Actually, this is really a pinewood derby construction tip but it seemed like a good one to share so please bear with me.
As you know, pine is a very soft wood and it seems to me that it gets little dents in undesirable places all too easily (some swear that just looking at it is enough!). If the dent is deep, wood putty (or another type of filler) is the solution.
However, for small dents on edges, putty doesn’t always work. Instead try this:
1. Use an eyedropper to place a few drops of tap water on the dent.
2. After a minute, use a needle or pin to poke a few shallow holes in the dent.
3. Apply a few more drops of water and allow the wood to dry.
4. Sand and continue the building process.
Oftentimes this treatment will swell up the grain, eliminating all or part of the dent.
From Pinewood Derby Times Volume 3, Issue 7
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