Help with wood filler.

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Forum topic by Krudwig posted 01-19-2013 12:49 AM 8058 views 2 times favorited 31 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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51 posts in 2042 days

01-19-2013 12:49 AM

Topic tags/keywords: tip trick finishing sanding

I have always struggled to get a wood filler that staines well. I also have trouble with a wood filler when finishing natural. I know your supposed to have such perfect joints as to not need fillers but for me I always have something that needs filling. I have used wood glue and sawdust but it seems too clumpy if that’s a word. So lets hear your tips on fillers that work. Thanks Larry

31 replies so far

View woodsmithshop's profile


1319 posts in 3574 days

#1 posted 01-19-2013 01:01 AM

I looked at this hoping to find an answer to your question, no luck yet, lol.
I use sawdust and glue, and just try to get it as close as I can, there is usually some imperfection in wood , so I hope my repairs look like an imperfection that is natural.

-- Smitty!!!

View Melanie's profile


13 posts in 1983 days

#2 posted 01-19-2013 01:10 AM

I have never found any fillers that took the stain as I would have wanted. Though they will say they are stain able, they never absorb enough stain to camouflage itself. What I have found that works better than the stain able putty’s are they pliable ones that do not harden. They come in an assortment of colors & you can intermix them to match. Wait until you have finished what ever is in need of putty. Occasionally when I have used the “stain able” fillers & they did not stain, I have lightly faux painted before applying the final finish.
At one time, I bought every filler I could find on the market, only to be disappointed with all of them.

View RogerInColorado's profile


321 posts in 1983 days

#3 posted 01-19-2013 01:21 AM

I have used a variety of fillers over the years. My favorite for oak, believe it or not is a “trowel grade filler for floors” made by PRO and for some odd reason located in the tool rental section at Home Depot. They have it for both white oak and red oak. Its a grain filler that also does a heck of a job in joints. it is water soluble, sands well and stains well. You won’t believe how it smooths the grain and makes a great finish possible.

For other woods, I have fallen in love with Timbermate, an Australian product. I get it at Woodcraft but it’s also available on Amazon. I’ve used the Cherry and the Walnut. It is also water soluble and sands REAL easy and takes stain like a dream. Never tried it as a grain filler because neither of those woods needs it. The biggest benefit is that it really, really does reconstitute in the can with a few drops of water.

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3187 days

#4 posted 01-19-2013 01:52 AM

Instead of wood glue with the sawdust, try CA glue (super glue).

-- jay,

View waho6o9's profile


8209 posts in 2605 days

#5 posted 01-19-2013 01:59 AM

Thanks for the advice RogerinColorado!

View BentheViking's profile


1782 posts in 2592 days

#6 posted 01-19-2013 02:06 AM

i saw something recently that suggested sawdust and finish, maybe lacquer or shellac

-- It's made of wood. Real sturdy.--Chubbs Peterson

View runswithscissors's profile


2768 posts in 2053 days

#7 posted 01-19-2013 03:01 AM

Wood flour (sanding dust of the wood you’re working with) mixed with epoxy works very well. For small applications I use “5 minute” epoxy. It will take the stain with no problem, but it will be darker than your wood.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2718 days

#8 posted 01-19-2013 03:15 AM

I have used glue/sawdust, shellac/sawdust and both work but will be darker than you think and the glue mixture will block attempts to stain it. I now use TimberMate for almost all applications and am much happier!

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

View Wdwerker's profile


333 posts in 2262 days

#9 posted 01-19-2013 03:48 AM

I use the Famowood water based version. One trick is to use a slightly darker filler than your wood, especially if you are going to stain the piece a medium or dark color. Make a test board with several different fillers in nail holes, let it dry, sand and stain it, then pick the proper filler to use.

-- Fine Custom Woodwork since 1978

View Woodknack's profile


11826 posts in 2408 days

#10 posted 01-19-2013 05:03 AM

I’ve given up on stainable fillers. From here on out I’m going to dye the filler dark then apply it.

-- Rick M,

View a1Jim's profile


117127 posts in 3606 days

#11 posted 01-19-2013 05:28 AM

I find water base fillers work best,but it does make a difference what you are trying to stain the filler with. Of course the best way to go is not to need filler or if possible fill the imperfection with wood. I have had good results with many of the above mentioned products famowood,Timbermate,Pro-filler(also a good grain filler) all water base and sometimes you can use wood flower(very fine saw dust) and glue or shellac. On wood that has been finished I too have use the wood color clay like filler. It takes time and experimentation to find what works best for different defects and different types of finishes.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View oldnovice's profile


6904 posts in 3396 days

#12 posted 01-19-2013 06:58 AM

About a two years ago I was introduced to Timbermate, a water based wood filler, form Austrailia and found it to be as good as they claim. Previously I had used many different oil based fillers with little or no satisfaction.

It comes in various colors, can be intermixed, is stainable, thinned with water, and water clean up.

Since it is water based, water based stains will soften it so it must be sealed before applying the stain.

If you Google Timbermate you will find a number of outlets, videos, and reviews on this wood filler.

It has becomemy filler of choice!

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View pintodeluxe's profile


5706 posts in 2842 days

#13 posted 01-19-2013 07:08 AM

Don’t try to stain the filler. Stain first, then buy a filler to match the color. I often blend two colors together for a perfect match. Finally, topcoat (lacquer, shellac or poly) over the filler. That way the filler won’t dry out and lighten in color.
I use Minwax Putty, or a product called Color Putty from Miller paint stores, which both work equally well.

A quick fix for minor blemishes can be made by waxing a project.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View JAAune's profile


1802 posts in 2345 days

#14 posted 01-19-2013 07:10 AM

I don’t have a particular wood filler that I use but instead, have a collection of many options to pick from based upon the situation.

For larger fills, solid wood slivers are often the best (especially on end grain). Very small cracks sometimes get filled with super glue and sanded over it until it’s filled in. Colored epoxy, sawdust and epoxy, Famowood and shellac sticks are other methods I like.

On some woods it’s sometimes better not to try matching the wood. Cherry has a lot of naturally occurring pitch pockets and dark epoxy mimics that well.

If the filler stands out too much after staining I put a touch of color on it using shellac and pigments or touch up markers.

-- See my work at and

View Krudwig's profile


51 posts in 2042 days

#15 posted 01-19-2013 12:58 PM

Ok Guy I see you all have a lot of experience in the filler game. I’ve used the color putty and it works ok on nail holes and such between stain and finish or even after sanding sealer before lacquer. Ill try the shellac and sawdust or even super glue and sawdust on my current problem and will order some of the water based fillers mentioned above to try. I realize that the type of wood and finish desired will have a bearing on the filler used so thanks for all the great input . I guess I thought there might be a magic formula I didn’t know about and maybe one of the ones mentioned will fit the bill. Thanks I really enjoy the skill and wisdom and sarcasm even that’s here I’m LBJ’s

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