Examine the ground of a lumber mill and you will see just what particle board is made of: sawdust, wood chips and shavings, all held together with adhesive and formed into panels to create furniture. Although sturdy and cost-effective, particle board furniture is often more tedious to repair than solid wood; once it cracks, the sawdust and shavings crumble. This is especially true in regards to trim bits, which tend to break easily. With some patience and superior wood filler, you can fix the particle board trim on your dresser before you refinish it with paint — and in the long run, it’ll look fresh.
Inspect the damage to find out if any bigger pieces could be reattached to the dresser. Clean out the portion of the dresser where the bit attaches with a vacuum and damp cloth, then allow it to dry.
Take two pieces of scrap timber, at least provided that the broken bit of trim on the dresser, and cover one side of every piece with vinyl tape. Apply a small bit of wood glue to the broken bit of trim and then reattach it to the dresser. Set the scrap bits, together with the taped sides right on the dresser’s trim, on both sides of the patch (as applicable), then use clamps to hold the bits in place till the adhesive dries. The scrap timber creates enough pressure to get a tight seal and ensures the trim is reattached straight, while the tape on the scrap timber keeps the wood adhesive from sticking to it.
Use a stiff brush to remove any loose particles. Then vacuum the region thoroughly. This will guarantee the wood filler seals properly together with the dresser, giving you the smoothest and most durable repair.
Mix wood filler, according to the package directions, in a small dish or pan. Starting from the center of the damage, put on the filler to the dresser with a putty knife. Apply the product a little higher than the surface of the dresser to account for the natural shrinkage which takes place when filler dries. Let it dry.
Apply masking tape around the patch, only on the outside, to safeguard the surrounding particle board. Although you’ll be painting the whole dresser, scuffing up the end of the undamaged timber can cause variations in paint texture. Masking allows you to sand the filler smooth without roughening up the smooth end of the remainder of the timber.
Sand the patch with medium grit sandpaper so that it is flush with the surface of the dresser. If the filler shrunk down so that it no longer suits the damaged region, apply another coat; let this dry, then sand it.
Sand the region lightly with fine sandpaper to smooth it out, and wipe everything down with a moist cloth. Remove the masking tape. Then paint the dresser just as planned.