Durham's Water Putty

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Forum topic by JoeinGa posted 09-11-2015 08:19 PM 1866 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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7739 posts in 2150 days

09-11-2015 08:19 PM

Anybody else use this stuff? I’ve had a can for several years. In the past I used it quite a bit but back then the only thing I worked with was pine and it dries to a fairly decent match with pine. It dries way too light to use with much of anything else in my opinion.

Yesterday I glued up a couple pieces of pine shelving boards just for the heck of it to see how it might look as a shallow bowl. But when I was removing the face-plate mounting block the glue pulled away some pretty deep gashes. So I pulled out the old Durhams and will see how it looks, and if it takes the Tung oil the same as the pine. Tomorrow I’ll sand it out and see what I’ve got.


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14 replies so far

View Dutchy's profile


3081 posts in 2312 days

#1 posted 09-11-2015 08:41 PM

View nailbanger2's profile


1041 posts in 3287 days

#2 posted 09-11-2015 08:54 PM

Yeah, Joe, I use that all the time. But only pre paint. I’m interested in your experiment myself. Please post pics afterwards. Thanks.

-- Wish I were Norm's Nephew

View dhazelton's profile


2789 posts in 2440 days

#3 posted 09-11-2015 09:14 PM

I used to use it to repair rotted windowsills and such but have moved on to Bondo for that.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5089 posts in 2637 days

#4 posted 09-11-2015 09:24 PM

I also changed to Bondo from using that stuff (changed again just recently to epoxy putty) but I’ve only seen as being for stuff that was painted. I never considered it a color match for anything. That said, back when I was using it it worked fairly well.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View Porchfish's profile


847 posts in 2676 days

#5 posted 09-12-2015 02:19 PM

You can buy natural (and un-natural) powdered artists pigments to use with all sorts of fillers like the quick-wood epoxy wood rolls and I’ve been told they work to color Durhams water putty. I have a finish carpenter neighbor who is always borrowing some of my pigments to use in Durhams. he claims the secret is to thoroughly mix small amounts while dry to the wood putty. He swears that the raw sienna pigments is perfect for filling oak dings and burnt or raw umber for walnut etc. I used to buy raw pigments and atomized metals to use with epoxies and polyurethane casting materials from a co. called “Douglas and Sturgess” art supplies Inc. I would think they are still in business. The atomized metals they provide are the best. Just experiment with them in small amounts. I have found PolyTek Co.’s “easy flow” 60 to be a great polyurethane casting material. It is east to use because you mix it 50/50 and add atomized metals to part b before mixing. I’ve had a lot of fun experimenting with this stuff, and some good results….”play on” ! my motto !

-- The pig caught under the fence is always the one doing all the squealing !

View doubleDD's profile


7702 posts in 2186 days

#6 posted 09-12-2015 02:45 PM

I don’t use it that much, only on occasion. I do remember my dad using it all the time. Good stuff.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

View Yonak's profile


986 posts in 1664 days

#7 posted 09-12-2015 08:39 PM

Joe, I used to use it regularly. I tinted it with water-based paint, such as jars you can get at Lowe’s or Home Depot as samplers for color matching, etc. which, also, means you can get custom colors easily. That small amount goes a very long way and it seems to extend the open time on the wet putty some. Don’t use oil-based pigment as it will never dry.

When mixing, it’s important to remember it will dry several shades lighter than when wet. This could be a good reason why mixing dry ingredients may be preferred. I never tried it.

Once it’s cured it seems to hold up quite well but, since the product I make is regularly subjected to spritzes of water and steam, I decided to go with Bondo. I tried epoxy but, with the amount I go through, Bondo is a better deal.

View SignWave's profile


450 posts in 3178 days

#8 posted 09-12-2015 10:16 PM

It reminds me of drywall compound, but a tiny bit warmer color. It’s certainly easy to work with, but more suited to painted vs. natural or stained wood projects, IMHO.

-- Barry,

View JAAune's profile


1838 posts in 2460 days

#9 posted 09-13-2015 03:33 AM

I use it as a filler for surfaces to be painted.

-- See my work at and

View bonesbr549's profile


1576 posts in 3210 days

#10 posted 09-13-2015 12:51 PM

I use it. It’s great for leveling slates on pool tables. I also use it to fill the kerf made in my festool MFT/3 mdf table top. Easy to mix up and sets quick and hard. I’m still on my original top and it’s many years down the road. Good luck

-- Sooner or later Liberals run out of other people's money.

View a1Jim's profile


117234 posts in 3720 days

#11 posted 09-13-2015 01:28 PM

This can be used in lieu of Bondo ,because it’s water base it does take a water base dye pretty well and like the label says it’s Rock hard ,great for some edge blowouts.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View JoeinGa's profile


7739 posts in 2150 days

#12 posted 09-13-2015 01:33 PM

Thanks for the comments. I have sanded the bottom of that bowl out, will take a few pictures and put ‘em up so y’all can see.

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View Nubsnstubs's profile


1403 posts in 1873 days

#13 posted 09-13-2015 02:29 PM

Joe, I don’t want to sound like a smart guy, but if you look at the back side of the can to the right of the “S” in Durham’s, it gives you instructions on coloring.

I used to use it all the time back in the late ‘70’s. Then I went to other putties, and the Durham’s would sit in the can for a couple year before needing it again. I would mix up a batch, but it seemed to be more powdery and appeared to not want to stick. I even used milk and vinegar to see what happened. I firmly believe it has a shelf life because the new cans of stuff worked great. .

Once when I mixed up a large batch, I didn’t like the consistency, I just poured it out onto a piece of plywood. It ended up looking like a soft pile of dog crap. My employee and I decided to stain it with possibly Watco dark walnut. It took the stain really well, but had it been sanded, it doubt it would have looked as good as it did.

After that, since I always had my dog at the shop, if we knew a friend or even a customer with a good sense of humor was going to show up, we would strategically place it in various locations like near a just finished cabinet. When they would see it, either one of us would feign disgust at the poor dog, reach down, pick it up, and make like we were doing a taste test. Boy, you shoulda see the reactions. I think my dog knew and went along with what we were doing as he never tried to defend himself…..... Jerry (in Tucson)

-- Jerry (in Tucson)

View JoeinGa's profile


7739 posts in 2150 days

#14 posted 09-15-2015 06:46 PM

Thanks Jerry. I never read the whole can, just the basics, and that was YEARS ago :-).
And back when I worked at the manufacturing plant, most any time the mechanics would purge the big plastic injection molding machines to switch colors, they’d usually have some of the purgings that looked like piles of dog crap. If it was blue, we’d tell people it was “Smurf crap”
Ok, so I took a couple of “after” pix of the bottom. Depending on your angle of sight, it “almost” disappeared when it was dry. From one angle it’s REAL obvious, but from another angle not so much. And the last shot is after I had put on some Watco “medium walnut” Danish oil, and then sprayed 4 coats of rattle-can lacquer on it. Odd how some areas took the oil darker than other areas.



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