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Forum topic by txsawyer posted 08-15-2015 08:08 PM 943 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View txsawyer's profile


9 posts in 1423 days

08-15-2015 08:08 PM

Topic tags/keywords: grain filler red oak table top

I am working on a kitchen/dinning table made with red oak. As all you pros know, red oak is hard but has open grain. From what I have read on the web, I should be using a wood grain filler if I want a smooth table top. I tried a slurry on a test piece which was a disaster. So I decided on Behlen oil based natural wood grain filler because all the literature I read thought it was a great product. I’m sure the product is fine but my problem is how to use it correctly. The method I use is 1) apply oil based stain after sanding to 220 grit, 2) apply light coat of top finish (polyurethane), 3) apply grain filler. Step 3 is the killer. First experiment was to thin the filler just using the stain but it dried to fast. Second try was to thin filler with mineral spirits and add stain. With this mix, I had a filler with a consistency of heavy paint and it went on very easy. Let it dry to a haze, wiped with a clean cloth and allow it to dry overnight. However, once dried, the filler, which is gray in color could be seen in the grain. Basically, it would not take on the stain color, no matter how much I added to the filler. The filler lightened the stain color. Also, the filler did not completely fill the gain which would mean another application. This is my first try at filling grain so I’m sure there is a better method. I am leaning to my ‘old’ way of finishing a top by staining and then using multiple (many) coats of polyurethane (sanding between coats) to get a smooth, hard finish. Sorry for the long post. I think I’m missing something and making this a much more difficult task than it should be.. Thanks for any/all help on this subject….

-- Paul

4 replies so far

View TheDane's profile


5405 posts in 3632 days

#1 posted 08-15-2015 08:49 PM

View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4187 days

#2 posted 08-15-2015 10:21 PM

+1 for Crystalac.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2659 days

#3 posted 08-16-2015 12:02 AM

Have never used Crystalac but I use Timbermate water based grain filler. It comes in numerous wood match colors (red oak is one). It is really simple to use , sands super easily, and can be top coated with oil based finishes. I apply with a credit card across the grain, let dry (fast!) and then sand smooth.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View johnstoneb's profile


2871 posts in 2142 days

#4 posted 08-16-2015 12:09 AM

+1 Timbermate apply cross grain I use a rag but anything works that can force it into the grain let dry you can wipe off cross grain again before sanding if put on thick then san smooth and finish. The red oak matches red oak very closely.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

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