No, it isn't Car Talk.
I got the idea to do this from Bill Satko, who reminded me that it’s really easy to put a dent in soft secondary wood.

So imagine you’re proud of your new dovetails, until you see this nice dent on one, that happened as you banged them out, when a small chip was under the soft wood.




The solution: steam out the dent.


Here’s the equipment needed – water, paper towel, and a household iron.

DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT use your honey’s iron for this. The way to get an iron is to offer to buy LOYL a new iron, and you get to keep the old one. Win, win.



First spray a little water on the dent, maybe a teaspoon or so. Then place the paper towel, folded up over it, and saturate the towel with the sprayer.

Wait til your iron is hot, I use whatever the maximum setting is. [The OCD scientist in me had to put temp readings on the iron, but that is totally unnecessary.]



Then, strike while the iron is hot. A nice ball of steam comes out with a hiss. Firm pressure is good.



After as many repeats of this procedure as you need, you will have raised the dent above the surface of the wood.



Let this dry out for a while. Maybe use a heat gun or the iron dry, or just wait, then plane smooth. The result should look like this.





Practice on scrap before you tackle a real job. It's a great fix for a common problem. - With thanks to Tage Frid, who wrote about this in his book.