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Steaming Dents
Unread 02-21-2021, 11:21 PM   #1
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Default Steaming Dents

Has anybody tried steaming a dent out of a stock with a hot iron and damp cloth? My biggest question is- Can the finish be saved and still get the dent out with this method? I don't want to have do do any refinishing to the stock.
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Unread 02-22-2021, 11:17 AM   #2
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To some extent the finish will be affected. Depending on how large/deep the dent, which drives how much you have to steam. The finish can be touched up at the site of the dent, and blended, but if it is a deep dent, you can end up with most, if not all, of the finish gone at the steamed spot.
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Unread 02-22-2021, 11:36 AM   #3
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My Dad's Savage 99 had a deep dent in the side of the stock when he bought it. In fact it was so deep that some of the wood fibers were broken. He steamed it as much as he possibly could using the method the OP described but it wouldn't come all the way up so he ended up sanding it and applying a hand rubbed Tru-Oil finish. It looked okay but not like the other side looked.





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Unread 02-22-2021, 11:41 AM   #4
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If the wood fibers are broken, I don't believe the steaming method will provide a satisfactory outcome.
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Unread 02-22-2021, 11:54 AM   #5
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Steaming dents can be dicey as to the actual results. Most think that all sorts of wonders can be performed with an iron and a damp cloth. And usually that simply is not the case.

If the grain of the wood is broken at all, it will not steam up. And the age of the damage comes into play a lot too. The more recent the damage, the easier it will come up. In my opinion, when refinishing a stock, steaming dents does not fully remove them, but more lessens the amount of sanding needed on the piece of wood. Steaming is best done on raw, unfinished or stripped wood.

And steaming on a finished stock will most definitely compromise the finish, requiring it to be redone or at least touched up.
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Unread 02-23-2021, 05:25 PM   #6
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I agree with everything Brian said about steaming out dents. In addition to Brians suggestions, I have one friend who swears that distilled water produces better results. When I want to save finish I use a hairdryer/heatgun to produce the steam and that confines it to a smaller area.
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Unread 02-23-2021, 05:34 PM   #7
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Yes Craig. Distilled water is better. All around whenever water is to be used for anything really.
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Unread 02-24-2021, 12:20 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig Budgeon View Post
I agree with everything Brian said about steaming out dents. In addition to Brians suggestions, I have one friend who swears that distilled water produces better results. When I want to save finish I use a hairdryer/heatgun to produce the steam and that confines it to a smaller area.
I have also heard the type of cloth used can make a difference(terrycloth). What type would you recommend? Also how much distilled water should you use to wet the cloth? Just damp or soak? I like the idea of the hairdryer but Im still worried about the finish.
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Unread 02-24-2021, 12:55 PM   #9
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John, when I want to confine my dent raising to a single area I use a relatively new wash cloth, light in color, and 4 layers thick. I saturate the cloth to the point that it is only dripping intermittently when held open and vertically. If your wash cloth begins to turn color, your probably to hot; start over. Heat guns are alot hotter than hair dryers so don't let the wash cloth dry out. Experiment with a scrap piece of wood first.
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Unread 02-25-2021, 07:53 PM   #10
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A tip I picked up over on the Doublegun DIY forum. For some dents use a few drops of alcohol. Put it on the dent, let it soak in a few seconds and then apply the heating element with the cover cloth. Alcohol will work deeper into the wood and may expand the cell structure better than stream alone. Works on deeper more stubborn dents. If this does not work then you can fill the dent by dropping in your finish in multiple layers. Filling a dent is much better than sanding the wood.
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