That depends on how deep the scratches are and where they are located. These days the materials needed that can fix most moderate scratches are readily available. Let’s start with the simplest solution first.
First of all, we need to clean the cabinets with some Murphy’s oil. This can take off most gunk on the cabinets as well as clean any contaminates in the scratches. Wipe dry with a soft cloth. Any residue still left behind should be removed using very fine steel wool. Very gently rub the spot with the steel wool. Be gentle and don’t encompass a large area. Just try to remove the gunk.
After you remove the gunk, again wipe clean with the Murphy’s oil soap and dry with the soft cloth. Then apply some Orange Glo furniture polish on a clean white cloth and further clean up and polish the wood. Now look at the cabinets and see what nicks or scratches are still visible.
Next, use a Minwax stain marker to touch up any minor scratches. The Minwax markers are like magic markers and are available at most hardware stores. Get the color that resembles the color of your cabinets. They come in several colors. Using the stain pen, just start filling in the damaged spots. Apply the stain generously, wipe up any excess with a paper towel and then let it sit for a while. You could probably let it sit for a few hours or overnight. However, if you get impatient, you can move from one cabinet to another with the cleanup and touchup process. Then work back to the first cabinet again to check the stain and see if a little more stain is needed. After you have let the stain dry for a while, you can buff it out.
If the cabinets have deeper gouges, you can use a putty stick or Minwax stained putty. Just get one the color of your cabinets. To use the putty, carefully clean the crack or gouge with the tip of a craft knife, and then press the putty firmly in with the tip of a craft knife or the edge of a putty knife. Wood filler shrinks slightly as it dries, so press it in tightly and leave it mounded slightly above the surface of the wood.
Wood filler dries fairly quickly, but let it set for a while. Read the instructions to clarify the exact dry time needed. Then smooth the patch lightly with fine-grit sandpaper and buff the area with fine steel wool. If surrounding finish is involved, feather the edges so that the new patch blends in with it. When you are finished, clean the area of any residue, then wax and polish the surface.
It is not uncommon that most scratches can be repaired very easily with these simple products. Just be patient and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Ask the Builders is written by Rod Pearson, one of two partners of Touchstone Builders, a local residential and commercial construction company serving the greater Santa Barbara area. They can be reached at 898-1920. Send questions to email@example.com