Photo of author
Written By AB Williams

Welcome! My name is AB Williams. Wood working is my passion.It became my passion after I’d finished college. Since then I’ve gained strong knowledge and skill set of woodworking and wood finishing.





Blemishes, cracked joints and nail holes are fairly common in not only new woodworkers but also in structures built by experienced woodworkers. They can cause the alignment of the wood structure to be affected greatly and cause it to fall apart very easily, hence it is essential that they are filled immediately. Wood fillers and wood putty are commonly used in order to fill the cracks and nail holes.

Although these terms are used interchangeably, however, they differ in regard to their use and consistency. Wood fillers contain a greater amount of binders and hence are harder as compared to the wood putty which remains pliable even after it is completely dried. The wood filers mostly target the blemishes and cracked joints since they are not very flexible and are unable to reach hollow areas. The wood putty, on the other hand, is suitable for deeper areas like nail holes since it is highly flexible. Another major difference between the wood filler and wood putty is the end result. While the fillers get harder when it dries and are not tinted, the wood putty has different tints and are pliable even after drying. 

The different kinds of wood fillers available are water-based and petroleum-based fillers. The variation in these fillers is only the solvent in which the wood filler is mixed. The first step of applying the wood fillers to the blemish, crack joint or a nail hole is to mix the wood filler in the required solvent. While mixing it is important to ensure that the wood filler does not sit separately, and the end product is uniform. The end result of the wood filler should have a uniform colour and consistency. The putty knife is used as the applicator for a wood filler. Although, naïve woodworkers tend to scoop up a lot of wood filler in the first application, however, it is always recommended to start with minimal amounts. The process of gradual build-up should be followed while applying the wood fillers since starting with large amounts can cause the wood filler to be wasted and the process to take longer than expected.

Apply the wood filler onto the blemish or crack joint which needs to be covered and remove the excess product with the help of the putty knife. Since many wood fillers tend to dry and harden immediately, it is important to quickly press the wood filler into the crack. In order to do so, after removing excess wood filler, press the product into the crack with your finger. The use of a finger ensures that the product covers the blemish or crack joint fully and seeps into the crack. Although, many wood fillers have quick drying and hardening times, however, it is often recommended to allow the wood filler to dry for at least 30 to 60 minutes. Once the filler is completely dry, smooth that area of wood with sandpaper. This is an important step since it allows the wood to be uniform. Since smoothing with sandpaper causes the wood to be scratched slightly, using a tack cloth to wipe and polish the wood is often recommended. 

The wood fillers are not tinted and hence often do not match the colour of the wood, they are applied on. In order to properly cover the wood filler, the wood is polished and coloured, however, many expert woodworkers tend to add the colour (similar to the wood) into the wood filler mixture to ensure that they Domont face the problem later.

Wood fillers or Wood Glue ?

Many people and beginner woodworkers tend to confuse wood fillers with wood glue; however, both of these items are different from each other. Wood glue serves the purpose of joining different parts of the wood structure, while wood fillers are used to cover any blemishes or cracked joints that might occur after the wood structure is completed. Although many expert woodworkers have argued that wood fillers and wood putty are different and serve different purposes however, they are often used interchangeably and hence have similar application methods.

Wood fillers are fairly easy to use but require the user to be efficient since they tend to dry quickly. In case the user is able to apply the wood filler promptly, the cracks and blemishes are covered easily. 

Leave a Comment