To fill or not to fill - Cherry gum pockets and pinholes

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Forum topic by DynaBlue posted 10-27-2009 05:47 AM 3938 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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131 posts in 3428 days

10-27-2009 05:47 AM

I’m building a coffee table for a neighbor and as she selected the board arrangement she liked best there were several pinholes and gum pockets now included. I’m not so worried about the black streak of the gum pockets (she likes the look because it will let people know she has real wood furniture) and I’ve had no problems with them on chairs I’ve built in the past. Some of the pockets are also associated with small defects in the wood surface as well, little holes which I suppose can be filled easily enough.

More concerning are the small pinholes, mostly not even big enough to measure..certainly less than 1/32”, possibly 1/64” but my eyes don’t read that scale too well any more. I was thinking just some CA glue run down in there to seal the hole, maybe even mix some cherry sawdust into the top layers to help blend it. Does this sound reasonable or how have you guys fixed similar issues? Are they even worth bothering about? Rejecting the boards is the last option…


-- Mistake? No, that's just an unexpected design opportunity....

8 replies so far

View captkerk's profile


170 posts in 3479 days

#1 posted 10-27-2009 06:13 AM

I had some spalted maple that had small insect holes which I filled on one project. The problem was that the spalted wood had enough color variations that it just made the filled holes stand out more. I left them alone on the next project and I thought it looked better. If the cherry has pretty consistent color, filling would probably be less conspicuous than on my maple project.

You could always try it out on a small scrap test board and see for yourself.

View treeman's profile


208 posts in 3687 days

#2 posted 10-27-2009 11:50 AM

I am working on a cherry piece right now and had the same problem. I decided to fill in the more visable defects. I used epoxy tinted to a dark color that is similar to the pitch pocket color. This way the patch just looks like another pitch pocket and I didn’t have to try and match the wood exactly.

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 4060 days

#3 posted 10-27-2009 01:19 PM

This is largely a decision that is dependent upon the look you want it to have. I generally leave the insect holes/tunnels in the wood. This gives the piece character, in my opinion.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Dusty56's profile


11830 posts in 3926 days

#4 posted 10-27-2009 03:43 PM

If the holes are that small to begin with , won’t your finish fill them in ? Do they go all the way through the board ? I’ve filled some holes with CA glue alone (the thick one and also the gel type) and then finish sanded and then applied the finish. I am in favor of leaving the character marks alone , especially if your customer already stated that she loves the pitch pockets : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View SEE's profile


119 posts in 3405 days

#5 posted 10-27-2009 04:37 PM

I wouldn’t do anything to fill the holes. As others have pointed out, they add character.

-- Build for the joy of it!

View Don Newton's profile

Don Newton

716 posts in 3856 days

#6 posted 10-27-2009 06:40 PM

I’m with Scott and See.

-- Don, Pittsburgh

View a1Jim's profile


117417 posts in 3815 days

#7 posted 10-27-2009 06:43 PM

You could use some grain filler

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View DynaBlue's profile


131 posts in 3428 days

#8 posted 10-28-2009 01:52 AM

Thanks for the replies. I’ll take another look at the panel once it’s been cut to size, see what, if anything really needs attention. I’m leaning towards the character approach.

-- Mistake? No, that's just an unexpected design opportunity....

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