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Wood filler vs Wood putty?

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Forum topic by Danette Smith posted 11-23-2008 06:29 PM 20420 views 1 time favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Danette Smith

155 posts in 3002 days


11-23-2008 06:29 PM

Topic tags/keywords: box wood

You were all so great answering my other question that I have another one for you.
Some of my wood was warped, but I didn’t know it until after I put my box on top of the bottom piece.
I’ve tried sanding the wood so that the box sides would lay flat on the bottom piece, but no success. I don’t have a plainer so I was thinking of filling in the small gap with either wood putty or filler. I’m not sure which one to use. I will be staining the boxes and then putting polyurethane or varnish as a sealer. Which product takes a stain better? You can see gap I’m talking about in my projects. Thanks again everyone…hugs…Danette Smith

-- Dangee's Pyrography by Artist Danette Smith - http://www.danettesmithpyro.weebly.com


12 replies so far

View lew's profile

lew

10128 posts in 2477 days


#1 posted 11-23-2008 06:49 PM

Could you post a picture of the two pieces? There may be a better solution.

Lew

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Danette Smith's profile

Danette Smith

155 posts in 3002 days


#2 posted 11-23-2008 07:43 PM

Hi Lew!

I have a picture of it in my projects…http://lumberjocks.com/jocks/dangee/projects

Thanks…Danette

-- Dangee's Pyrography by Artist Danette Smith - http://www.danettesmithpyro.weebly.com

View kolwdwrkr's profile

kolwdwrkr

2821 posts in 2312 days


#3 posted 11-23-2008 10:06 PM

Danette,
First off I can understand the saw marks on the chanfer detail on the top and bottom of your box. If you don’t have card scrapers or planes I would just recommend some sandpaper and elbow grease. The gap you have between the box and the base shouldn’t be there as bad and was an error caused by trying to fix the saw marks, although I’m sure if you had avoided sanding the saw marks the base may have been tighter. So to avoid sawmarks here are some solutions:
1) saw blade may be dull, change blade
2) as you run your stock through the saw make sure the stock is up against the fence the entire way.
3) make sure the fence is parallel to the blade. If it is not the back of the blade will make a second cut as you push the stock through, increasing your likeliness of a kickback.
4) to eliviate saw marks use a combination blade not a rip blade. This blade could crosscut plywood with minimal chip out. The blade will have more teeth then a rip blade. Freud makes a good combination blade that you can get from the local dealer. Forest and amana blades are nice but more industrial and need to be ordered.
5) when sanding make sure to hold the sander flat on your material. In the case of this box you could have folded sandpaper and sanded the saw marks off closer to the center of the material, avoiding sanding near the edges.
As simple as it may seem, sanding is one of the most time consuming parts of every project. From sanding with the grain to holding the sander flat, there are many things people don’t know when it comes to sanding. It is very easy to ruin a project while sanding, or even ruin it with the lack of sanding. In this case I believe the gapping came from sanding.
Now on to the question. Wood filler and Wood putty are basically the same thing. But, it depends on how you use the term. If you say “wood filler” as opposed to “grain filler” then we could assume you want to fill things like nail holes or the like. Grain filler is a paste that is meant to be thinned and put over the entire surface, filling the grain and giving a flatter smoother surface needed to achieve a high gloss finish. There are different types of fillers and putties. Some are made for floors and others made for small fixes. In this case you could get away with Famo-wood or the like, although I think with any of the filler products you may encounter future flaking, whereas the filler cracks and falls out when the wood moves. Maybe the alternative is to mix fine saw dust with slow setting super glue (cyanacrolite) (spelling?). Make sure to sand very thouroughly after applying any product as it will contend with the finish or stain you intend on applying. Personally I would set this project on a shelf where I can see it as is and start another one just like it, using the suggestions from everyone here to improve the experience.
Good luck, and I hope I helped and made sense.

-- ~ Inspiring those who inspire me ~

View lew's profile

lew

10128 posts in 2477 days


#4 posted 11-23-2008 10:51 PM

Danette,

This might work to save your original box. I think I understand that you were trying to sand the base piece to eliminate the gap between the box and bottom (left, bottom corner in your picture). How about sanding the bottom of the box? Take some sticky backed sand paper and affix it to a hard flat surface- at least twice as large as the outside dimensions of the box. Set the box on this surface and move the box around thus sanding the the bottom edges of the box. You need to take care to hold the box firmly so that it doesn’t wobble around as you sand.

My personal opinion is that the wood filler/putty would detract from the nice looking box you have already made.

Lew

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

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kolwdwrkr

2821 posts in 2312 days


#5 posted 11-23-2008 11:32 PM

Lew, good advice.

-- ~ Inspiring those who inspire me ~

View Slacker's profile

Slacker

178 posts in 2423 days


#6 posted 11-24-2008 03:34 AM

I think I might design a little piece of trim to cover that gap. Otherwise, its a nice looking box.

If you want to make a surface straight and dont have a surface planer, try a hand plane. Having a hand plane, you can develop other skills like sharpening.

-- Adapt, improvise, overcome

View Danette Smith's profile

Danette Smith

155 posts in 3002 days


#7 posted 11-24-2008 07:13 AM

Thank you all for all your wonderful advice. I’m slowly digesting everything you have all said. I’m going to try another box using all your ideas. I’ll post my next box when I finish it. As you know, I’m a wood burner and not a wood worker, but I thought I’d try my hands at small boxes. Thanks again…Danette

-- Dangee's Pyrography by Artist Danette Smith - http://www.danettesmithpyro.weebly.com

View RichardB's profile

RichardB

70 posts in 2211 days


#8 posted 11-26-2008 06:27 AM

I’m experimenting with wood filler myself at the moment.

I’m building a small cherry wood box. The corners are mitered and there is a raised bottom set in a dado. Everything looked perfect when clamped up dry. However, after gluing, one corner has a small gap at the bottom. I mean small – .020” max width and about 3/4” long. I measured the box with calipers thinking the wood bowed. Nope. length and width are fine, top and bottom. The box is square and there’s no taper.

To cut to the chase..

I searched the forums. Pretty much all are agreed that making my own putty from dust off the same wood is the way to go. I agonized over whether to mix it up with Titebond II (with which the box is assembled) or with cyanoacrylic or with some of the wipe-on polyurthane finish I’ll be using. Ultimately I decided on the finish. I know the final finish will bond to itself. For the dust, that was easy – I stuck an empty cottage cheese tub on the drill press and used a drum sander and a cutoff from the same piece of wood. Most dust was caught in the tub and then I used it as the mixing bowl for the wood dough. I actually was able to pack the crack by using a paper-then sliver of wood.

I’ll know in about 24 hours if I made a tragic mistake or not and then share the results of my experiment.

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Danette Smith

155 posts in 3002 days


#9 posted 11-26-2008 07:08 AM

Hi Richard!
Thank you for your reply. Sounds like you are doing a great experiment…I’ll pray it all turns out well. I’ll be eager to hear the results…Danette

-- Dangee's Pyrography by Artist Danette Smith - http://www.danettesmithpyro.weebly.com

View RichardB's profile

RichardB

70 posts in 2211 days


#10 posted 11-27-2008 05:53 AM

The update with the results of my experiment…

Still undecided. The filler was nicely dried after work today, so I sanded things off and it looks really good. I gave the box to my wife and she couldn’t tell which corner had been patched. Granted, it’s not a smooth shiny finish right now, but that’s still a good sign. However, when sanding, it slipped and I dropped the box to the garage floor denting one of the good corners about 1/8” That steamed out pretty nice, and the sharp impact didn’t loosen the filler. However, I flexed the cottage cheese tub to get the hardened leftovers out. They aren’t hard! It’s not that much colder in the garage than it is in the house (where the box sat overnight) – this is Southern California after all! I’m a bit concerned that my wood paste is still paste-y and not brittle and rock-like

So while I am impressed with the appearance of the filler, I still have some lingering doubts about the strength of it. I’d probably feel better about the durability if I had used glue as the binding agent.

View Rogue's profile

Rogue

260 posts in 2192 days


#11 posted 11-27-2008 10:10 AM

Part of your problem may be that your wood isn’t getting used to your shop’s humidity before you work it. Let your stock rest for a couple days before you working with it. Especialy soft woods.

-- Rogue

View kolwdwrkr's profile

kolwdwrkr

2821 posts in 2312 days


#12 posted 11-27-2008 07:09 PM

RichardB, part of the softness problem could be because the poly will dry on the outside first. Lets say you have a can of poly, or even a small cup of it. The top layer of the poly dries forming a lid. The poly under the lid won’t dry. You can scrape the dried poly off and have usable material. So, if you pack in some poly into a gap the outside layer will harden, but the inside won’t therefore keeping it soft. You may have good results if you do thin layers, but with such a long dry time it seems like it could take forever to fill a gap. I’ve heard of people using this method though, but nobody every gives results. Thanks

-- ~ Inspiring those who inspire me ~

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