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I was working on some pinewood derby cars a few days ago and accidently bumped a car on the work bench. This resulted in a minor dent on a corner of the car that I had already sanded. The dent was too shallow to putty effectively, so I was at a loss of what to do - other than start over.

Then I remembered a trick I learned when I worked at a cabinet shop. Some dents in wood (especially soft woods like pine), can be removed by swelling the wood inside the dent. This is done by adding water.

So I took a straight pin and lanced the dent a few times. I then applied a few drops of water and waited. Sure enough, the dent did lift up slightly. I repeated the process, and the dent was essentially gone. After the wood thoroughly dried (doesn't take long in our dry heat) I resanded the area. Other than a slight discoloration (which will disappear with paint), it looked fine.

If you would like to read about other wood repair techniques, check out:
www.maximumvelocity.com and click on the link entitled "Whoops!".

By the way, similar techniques should also work on the balsa wood used in Raingutter Regatta kits. There is a relatively new site for this hobby at:
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