Furniture Makeovers

My Friend Bondo (Not the story of a boy and his faithful dog, horse or dolphin)

Seriously, what do people do to their furniture?

My furniture sits quietly minding its own business and I, for the most part, leave it alone. The furniture I acquire for my business however always appears to have participated in Furniture Thunderdome: Two End Tables Enter One End Table Leaves.

But, since my business is more string than shoe I gotta take what I can get.

I used to kind of dread these repairs. Spackle and wood putty work great for dings and scratches and minor stuff but if the piece recently won a cage fight it was always a pain – particularly if there was some corner detail or intricate doo-dad that had been, um, wounded.

And then I found Bondo.

If you’re not familiar with it Bondo it’s made for auto body repair. It’s super strong, super durable and easily molded/sanded into whatever shape is needed. And, happily, it works beautifully with wood that you plan to paint rather than stain.

Perhaps this is old news to you (the blog equivalent of shouting “hey, have you guys heard about Annie Sloan’s chalk paint?!!!!!!) but I haven’t’ seen a post on it myself so I thought I’d share.

Bondo is found in pretty much any hardware store and costs about 10-12 bucks for a can that will last a veeery long time.  

I’m going to demonstrate using the corner of this end table that I just started working on.

Bondo wont’ stick well to old paint or finish so you need to sand the area as clean as possible.

Bondo is a two part epoxy. Following the directions on the can you simple mix a lot of the grey glob with a little of the red glob until they merge to make a mauve (I learned that word from the J. Crew catalogue) blob.

Then, working quickly because this stuff dries fast, you slough it onto the damaged area. I always go a little bit overboard so that I’ll have plenty to work with when it comes to the shaping and sanding.

Let it dry thoroughly and go to town. Start with a rough grit sandpaper to get rid of the excess then switch to finer grit to refine the details. I often create my own sanding tools. A dowel wrapped in sand paper is the perfect shape for recreating a curved edge. A scrap of wood wrapped with sandpaper gives you a great tool for making sharper edges. I’ve even been known to break out the Xacto knife and kind of carve away at it.

And you will quickly get this:

After that a quick blast of primer and – good as new(ish).

So, in about 45 minutes (mostly drying time) I went from this to this

I’ll show you the final table later – I still need to do some repair work on a wobbly quality to it.

Hey, I suddenly feel much closer to you!

I think we just had a Bondo-ing moment!

(sorry, couldn’t resist….althoughI probably should have)


19 thoughts on “My Friend Bondo (Not the story of a boy and his faithful dog, horse or dolphin)”

  1. I am impressed with your new found repair compound!!! It looks great – I have also inherited things that look like dog chew toys…so this is a great find for me!

    Love your post -and believe it or not – your humor!

  2. thanks Bonnie! I hope you find it useful for future projects – and I truly appreciate that you like the humor (I can never decide if I’m being funny or just babbeling)

  3. Sure wish I’d known about Bondo a month ago when Grace was re-vamping a bookshelf she found by the side of the road! Thanks for the info, brother dear! (And I LOVE your humor!)

  4. Wow! I am amazed by the transformation! I’ll be dropping by the hardware store…I can already think of three pieces of furniture I can use that on.

    I thoroughly enjoy your humor!

  5. David, I love your blog and your unique writing style! I especially enjoyed this post. I am currently managing a project for Bondo Body Filler and wanted to let you know of our sweepstakes! You should definitely get involved. I also wanted to ask your permission to use this story and your photos on our Facebook page ( Please contact me!

  6. Thank you for sharing this awesome repair idea! Even with all the puppies & kitties our furniture has endured, it may actually still have some life left in it.

    I love your entertaining writing style as well 🙂

  7. Love your blog. I know this is an old tutorial, but I just found it. I’m hoping it will work on my door frame which was shredded when my (loveable) very large dog wanted in — NOW!

    Thanks for your help.

    1. Thanks Linda! Bondo would work on your door frame esp if you then sand, prime and seal with a good paint. It’s made to use on cars so you know it has to stand up to weather and such.

  8. I noticed your piece was ready for paint. What if I want to keep the stain color? I loved finding this tip, I paid a guy $200.00 to use Bondo on a good antique. Live and learn! Thanks! I refinish furniture for a side job, and need all the help I can get. S.S. Is hard to live on in this crazy economy. Pinterest is my go to problem solver!

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