Perfect Patching


A long-time carpenter shares a repair trick to hide the mistakes made by ham-handed apprentices.
By Carl Bilderback
Pages: 76-79

From the February 2008 issue #167
Buy this issue now

For more than 30 years I was a traveling carpenter foreman in charge of installation of top-quality architectural woodwork and cabinetry. My job assignments were sometimes small, requiring only eight or 10 carpenters, and sometimes 40 or more men.

This was the good part of the job because it was never the same old thing!

However, with each new job there was a new location. This was bad. Every job required a new group of carpenters, many of whom were not experienced at the skill level needed. You guessed it – as a result of the inexperience of some of the workers there were lots of mistakes made, including drilling the holes for door hardware in the wrong place.

The normal way to make repairs in the field is to plug the damaged area with some wood and then have a wood finisher from the shop apply fake grain to the patch and touch up the repaired area with his “magic brush.” This looks just fine for a period of time, but as the repaired wood panel or door lightens or darkens due to exposure to the sun’s rays, the repaired area does not change at the same rate; this causes the touch-up to stand out.

And this can make some customers unhappy every time they have to open that door with the obvious and ugly repair.

The repair technique shown here was developed by me and other carpenters and finishers in an effort to improve on the more traditional “magic brush”- type repairs.

Each repair situation calls for its own unique solution, but there are some basic rules that can be followed to achieve success.


From the February 2008 issue #167
Buy this issue now