Having holes or cracks on your wood surface while working is an expected occurrence; no one is exempted from it, not even the professional woodworkers. So, do not fret when you see holes and cracks in your woodwork. All you need to do is repair them, and there are several ways you can do that effectively using a wood filler.
Different types of wood fillers are available in the market; however, not all are suitable for different wood types. Therefore, you must know how to select and use the best wood fillers to get the right results. This post covers all you need to know about wood fillers and how to pick the right one for the project you have in mind. So read on for more about the different types of wood fillers available in the market.
What Is A Wood Filler?
Wood filler refers to a product woodworkers use to ensure their wood surface is smooth and free from holes. These holes could be a small gap in the wood grain, and hence the need for the wood filler to ensure your finishing process (sealing or staining) goes smoothly, with even absorption of the sealant and finish. They are also vital for concealing the head of the nails used for finishing in woodwork.
They are made with a combination of a filling substance and a binding agent. Hence, we use it to patch minuscule damages in wood surfaces. You can also use them for large holes, but this can give your finished products some unflattering properties that are best avoided. However, if it is for sealing a large crack, then paint it. You can use an opaque finish to paint the wood afterward.
Different Types of Wood Fillers
Various types of wood fillers can help you hide or fill out the cracks and dents on your wood surface after working. They are either solvent-based fillers or water-based fillers. The common types of wood fillers available include;
1. Water-Based Wood Fillers
These are made using organic substances such as cellulose, wood fiber, and minerals (e.g., gypsum). They can dissolve in water easily, hence, are very useful for projects that require a thinner wood filler. Therefore, consider them more versatile when you compare them with a solvent-based wood filler.
Besides, they get dried easily, in approximately 15 minutes, making the whole process faster and easier. They also have lower amounts of VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds), and so they give off less odor when you work with them.
A. Cellulose-Based Wood Fillers
These come as dry powder that is mixable with various solvents to form a usable paste. The solvents can either be water or alcohol-based solvents; whichever you decide to use can serve the purpose well.
They are easy to acquire, as you can find them in your local hardware store. Furthermore, the product can last for a long time after usage. They are, therefore used for staining in thin layers.
B. Gypsum-Based Wood Fillers
These wood fillers contain mineral powders. They are soluble in water and forms a solid substance with long-lasting capacity. As a result, they do not break off quickly once they are getting dried. Besides that, they possess a crystalline and transparent structure that allows the wood fillers to blend correctly with the surrounding wood surface.
However, this type of wood filler does not last long. This is because, over time, they get stained easily. Hence you must add an extra layer of paint to provide the best effect to make them last longer.
2. Latex-Based Wood Fillers
These are equally solvent-based wood fillers. We use them for filling the gaps or small holes in our wooden floors, cabinets, furniture, etc. One of the advantages of this is the variety of colors they come in; this makes it easy to use a wood filler that complements the wood.
To apply it, you would need a putty knife. After drying, you have to sand the filler to smoothen it out. This sort of filler has a disadvantage though; it has little structural strength. Therefore, after applying this into a spot, we advise you avoid using a nail or screw in that spot as it can crack it open again.
3. Epoxy Wood Fillers
The epoxy wood filler should be your first choice when you want a filler with top structural strength to fill wider gaps or cracks. It comes in two package styles; either a tube or a can has a clear or colored version depending on what you want.
However, this can be messy. Therefore, you must know how to use epoxy wood filler when working with it. Careful application is vital because sanding is impossible once dried, unlike the other types of fillers mentioned above.
They are stronger than the wood itself when they get dried; hence you can use a nail or screw on it. But because of their plastic-like appearance, we recommend you use it in areas that are not visible.
What Are Wood Fillers Used For?
Now that we know the different types of wood fillers let us talk about the application of wood fillers. There are various options to apply a wood filler aside from cracks and holes. These includes:
1. For smoothing wood grain
We can also use wood fillers for smoothing wood with a wide, long wood grain such as white oak. To do this, you would need to apply a thin layer of your choice wood filler, and then when it is dried, you polish it out. The resultant effect is a smooth surface that also reflects. An additional layer of wood stain would also be a fantastic idea.
2. Hole Filling
It is the most frequently used detergent use of wood fillers. A wood filler does the job of making the wood surface even out perfectly. It does this irrespective of the size of the hole. Afterward, you follow with sandpaper to smoothen the surface.
3. Repairing Furniture
They are also used for fixing furniture; replacing/strengthening damaged parts of the wood. However, we do not recommend this if your furniture is a load-bearing one.
You may also read: Wood Putty vs. Wood Filler – Which One Should You Use?
In the everyday life of a woodworker, a wood filler is a constant companion, whether a beginner or a professional. The first step to getting your woodwork looking all perfect and appealing to viewers is to know the different types of wood fillers and the right one to use at a particular time.
In this article, we have covered the different types of wood fillers. We have also talked about the best scenarios to use them. Hence, if we do this correctly, then sanding over the wood filler the wood surface becomes easy and doable. So, the next time you want to do any woodwork, do not forget the key; selecting the correct type of wood filler. Take all the time you need to do this, and you would be proud of the result.