Any Ideas for Filling/Finishing End Grain Plywood?

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Forum topic by FunnelStudio posted 03-25-2010 06:31 PM 10133 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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30 posts in 3313 days

03-25-2010 06:31 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question help

Hello everyone!

I am making an entertainment console, and the top is an end-grain plywood glue up. Since this is a prototype, I went for a cheaper multi-ply, which is supposed to be cabinet grade, but lo, there are some holes and gaps. I am planning a clear finish, maybe a coat of orange shellac, and then a few coats of lacquer.

BUT, I would like to fill some of the larger gaps with something preferably clear to give a flat, smooth finished surface. Anyone have any recommendations? I’m thinking I would first fill the holes, then begin with the finish schedule. I considered Smooth-on epoxy (or a similar substance), but the problem (I believe) is finish adhesion. I could syringe it in, but I am concerned that I might get some outside of the gap, and the finish would get blotchy.

Here’s a photo:

End Grain Plywood Top

It doesn’t show the largest gaps, on is maybe 1/16th – 3/32nds by 6” long, it’s kind of nice, but like I said, I want the top to be nice and flat.

Any help would be rad!


-- -Shaun M. Baer,

6 replies so far

View Michael Murphy's profile

Michael Murphy

453 posts in 3000 days

#1 posted 03-25-2010 06:41 PM

Maybe separate some layers of scrap ply and glue and insert pieces in the bigger voids. Looks like it is mostly endgrain that is affected.

-- Michael Murphy, Woodland, CA.

View reggiek's profile


2240 posts in 3265 days

#2 posted 03-25-2010 07:20 PM

Your concerns about epoxys is very well placed.

Your best bet is to fill the larger holes up to near the surface with epoxy – making sure you do not get the epoxy on the surface – I use painters tape to protect from spill overs. Then use a wood glue (tinted with some of the sawdust or a Tinted putty filler to fill to the surface. Make sure that the product you use here can be sanded, stained…etc. Most standard wood glues (know as PVA glues) have this ability and say so. Do not use any super glues, Polyureathane glues (they can be identified by instructions that say to dampen the glue faces prior to use) or epoxy compounds near the surface.

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

View rhett's profile


742 posts in 3662 days

#3 posted 03-25-2010 07:40 PM

I have used two-part epoxies for filling in knots and pinholes and have never had an issue with the finishes not sticking. The times I have done this I have topcoated with polyurethane and with waterlox.

-- Doubt kills more dreams than failure.

View PaulfromVictor's profile


228 posts in 3340 days

#4 posted 03-25-2010 08:02 PM

My first thought would be to do an epoxy. I am not sure what the finishing issues with that would be. I have poly’d over small patches of epoxy with no issues. It might be a mess to deal with trying to fill lots of small voids, etc.

Could you use some kind of a wood filler? Either retail, or mix your own from fine sawdust and glue. You could apply it with a wide putty knife or even a drywall blade. Afterwards, you would have a lot of sanding to do, and it might change the look of the plies a bit. It would look more natural than the epoxy would.

View hazbro's profile


109 posts in 2985 days

#5 posted 03-25-2010 10:16 PM

if you finished with something like mirror coat, a thick self leveling epoxy top coat it would fill the voids itself.

-- measure once, keep cuttin' til it fits

View Ger21's profile


1074 posts in 3126 days

#6 posted 03-26-2010 01:18 AM

I’d definately use epoxy. Coat the whole top with it. Seal it with two coats, thouroughly sanding between coats with 80 or 100 grit. Then fill the voids with black tinted epoxy. As long as you thouroughly sand it, laquer will adhere fine to it.

-- Gerry,

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