One of our dogs apparently had a teething problem while we were out working in the garden, and decided to work it out on the wooden door's mullion. The mullion has been rather decreased in the process. I have no problem sanding it back down to shape, then sanding the entire door down and refinishing it; I'd planned to anyway. The problem is that I need to fill these gaps and restore the contours first, and it needs to be more durable than your standard Elmers or Minwax wood filler, which I feel will just flake off.

Painting is probably not an option as we're renting (I'd just use bondo if it was an option) and the landlord was proud of the (horrible) refinishing job she'd done on the door recently.

I've attached two photos to show the damage. They don't show it well -- what you should know is that there's probably at least 1/8" of wood removed in some areas, especially the bottom right of the first image.

Look closely at the right hand side Lesser of the damage

3 Answers 3


Unfortunately, I'll be surprised if you can effect a very successful repair. Restoring the outer corners like those is tricky at best. And having it stained only makes it worse, since the wood grain will be easily visible.

Most likely any attempt to repair will make it worse looking not better. I'd opt for something low-impact, such as a scratch-cover product like Olde English, which essentially re-stains the now-exposed wood fibers. It at least conceals the bright colors of the underlying wood and makes the damage a little less noticeable.

But ultimately I'd confess to your landlord and let her decide how best to proceed. It's her door, and her call.

  • +1. This answer is dead on. If you use a filler, it won't match the grain. If you just stain, the stain will show up any flaws clearly. If you try to cover with veneer, you can't fix those curved profiles. A professional might be able to come close, but good work rarely comes cheaply.
    – user558
    Aug 21, 2012 at 12:43

The wood fillers are pretty durable if you have a real crack or gap that can hold them in. By themselves on the surface they are less reliable.

Alternative would be to remove the entire face that is damaged to an even consistent depth and then glue on a thin strip of the same type of wood. you can then trim it flush with the surrounding edges, stain and finish the whole door. This does take some skill and patience with a plane, chisel, sureform or similar.

An alternative is to use wood filler, but drill or otherwise cut out some additional surface for the wood filler to grab. Then sand the filler down to a hair below the desired surface level and laminate wood veneer tape on top of the surface.


This will really only solve the flat face problems, but that might be the bulk of your issue. Tooth marks in the grooves probably would be ok with filler and careful blending with stain or stain pens.


If you could obtain a sample of the wood that is used. An elaborate solution would be to get a saw and a chisel and remove the top section of wood from the window (ie, the area that was chewed), this can be done by sawing to the desired depth and removing material with a wood chisel.

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Then glue in the section of wood that you have cut to size, sand and stain.

I would not recommend this solution however. i feel it is too much effort (and risk) for so little reward!

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