Did I use an ok filler for gaps/cracks in painted cabinets?

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Forum topic by ADHDan posted 05-06-2014 04:53 PM 1656 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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799 posts in 1532 days

05-06-2014 04:53 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question finishing

I’m building a large set of built-ins that will be painted white (using an airless sprayer). Here’s a recent picture:

As I was filling in nail holes with DAP plastic wood (the stuff you get in a small can at the BORG), I decided I might as well smooth out some small cracks and gaps – for example, not-quite-perfect butt joints in the face frames and door frames, not-quite-perfect joint lines where the face frames and the cabinet tops meet, and a few instances of minor tear-out in plywood crosscuts. So I slathered on the putty, rubbed it into the cracks, and plan to sand it smooth tonight. The majority of these cracks are maybe 1/32”; there is one place where I had to bridge 1/8”, but that’s the only relatively large gap.

Will the plastic wood filler work well for this cover-up, or should I have used a silicon product?


-- Dan in Minneapolis, woodworking since 11/11.

11 replies so far

View Shawn Masterson's profile

Shawn Masterson

1295 posts in 1372 days

#1 posted 05-06-2014 05:40 PM

Never use silicon on a painted project, paint won’t stick to it. I am not familiar with plastic wood. I generally use the fluffy spackle, or bondo for painted projects. I prefer bondo because it’s cheap, drys fast, and never seems to go bad.
you don’t have to by the fancy wood stuff, just any run of the mill bondo from the parts store works great.

View ADHDan's profile


799 posts in 1532 days

#2 posted 05-06-2014 06:27 PM

Good call on Bondo. Based on what you’ve said, the plastic wood should work fine; it seems pretty much meant for this type of thing – But I’ve noticed that this filler does tend to go bad and get pretty gross, so I’ll probably switch to Bondo in the future.

-- Dan in Minneapolis, woodworking since 11/11.

View dawsonbob's profile


1841 posts in 1178 days

#3 posted 05-06-2014 06:37 PM

I’m a big fan of Bondo, too. Recently though, I’ve been using Titebond Wood Filler, which I find to be much better in every respect than the Dap plastic wood. The Titebond filler sands and planes very well, and takes stains really, really well.

-- Mistakes are what pave the road to perfection

View a1Jim's profile


115177 posts in 3000 days

#4 posted 05-06-2014 07:00 PM

For filling large areas on paint grade repairs Bondo’s great just make sure you get the white hardner, the red color keeps popping through the paint,for cracks 1/32” you will be fine with wood filler ,I like Timber Mate and if it’s paint grade just use caulk.

-- Custom furniture

View Shawn Masterson's profile

Shawn Masterson

1295 posts in 1372 days

#5 posted 05-06-2014 07:49 PM

I the Dap stuff kind of gritty, If so it sounds like the Zars stuff I use on stained stuff. It worked great.

jim thats an interesting thought on the hardener, Where do you get the white stuff. I’ve never had that before, I do mix mine light so it doesn’t dry too fast.

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4408 posts in 3383 days

#6 posted 05-06-2014 08:12 PM

I’m in the Bondo camp as well.


View Loren's profile


8168 posts in 3071 days

#7 posted 05-06-2014 08:49 PM

I’ve been using Durham’s water putty lately, but the reason
is mainly because it prevents putty drying out since you
mix it up a little at a time. The stuff in the tubes and
tubs often seems to dry out before I use too much of
it and I resent having to throw it away. It also seems
pricier than it used to be be, relatively speaking. Durham’s
is as cheep as ever.

View changeoffocus's profile


457 posts in 1040 days

#8 posted 05-07-2014 01:14 AM

I’ve used Dap tub and tile caulk for filets and voids in plywood both edges and faces. Paint covers a world of sin.

View jroot's profile


293 posts in 646 days

#9 posted 05-07-2014 01:20 AM

You are right about the silicon. Acrylic paint definitely won’t stick to it.

The putty or plastic wood should be okay. ... from my experience

-- jroot

View gfadvm's profile


14932 posts in 2113 days

#10 posted 05-07-2014 01:41 AM

I have also used dry wall spackle to fill nail holes in painted projects.

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

View ADHDan's profile


799 posts in 1532 days

#11 posted 05-08-2014 05:22 PM

Thanks for all of the different suggestions. So far, the wood filler is a little gritty but I’m finding that a high-grit sanding smooths it nicely. Also been using tub and tile caulk, and in places where there won’t be any movement or pressure I may even be able to use a little drywall mud to help blend seams.

-- Dan in Minneapolis, woodworking since 11/11.

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