20140705_102236_672 asked Ken, the owner how to repair the trim and he suggested two-part epoxy, like this stuff:

I got this stuff at the Ace Hardware store over on Cooper Point and Harrison, on the West Side of Olympia.

I got this stuff at the Ace Hardware store over on Cooper Point and Harrison, on the West Side of Olympia.

Okay, so the epoxy is designed to be carvable, sandable and stainable. The finish would be easy to match since it’s just a basic espresso.

I start off by cutting up a paper cup for mixing the two parts of the chemicals together.

You don't want to ruin a nice cup.

You don’t want to ruin a nice cup.

 

The instructions for this particular epoxy called for a 1:1 ratio which I mixed thoroughly

The instructions for this particular epoxy called for a 1:1 ratio which I mixed thoroughly

 

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I applied the mixture in dabs, roughly shaping it to the angle of the face and putting a dab on the tongue.IMG_20140705_104325_062

Letting it dry into a putty like texture, after 20 minutes I was able to shape the tongue and face to match the other side that wasn’t damaged. It required a lot of babysitting, especially the tongue which kept trying to droop until it had hardened enough to stay curved.

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It looks the same when dried – there’s no shrink. Now it was time to smooth the rough edges, using some simple tools. Nail file, sanding block and whittling knife! I would have liked better tools but this is all I had to work with.

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Done! Now it’s time to stain, using a stain marker.

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Not perfect, but much better!