Safety in the workshop is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY alone; I make no warranty as to the safety of any technique or tool shown or described on this site. Before beginning any project, you must understand woodshop safety, know how to safely operate any machinery that is to be used in the project, and understand the safe use and any potential safety hazards involved in the use of all materials to be used in the project. See the general safety disclaimer and the Chemical Safety Note for additional information.
Back to Materials Library
Wood putty and wood filler are the same product. Basically, wood filler is made from a glue-like resin base with some color, usually fresco colors, and silica or some other neutral colored solid matter to increase its bulk. As the solvent evaporates from the filler, it shrinks a little and hardens. Some fillers come as a two part combination; when the parts are mixed, a chemical reaction takes place that causes the filler to harden. This type of filler does not shrink, but usually smells awful until it sets and requires plenty of ventilation.
Grain filler, or pore filler, is essentially a thinned down wood filler. It is wiped or brushed onto the surface of coarse grained woods and packed into the pores. Just before it hardens, the excess filler is wiped off at a diagonal to the grain, leaving it only in the pores. After a little sanding, the wood surface is ready to take a glassy smooth finish. Grain fillers require extra work on the part of the finisher, so they are only used on open grained woods like oak and mahogany, and often only on the surfaces that really show like table tops and cabinet fronts. When using a grain filler on wood that is to be dyed and/or stained, use the dye first, seal the wood, apply a filler that will match the final color of the piece, then apply the stain.
Bartley Paste Wood Filler
Filler type: Oil Base Grain Filler
Solvent: Mineral Spirits
Number of colors: 3
Comments: The "Neutral" color is meant to be tinted to match the color of the wood.
Famowood #1 Professional Wood Filler
Filler type: Oil Base Wood Filler
Solvent: Famowood Solvent
Number of colors: 12
Comments: A very popular oil-base filler.
Rockler Wood Fill
Filler type: Water Base Wood Filler
Number of colors: 10
Comments: Can be thinned to a heavy cream consistency for use as a grain filler.
Title, Author, Publisher, Date