Wood Sculpture Restoration
Wood Sculpture Restoration
Wood Sculpture Restoration

So a friend of mine's Great Grandfather was a wood sculptor and composer. He created this beautiful wood sculpture circa 1910. It was checking in a very bad way. ("Checking" if you're new to woodworking are the cracks in wood that form when moisture or curing of wood isn't done properly. If you have the space and time make the effort to start curing out your own carving woods. Because once you have the wood sculpting bug you'll be glad you have extra wood stock available.)

If you have a wood sculpture or other wood that needs repairing this is a pretty easy and affordable way to breathe new life into damaged pieces whether it's furniture or sculptures.

Do you have wood sculpture with heavy checking or cracks forming?

This Instructables will help!

Necessary Items:

Sandpaper: various grits rough to 220 grit

Famowood: Professional Wood Filler



Steel wool and rags: to finish and wipe down excess stain from sculpture.

VENTILATION: Be safe make sure you have proper ventilation, gloves, respirator. Especially when working on bigger projects.

Step 1: Cleaning and Prepping Wood Sculpture for Repair

Wood Sculpture Restoration
Wood Sculpture Restoration
Wood Sculpture Restoration

Step 1: Take a soft, clean dry rag and gently work your way from top to bottom. Try and remove any excess buildup of dust and what have you. The cleaner your piece is before repair, the easier later steps will go.


Odds are the reason your wood sculpture is checking is due to moisture. ( It can also be due to being placed by places where temperature and humidity fluctuations occur ie heat vents, near windows.) If you clean it regularly with water or other water based solutions it will not help the longevity of the piece.

I will be posting other instructables soon with tricks on how to make wood sing and glow but more on that later.

all right, all done cleaning and prepping?

Step 2: Prep your wood restoration area

Wood Sculpture Restoration

It's best to set up a space to restore or work on your wood sculpture restoration project where you have great ventilation, room to work, good light and tools and materials close at hand.

Lay out a drop cloth.

Grab your Famowood wood filler and a pallette knife and your ready for the next step.

Step 3: Filling Cracks and Checks with Famowood Filler

Wood Sculpture Restoration

Now that you have your sculpture situated on a drop cloth or expanse of newspaper to prevent messes.

Take a small amount of color matched famowood professional wood filler and a flexible pallette knife and begin filling any visible checks from top to bottom on the sculpture. It can be a bit awkward to work with initially but you will get a feel for the wood filler and techniques for good filling of holes and checks.

Always check your fills twice to make sure everything is up to snuff.

This is pretty much the toughest part of the instructable and the most time consuming, depending on how cracked the sculpture is. Be patient.

Once your sure all the checks or holes are filled flush with the wood let the Famowood cure and dry.

Step 4: Remove any extra filler or mistakes while famowood is curing

Wood Sculpture Restoration

This seems self explanatory but you will be very glad you take the extra time to remove any mistakes or over applications of the Famowood Filler while it is still esy to work with and hasn't fully cured.

This will save you a lot of time later on in the next step.

Step 5: Sanding down sculpture

Wood Sculpture Restoration

Once your lovely sculpture has all it's checks and cracks filled and the famowood is cured your ready to start sanding down the piece.

Take a good sanding sponge (or sandpaper wrapped around a sponge) and begin gently sanding the sculpture. From top to bottom. This helps blend the old wood with the wood filler and allows the filler and wood to take an even stain. It helps to hide the old checks and damaged spots in the sculpture.

Remember to go easy on sanding in detailed areas as you are restoring not reshaping the piece and don't want to lose all the beautiful details due to over exuberant sanding.

Step 6: Apply Stain, Wipe off Extra Stain, Let Dry

Wood Sculpture Restoration

Be sure to have your drop cloth and work clothes on!

Take your matched stain or as close as you can get to the original and begin applying with a clean dry rag in a well ventilated area. Remember a little goes a long way.

Wipe off any extra stain and let the piece sit in the well ventilated space.

This is a good time to use some finesse and blend the imperfections away even further.. depening on how good you are with stains and woodworking.

Let the stain soak in when you feel it's a good match let it dry.

Step 7: ENJOY

Wood Sculpture Restoration
Wood Sculpture Restoration

Clean off your sculpture of extra stain.

Let dry fully. Wipe down again with dry, clean rag to remove any leftover stain.

And there you have it... a newly restored wood sculpture!!!

You now have several options: Polishing wax, Polyuretahne, Natural Oils which we'll cover in our next Instructable.

Hope this helps and that your old cracked sculpture is shining like new!


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