When the surface of wood contains defects, we need to repair them. What you need to use here is a wood filler. There are various types of wood fillers available, which usually comes in the form of a paste. You would like all your furniture to be in good condition and perform some maintenance procedures. That way, you can avoid costly replacements or complicated repair jobs.
We need to use a suitable type of wood filler to be able to get the best results. In this post, we cover the main categories of wood filler so that you can do repairs on different types of wood defects. So, read on to learn more about the different types of wood fillers you can get.
Different Types of Wood Fillers
Wood can have holes or dents, and cracks can develop on the surface from wear-and-tear and accidents during projects. Thankfully, we get water-based and solvent-based wood fillers that can hide blemishes and seal seams and gaps in the wood to give it a smoother appearance. Here are the significant types of wood fillers we use:
Latex and Solvent-Based Wood Fillers
If you see small holes or gaps in furniture, cabinets, or wooden flooring, you can use a solvent-based wood filler to cover them. Since these fillers come in different colors, you can match the color with the wood’s color.
You can apply it easily with a putty knife and sand the filler easily on drying later. Latex and solvent-based wood fillers don’t have much structural strength, so avoid driving in a nail or screw into a spot containing this type of wood filler.
Water-Based Wood Fillers
Water-based wood fillers are made of organic substances like wood fiber, cellulose, and minerals like gypsum. They emit less odor having a lower content of volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
In some cases, we may consider a water-based wood filler more versatile than a solvent-based or latex-based one because of its ability to be readily dissolved in water in projects that need a thinner filler. Another advantage of water-based wood filler is that the typical drying time is only 15 minutes, and you can easily clean up later on using soap and water.
If you want additional structural strength for filling wider cracks or gaps, this type of filler is a suitable option. Epoxy filler comes packed in a can or a tube. It may be clear or colored. Using this filler can be a bit messy, but you need to apply it carefully because you can’t sand it easily once it dries.
Epoxy filler on drying will be stronger than the wood that it repairs. You can drive a nail or screw into it, but it has a plastic-like appearance, so you should use it in places that will not be in sight.
Exterior Wood Filler and Caulk
If you want to patch outdoor wood, you can use an exterior wood filler. It is a moisture-resistant variety of wood filler, which expands and contracts with fluctuations in weather. You will get it in cans, and it is highly elastic. You can apply an exterior wood filler with a putty knife, and you can paint over it if required.
Further variations of exterior wood filler are acrylic latex and butyl caulk, which also have weather-resistant properties, and they take paint quite well. You can apply this type of caulk with a caulking gun. Another variety is silicone caulk, which is highly weather-resistant, but choose a matching color, as you can’t paint over it.
Homemade Wood Fillers
If you can’t locate a wood filler that matches the color and consistency of the wood you are working on, you can make your own. Combine some sawdust and shavings and mix in some lacquer to form a paste. You can use it like any regular wood filler and sand it down once it has dried. It looks natural if you smooth it over properly but lacks structural strength.
Another alternative is to mix wood shavings and sawdust with wood glue. You can then apply it normally and sand it over once it dries. It has better mechanical strength but appears darker than the color of the wood. It is also harder to sand than the mixture made of lacquer.
How to Choose a Suitable Wood Filler
As you have seen so far, wood fillers come in different types and brands. To select a suitable wood filler for your job, you need to make specific considerations. Here are a few factors you should consider while deciding which type of wood filler to use in your woodworking projects:
Nature of the Job
Each wood filler serves a specific purpose for a particular type of job. If you need to fill voids like holes, gouges, or divots in wood surfaces, then there are wood fillers that you can use for all wood species.
If you are looking to fill pores in open-grained wood like elm or oak, you can get a filler that inundates the pores of such wood. Choose your wood filler according to the task at hand.
Matching the Color
You will find that most wood fillers are either white or in shades of wood colors. You can get some clear versions as well. In case you aren’t going to stain or paint the surface of the wood, you need to be careful to match the color of the filler with that of the wood.
On the other hand, if you will stain or coat the wood surface, it would be wise to choose a filler that takes stain or paint well. Also, in such a case, use a white or lighter filler than the stain or paint.
Filler packaging usually states “interior-only” or “interior/exterior,” so take care to check the label before buying the product. It will tell you how the filler will behave in a particular environment while applying it and once it has dried.
“Interior-only” wood filler can only be applied indoors to wood items like furniture, bookshelves, or kitchen cabinets. If you use it outdoors, it will shrink or expand in extreme weather and will ultimately crack.
You can use “interior/exterior wood filler” both outdoors and indoors as well. This type of filler will not shrink or crack when exposed to extreme weather conditions. While it would be alright to use water-based interior/exterior wood fillers indoors, avoid using solvent-based interior/exterior wood fillers due to the fumes they emit.
The Packaging Factor
Wood fillers come in a variety of packaging types like sticks, tubes, and tubs. Wood fillers in tubs usually are of the “no-mix” variety, and you can use them directly out of the box. If you get a “two-part” filler, it will entail mixing both the components before applying the product.
Tubs are the most convenient form of wood filler because of how you can use them instantly. However, with pre-mixed tub filler (or that which comes in a tube, for that matter), you need to ensure to reseal the container, or your product will become dry and hard due to exposure to air.
Whether you are a newbie or an experienced woodworker, the type of wood filler you use is crucial to your project’s overall appearance. As a beginner, you will learn a thing or two from this post. Even if you are an experienced woodworker, you may find some interesting information you can use.
As you can see, all wood fillers are not created equal. You need to select a suitable type for the job at hand. If your choice is right, you should be able to sand over the wood filler, and the blemishes should get adequately covered. Choose your wood filler carefully to create smooth and blemish-free wood surfaces in all your woodworking projects.