to create

Have to repair furniture – even MDF – with Bondo!

It happens to us all. Ok, maybe just to me. I’m going to pretend it happens to other people too. 

Second hand furniture impulse purchase.

It was cheap. It was cute. It was in pretty rough shape. It was coming home with me. 

When I see beat up furniture, I hear that Sarah McLachlan song in the background and I want to take the orphaned furniture home. Someone needs to love it and fix it and give it a hoooome.

So I brought this home, and Colin was like “have fun with that.”

Sideboard with broken leg
At first glance, you see the appeal. Someone was selling a brand new sideboard that had been damaged in shipping. 

Shall we zoom in on that left leg?

Leg with large crack
This is when it is gingerly placed in its spot. In fact, it is broken right off. And it is MDF (Medium Density Fibreboard). Cheap, splintered, and thinly veneered in non-wood. I have no idea why there is foam in the particle board. 

Broken leg from MDF cabinet
The MDF board was too thin and would split if I tried to use dowels to strengthen it. No glue was going to get the job done. So I called in the big guns.

Bondo automotive filler
Bondo. Sometimes, a girl needs to leave the wood glue aisle and head for automotive. It is a surprising twist, how well Bondo works to repair furniture.

1. It is paintable, so it works great for damage on pieces that will be painted and refinished.

2. As it sets, you can shape it with exacto blades or files.

3. It sets fast, and cures rock hard. This is great as an end result, but requires you to work fast.

4. Once it is sanded and painted, it blends in with the lines of the furniture wonderfully.

5. It smells horrible. Use in a well ventilated space and follow all safety instructions. Nobody wants a Bondo migraine.

Once I had mixed the hardener with the Bondo, I applied it generously to the 2 broken ends. I wanted the Bondo to work into the splits in the MDF and strengthen it. Once that was in place correctly (get it the exact right spot before it cures!) I smoothed out any compound that had squeezed out. I then went to work with another batch of Bondo for smoothing and strengthening the outside of the leg.

It looked pretty ugly, but as it started to harden I smoothed it with a razor and then sanded it well.

Pink Bondo, unsanded on cabinet leg
And then sanded some more! Once it was sanded, I got to work painting it to match the rest of the piece. 

Sideboard leg is now smooth and painted
Lighter paint color on Bondo repairA few layers later to get the right effect, and the repair was nearly unrecognizable! I had also used the Bondo for some small repairs on the corners of the tabletop.

Broken leg is now fixed and painted to blend with the rest of the sideboard
It isn’t perfect, but a piece of furniture that was destined for the dump has been saved! 

Top tips for Bondo:

*Fix that table leg the dog chewed a chunk out of, but don’t expect it to handle structural repairs. I would not have made this repair on a couch leg, or something that needs to hold a lot of weight.

*Don’t stir Bondo when mixing. Instead, fold it together gently to avoid air bubbles.

*Work in small batches to avoid wasted product that dried before you were done applying it.

*Wear gloves and a dust mask. You don’t want it on your skin or in your lungs.

What about you? Have you ever used Bondo with furniture?

Leave comments, share, like and Pin! I would love it if you did!

xoxo Aubrey


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