Repairing an Entertainment Center (On Site)

We received a message from a new client that had recently purchased an expensive entertainment center at a discount due to some damage that had been inflicted during transit. Due to the size of the piece and the nature of the repair, it was much more cost-effective to do the work on-site over a couple of visits. The first trip was just to see what the damage was and what I could do to help.

As you can see in the photos, the top surface is actually laminated particleboard, and it had been crushed on the corner. The wood trim pieces that make up the edge of the top had been knocked off and somewhat splintered. Repairing MDF, OSB, plywood, or any sort of “particle board” is tricky because none of the fibres or grain goes in the same direction. Typically, once it is broken it needs to be replaced. The issue with cutting off a section of the top, replacing it, then trying to make it match perfectly, aside from risking more damage to the furniture, is the added time and money it would take. We respect the fact that most of our customers have put effort into saving money on their nice furniture, and we strive to help keep that bit of happiness alive. So, I let the customer know I’d like to try patching the surface with some high-quality wood filler, sanding it, and repainting it to match. The wooden trim pieces just needed a little cleaning up and some gluing back at our shop and then they would be ready to be put back on. There was also a stray dent a little further down the same corner.

On the second visit, I cleaned up the faces on the piece by pulling the brads that had held the trim on and carefully removing extra material that had splintered in the break. I glued and tacked the repaired trim parts back on, and began building up the patch on the surface. There are a number of good brands when it comes to wood adhesive and wood patch, but when it comes to using a product that will adhere strongly and last forever, the rule of thumb I follow is this: The wood filler should require some mixing before application, and it should smell absolutely toxic! Those foul odours mean you’re using the stuff with the harsh chemicals that actually work!

On the third and final trip, I sanded the patches down flat and smooth, gave a light scuff sand to the rest of the surface, and began painting.

Our local paint store was able to match the colour and sheen perfectly. I wanted to play it safe though, so I painted the whole surface to use the edges to hide any slight difference. For the dent on the side, I taped it off along the seams before painting, also to hide any slight difference.

All in all the piece came out looking brand new, and the client was happy. That’s what matters most to us!