Slight bruising of surfaces where the actual fibres are not fractured can often be lifted by the repeated application of a heated iron tip through a wet cloth, creating sufficient steam to swell the fibres up. Bruises in bare wood can also be lifted by flooding the bruise with methylated spirit and setting fire to it, but the wood must not be scorched. There is no guarantee that the bruises will be eradicated entirely, for much depends on the elasticity of the wood fibres and their ability to recover, but it is always worth a trial. Deeper scratches, dents and bad bruising will have to be cut out and plugged with wood or filled with hard stoppers, plastic wood, etc. coloured to match the finished work. If wood plugs are used they should be cut to an elongated diamond shape with the grain direction carefully matched, placed on the damaged surface, scribed round and the recess cut; the plugs should be slightly bevelled in the thickness for a close fit. All possible help should be given to the polisher by choosing wood of the same species and grain configuration, preferably from old sources in the case of antique furniture, for while he will be able to match colours he cannot change or disguise the texture of a wood. Before gluing in the diamonds a piece of white chalk rubbed round the edges will often hold back a dark glue-line in light-coloured timbers. Slight depressions in work polished with nitrocellulose or synthetic finishes can sometimes be filled by pouring a little of the mixed lacquer into a tin lid and leaving it to set until it gels; it can then be worked into the depressions like putty, allowed to harden thoroughly and then cut off. Figure 542:1 shows various surface repairs to a veneered chest with all cuts tapered as mentioned above.
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