or wood putty,
is one of the most vital items in the arsenal of any home handyman.
It allows you to…
well, fill in different pieces of wood. Whether it’s a chipped veneer or a hole in a favorite heirloom picking the right filler can allow you to make repairs ranging from substantial to minor while maintaining the overall look and texture of an item but picking the right one out with all the different products on the market can be trying for a novice.
Best Overall !
If you’re repairing a painted wooden object, this is exactly what you’re looking for to get things back to their previous flawless condition.
Top Rated Wood Fillers 2017
|Elmer's EDITOR'S CHOICE||Solvent||Repairs for Painted Objects|
|Minwax 21600000 High-Performance||Polymer||Repairs in Rotted Wood|
|J-B Weld 8257 KwikWood||Polymer||Serious Repairs|
|RamPro||Solvent, Pen-type||Superficial Damage|
|PC Products 84113||Water and Solvent||Overall Repair Kit|
- Top Rated Wood Fillers 2017
- Best For Repairing Painted Objects
- Best for Repairing Rotted Wood
- Best for Major Repairs
- Best for Superficial Damage
- Best Overall Repair Kit
- When to Use Wood Filler
When to Use Wood Filler
Basically, anytime you have relatively minor damage to a wooden item and want to get it back to looking spic and span, you’re going to end up going with a wood filler.
Many people are surprised that you can use them for some fairly extensive damage as well, but you’ll need to pick the right filler to use in those cases.
Scratches and gouges are one of the most common types of damage which are repaired with fillers but for cosmetic purposes even holes up to an inch or so in diameter can be handled as long as you’re careful with the selection and application of the compound.
Of course, there are limits to what a wood filler can handle, but if you’re on the fence and not looking at a hole the size of your fist then you might be able to make-do as long as you pick out the correct wood putty to handle the job.
Assessing the Damage
There are a few different types of wood filler on the market, but instead of just going over the types, let’s take a look at which type you need to consider.
For scratches and other surface damage a solvent based filler is ideal. These are a little bit thinner than other compounds, so they’re suitable for damage that goes all the way through or large chips but they can definitely let you get the smooth finish you desire.
Make sure that the product you’re using is stainable if it’s on a visible surface. A wood based solvent filler can be re-stained to match the original color of the item you’re repairing. In some cases, particularly scratches which aren’t wide, a wood-stain marker can let you match tones quickly and easily without needing to buy a whole can of stain.
For larger damage, including holes, a polymer based wood putty is the way to go. These are closer to a putty and a lot thicker and can be used to repair larger amounts of damage. They’ll also require more work to use properly, so don’t immediately jump to one of these for minor damage unless you’re willing to put in the work afterwards.
If things are rotted out, then you’ll need to make sure that you use a wood putty with a rot stabilizer. It does you no good to just cover up wood which is already rotting, since it will continue to rot even in anaerobic conditions.
Instead you’ll just be left with a chunk of putty on the floor when it finally gives. A rot stabilizer will help to keep things from continuing and it’s an essential compound to know about if you want to make sure that heirloom furniture piece stays whole, at least to the eye, over time.
Using Wood Filler
Using wood filler isn’t as simple of a fix as some would lead you to believe, but it’s definitely not impossible for even a novice in the DIY-realm.
In the case of larger repairs you’ll often be reshaping the putty after it’s been applied and allowed to dry. In all cases, allow the compound to dry before you begin to work with it. This often means waiting until the outside is hard then walking away for a few more hours.
Solvent based fillers are usually quite thin and stainable ones are ideal for matching tones. You can also opt to use a pre-tinted option and try to match things off as best as possible.
Of course, if you’re painting over it then you’re not likely to have much to worry about other than sanding it down when you’re finished.
One of the tell-tale signs of a repair is often that things are either smoother or rougher than the surrounding area. Don’t let this happen to you, instead you can do one of two things:
- Refinishing the whole surface is a good way to get a great new finish but requires a lot of work and more tools.
- You can carefully blend the grit of sandpaper you use to match the smoothness of the surface as a whole.
The one thing you can’t do is match the grain of the wood in the case of a stained item. Rough replication can be done but it’s outside of the skillset of all but the most dedicated DIYers.
Larger repairs can be a bit hit and miss for someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing, but it’s not something which is limited to professionals.
Instead of using a thinner, solvent-based wood filler you’ll be using a heavier putty and then placing it in and around the area that you’re looking to repair. Make sure you check for rot before you decide on which product you’re going to apply, rot will continue to spread unabated if you don’t use the correct putty.
From there you’ll be overfilling the hole or missing area of the workpiece, followed by smoothing it out to make it uniform with the rest of the piece.
Many of these fillers will not be able to be stained, so try to match the tone as best as possible if your item is stained. The repair will be a little bit more obvious and in some cases it simply won’t work aesthetically but it’s worth a shot most of the time.
The hardest part of the task is going to be fitting things properly afterwards, using sandpaper is usually your best bet as it will let you shave things down and get rid of any marks left with whatever tool you’ve applied things with.
Just make sure it’s all dry before you attack, however, and you’re well on your way to a fully done repair.