Touch Up Dilema


True Grumbler
Feb 24, 2005
Southern Maryland
OK, I have read through a bunch of threads on touch up. I have a customer who wanted me to touch up a frame for him, it is a 2" wide medium to dark oak with various directional scratches here and there. There are some surface nicks that need to be filled, and opposite corners that are pretty banged up. I have tried all different tricks suggested on here, but to no avail. The frame IS natural wood!!!!!. It won't even hold stain. Is the only option left to replace the frame?
I'm trying to sort through everything...

"frame IS natural wood!!!!"......OK . . . if so; why:

1) "It won't even hold stain."

2) " a 2" wide medium to dark oak..."

DaveK, class is in session:

Natural oak is a warm off white wood.

We stain oak to make it a medium to dark oak like this.


Now remember, this is one of the most closest guarded secrets in this industry.

Note the title "Scratch Cover"..

class dismissed. Have a great day and charge them for the time to run to the grocery store to pick it up.... even if you also went to get a gallon of milk, a loaf of bread and bananas for the dog. :D
Baer, tell us what exactly is it to be expected from such a promissory product name? Scratches will still be there, right? If repaired surface's texture and permeability are different than the surrounding area, that spot will show as such under no matter what light (except its complete absence) and cover.
I am asking because many would confuse small area damaged surface with minor damages and easy fixes. To those costumers scratches are the smallest possible type of damage therefore calling for easy and simple actions (touch ups).
I must admit that you gave DaveK exactly what he was asking for: a touch up, a cosmetic solution. But more often than none costumers are not speaking same language with us when it comes to technicalities and Dave may learn the hard way that lesson, respectively charging for a touch up while being expected to seamlessly remove those "minor" scratches.

DaveK, is your costumer bothered by those scratches' discoloration? If so, the job is a touch up and the result is a less conspicuous scratched area. But if your costumer wants less or no scratches be left there, then even one single scratch is calling for involved and qualified interventions which aren't even remotely resembling touch ups.
Cornell, I didn't think he was asking where I got my Carter-Neilson $3,200 set of burn-in waxes and professional blend kit. Which I have use a total of 3 times on frames....

And may I draw your attention back to the original missive:

"with various directional scratches here and there"

Old English stratch cover will knock out 95% of the offending wear and tear.... beyond that.. restoration or replacement. For 99.999% of the customers and 99.93% of the framers... replacement.... It's just a stinkin' ol' oak frame for crying out loud. :D
I am certain that you know what I was talking about. But with so many younger grumblers I thought that a word of warning is not going to hurt. It remains a fact that costumers don't always understand (or care for that matter) what it takes to get exactly what they want from us. Some major jobs look minor to them and the oher way around.
So I am guessing you have already put in close to an hour on this 'little job'. Figure how much more time it will take to complete the job. Figure your shop rate. See if a new frame wouldn't be in the customer's best interest. Personally, I don't "touch up" to the customer's specs, I do it out of the goodness of my heart (this means Old English/ markers) That way, they can't complain about the quality. Anything more is 'restoration' figured at $40 an hour minimum 3 hours. And even then I pick and choose... Don't be suckered into doing a 'favor' for anyone. That way lies madness. I have finally realized that the only thing I have to sell at my store is my time. So if I spend any of this precious commodity on fruitless pusuits, I am not using it to make money. Now, if only I can get the staff to think the same way...
Originally posted by EllenAtHowards:
Personally, I don't "touch up" to the customer's specs, I do it out of the goodness of my heart (this means Old English/ markers) That way, they can't complain about the quality.

Don't be suckered into doing a 'favor' for anyone. That way lies madness. I have finally realized that the only thing I have to sell at my store is my time.
I couldn't agree more. If I am asked to "touch up", I explain to the customer the result they can expect . . . and charge them for the attempt. If I do it out of the goodness of my heart, it becomes one of those no charge "freebies", intentionally listed on the invoice. That little, cheap, special interest in a customer goes a long way. ;) ;) ;)
I don't want to hijack this thread, but it is along the same grain...
any good tricks for getting Sharpie off a wooden pc. of furniture without ruining the finish?

The grumble is my first hope. A small table to cover the spot lamp is my last resort.
I think you probably meant "a small table lamp to cover the spot". First thing I would try is a small amount of lighter fluid on a non-abrasive rag. After that, maybe rubbing alcohol on the rag. Can you test-rub in an inconspicuous area?
:cool: Rick
Baer: expound please. I'm a vintage boat owner--Chris Craft cabin cruiser all wood--and what is this Carter-Nielsen thingy??? Can you blend stains? Apply stains/varnishes? Gimme website so I can check it out, either privately or on Grumble. I'm always seeking new toys for my baby
Mike, It was a kit that was sold for the furniture stores to ummmmm "fix" shop wear.

I had a boss that got it for me to fix the dings and dents in the furniture he bought at estate sales.

There are many out there now.

All it basically is 8 different little spatulas that you heat then smoosh against a hard wax stick and as the stick melts, you smoosh the wax into the ding or scratch. I think there used to be about 125 color sticks... now I think I might have two spats and a dozen sticks...

Oh, and just so you know the time frame.... they provided (and you could re-order exclusively through them) the green, black, red & white nylon "steel-wool" pads.... That was all nery new hi-tech then. :D

You might look at Rockler, I think I saw them demonstrating it a year or so ago.

If you're a Chris Craft freak.... and are going to Las Vegas... You really need to check out Garrett Moulding.

1.5x1.5 moulding, solid mahogany, pin-stripped to similate the boat decking.
Thanks for all the criticism, instead of waisting my time on the scratches and chips, I am replacing the frame, for more than I was going to charge forr the fix. Isn't this why the Grumble is here? For us NEW guys to learn from the OLD?
I thought there was lots of good information on this post and didn't see any criticism. I've been at this for several years and I learned a few things.

Great graphics!