Wood-Filler Basics

Learn some basic information about wood fillers and related products for your DIY projects.

for stain, make sure filler is labeled stainable

Figure C

for stain, make sure filler is labeled stainable

Figure C

  • One of the most useful products for simple wood-repairs is a simple wood-filler. Once dry, this filler can be sanded and painted.
  • For a nice wood project, solvent-based wood patches or fillers are recommended. Some of these products are made with actual wood material, so they stain like real wood.

  • If you're going to be staining your project, make sure that the filler you use states on the label that it is stainable. Some fillers, though not stainable, are pre-tinted so you can select one that matches the wood you're working with.
  • For larger holes or gouges, you may need to used one of the plastic-based fillers. For replacing a section that has rotted, use a rotted-wood stabilizer.
  • Aside from wood fillers, you'll need to decide what type of wood-stain to use. Oil-based stains provide a great look, but cleanup can be messy. Water-based stains are simpler to use, but are typically not as durable as oil-based.
  • Gel-stains are a good choice for beginner projects as they are relatively simple to use and forgiving in their application.
  • For small touch-ups, consider using a wood-finish pen.

Recap:
  • Choose a product based on the type of project.
  • Use wood filler for large holes.
  • Use stain pens for small touch-ups.

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