Monday, August 29, 2011

Wood Filler Mini-Tutorial

I love wood filler.  I hate holes, so I love wood filler.  It's so easy to use and after the furniture is painted, you can't even tell there was ever a hole there.  Would you like to share in my bliss?

Since my father and I recycle old wood for projects, the wood can come with nail holes and any number of "defects" (put in quotes because sometimes I like the character those "defects" give).  How we fill the holes depends on the finish for the peice.
Stain = no wood filler. 
Paint = yes wood filler.

The bedside table I've been working on has quite a few holes that have needed patching.  For once I remembered to take progressive pictures for you!  I decided I'd give you a run-down on wood filler.

Here we have pretty little bedside drawer.

It is pretty sturdily put together, not just with screws but with notches as well.  Just the same, I would rather the screw holes not show up in the finished product, especially those in front. (Can you spot them on either side of the front?)

So I grab the Elmer's wood filler to start patching things up.

Just take a little peice and start pushing it into the hole.  Make sure you cover the entire hole, putting a little extra around the edges. 

You also want to leave a small mound because it tends to shrink as it dries.

The amount of drying time depends on the size of the hole.  Small holes like these probably take about 15 minutes for drying, while larger ones can take an hour or more.  The directions on the side of the box have more advice about that.  I've left it for days, actually, because I haven't had time to get back to it.

After the filler dries, you simply sand the area so it's even with the rest of the wood.  Bam! No more hole.

Prime the project like normal and you're good to go.

If you're like me and eager to get the thing done, you may notice after a coat of primer that you missed some holes.

No worries here!  Simply repeat the same process- filling, drying, sanding.

Then give it another coat of primer and take you out of the oven 'cuz you're done!
Hope some of you found this as useful as I did.  You can also use wood filler for peices that you're refinishing, not building from scratch.

Remember- don't use wood filler if you are going to use wood stain!  It is for paint only.

Hooray for holelessness!


  1. I can't believe how much you're learning by working with dad. There are no words for how impressed I am by all the project's you've worked on. I didn't know that part about only using the wood filler if you're painting, not staining. Which is your proudest piece you've done so far?

  2. Probably the cubby bench. That was the toughest and when I learned all the tools. I'm also proud of the crappy looking recycling bin because I did the entire thing on my own.