Does Wood Putty Shrink?

Wood putty and wood filler are often confused and used interchangeably, but there are significant differences between the two. Wood filler is a sandable material mixed with a hardening resin that can bond with wood fibers. It hardens as it cures, is sandable and stainable, making it suitable for patching unfinished wood. On the other hand, wood putty is denser and pliable, made from plastic and oil-based solvents. It does not harden like wood filler and cannot be sanded. Wood putty is best used on finished wood to repair cracks and small holes.

Key Takeaways:

  • Wood putty and wood filler are not the same.
  • Wood filler is sandable, stainable, and hardens, while wood putty does not harden and cannot be sanded.
  • Wood putty is for use on finished wood, while wood filler is used on unfinished wood.
  • Wood filler is ideal for patching unfinished wood, while wood putty is best for repairing cracks and small holes in finished wood.
  • Understanding the differences between wood putty and wood filler is important when choosing the right product for your project.

Understanding Wood Filler

Wood filler is a versatile product that is essential for repairing and restoring wood surfaces. It is composed of a sandable material suspended in a hardening resin solution, creating a thick paste-like consistency. The composition of wood filler can vary, but it often consists of wood dust mixed with varnish or glue. Alternatively, it can be made from minerals such as gypsum, limestone, or clay, blended with a solvent- or water-based hardening resin.

One of the key properties of wood filler is its ability to harden as it cures. This allows it to provide a solid and durable patch for damaged wood. Additionally, wood fillers are designed to be sandable, enabling users to achieve a smooth and seamless finish. This feature is especially beneficial when working on projects that require a flawless surface, such as furniture repair or custom woodworking.

Another important characteristic of wood filler is its stainability. Most wood fillers on the market are specifically formulated to be stainable, allowing for easy color matching to the surrounding wood. This is particularly advantageous when working on projects where aesthetics are important, such as cabinetry or decorative woodwork. Wood fillers that contain real wood fibers tend to provide better stain penetration and a more natural appearance.

Wood Grain Filler

A specific type of wood filler worth mentioning is wood grain filler. This variant is designed to fill the grain of flat interior wood surfaces, creating a smooth and level base for finishing. Wood grain fillers are typically spreadable to ensure even distribution across the wood grain, providing a flawless and professional result. They are especially useful when working on large surfaces, such as tabletops or cabinets, where a smooth finish is desired.

Attributes Wood Filler Wood Putty
Composition A sandable material suspended in a hardening resin solution Plastic-based and oil-based compounds, such as boiled linseed oil and calcium carbonate
Hardening Hardens as it cures Does not harden
Sandability Can be sanded Cannot be sanded
Stainability Most are stainable, with real wood fibers providing better stain penetration Cannot be stained
Best Use Patching unfinished wood, repairing cracks and holes Covering nail holes, repairing small imperfections in finished surfaces

When to Use Wood Filler

Wood filler serves as a versatile solution for various patching needs in interior woodwork. Whether you’re working on unfinished furniture or repairing damaged edges, wood filler can help restore the beauty and integrity of your wooden surfaces.

  • Patching Unfinished Woodwork: Wood filler is ideal for filling in nicks, scratches, and gouges in unfinished wood. It seamlessly blends with the wood fibers, creating a smooth and even surface for staining and finishing.
  • Repairing Holes and Gaps: If you have wood flooring with unsightly holes or gaps, wood filler can effectively fill them in for a seamless look. It helps maintain the integrity of the flooring and prevents further damage.
  • Molding Damaged Edges: Damaged edges on tabletops, countertops, and shelves can be molded back to their original shape using wood filler. It provides a reliable and durable solution for restoring damaged wood edges.

Not only is wood filler suitable for patching unfinished woodwork, but it can also be used for both indoor and outdoor applications. Two-part wood fillers, in particular, are dense and non-porous, making them perfect for drilling and holding screws. While they may not be stainable, they can be sanded to achieve a smooth and flawless finish.

Understanding Wood Putty

Wood putty is a versatile product used for various woodworking projects. It is denser than wood filler and is commonly applied with a putty knife. Made from plastic-based and oil-based compounds, such as boiled linseed oil and calcium carbonate, wood putty offers unique properties that make it ideal for specific applications.

One key characteristic of wood putty is its pliability. Unlike wood filler, which hardens as it cures, wood putty remains pliable after application. This makes it easy to work with, allowing for smooth and effortless repairs. While wood putty cannot be sanded or stained, its pliability compensates for this limitation.

Wood putty is primarily used for covering nail holes and repairing small imperfections on finished surfaces. It is particularly effective in masking nail holes, as the pliable nature of the putty ensures a seamless finish. Additionally, wood putty can fill and repair holes, gouges, and nicks in wood, enhancing the overall appearance of the piece.

Wood putty is a time-saving solution for repairing minor imperfections in finished wood surfaces.

Benefits of Wood Putty

  • Easy to use and apply with a putty knife
  • Pliable consistency for effortless repairs
  • Excellent for covering nail holes
  • Effective in repairing holes, gouges, and nicks
  • Colorized varieties available to match different wood tones

Wood putty provides a quick and convenient solution for small repairs on finished wood surfaces. It is an essential tool for any woodworking enthusiast or professional, enabling them to achieve a flawless finish with minimal effort.

When to Use Wood Putty

Wood putty serves as a versatile solution for both interior and exterior applications. It is particularly useful for repairing dents, cracks, and small holes in a variety of wooden surfaces. Whether you need to fix a damaged piece of finished furniture, flooring, or woodwork, wood putty provides an effective solution.

For interior applications, wood putty can be used to fill imperfections in finished furniture, such as nicks and small holes. It is also handy for patching cracks in interior woodwork, ensuring a seamless and polished appearance. Wood putty sticks in crayon form are an excellent choice for quick touch-ups on finished furniture, providing an effortless and convenient repair option.

When it comes to exterior applications, wood putty is capable of filling gouges and cracks in outdoor woodwork. However, it is important to note that exterior repairs made using wood putty often require painting to protect the wood from the elements. Additionally, for repairing cracks in decking boards, a two-part wood filler, which is a type of hardening putty, is best as it bonds with the wood and prevents cracks from spreading.

Overall, wood putty is a reliable option for addressing minor imperfections in finished furniture, flooring, and woodwork. It offers a convenient way to restore the appearance and integrity of wooden surfaces, both indoors and outdoors.

Benefits of Using Wood Putty

  • Easy to use and apply to damaged areas
  • Versatile for both exterior and interior applications
  • Effective for filling dents, cracks, and small holes
  • Provides a seamless and polished finish
  • Convenient for quick repairs on finished furniture

Limitations of Wood Putty

  • Cannot be sanded or stained
  • May require painting for exterior repairs
  • Chemical components can potentially damage unfinished wood surfaces
  • Takes a longer time to fully cure compared to wood filler
Pros Cons
Easy to use and apply Cannot be sanded or stained
Versatile for exterior and interior applications May require painting for exterior repairs
Effective for filling dents, cracks, and small holes Chemical components may damage unfinished wood
Provides a seamless and polished finish Takes longer to fully cure compared to wood filler
Convenient for quick repairs on finished furniture

Can Wood Putty Shrink When Used in Combination with Polycrylic Over Spray Paint?

Yes, wood putty can shrink when used in combination with applying polycrylic over spray paint. It is important to allow the putty to completely dry and then sand it down before applying the polycrylic over spray paint to avoid any shrinking or cracking.

Comparing Wood Filler and Wood Putty

While wood filler and wood putty serve a similar purpose as wood hole fillers, they have distinct characteristics that make them suitable for different applications. Understanding the similarities and differences between wood filler and wood putty can help you choose the right product for your woodworking project.

Similarities

  • Both wood filler and wood putty are used to fill gaps, cracks, and holes in wood surfaces.
  • They are available in various colors to match different wood tones.
  • Both products can be applied with a putty knife for easy and precise application.

Differences

Aspect Wood Filler Wood Putty
Usage Unfinished wood Finished wood
Hardening Hardens as it cures Stays pliable
Sanding Can be sanded Cannot be sanded
Staining Can be stained Cannot be stained
Applications – Patching interior woodwork
– Filling cracks and holes in unfinished furniture
– Covering nail holes
– Repairing small imperfections in finished furniture, flooring, and woodwork

Wood filler is best used on unfinished wood as it hardens after curing, allowing for sanding and staining. It is ideal for patching interior woodwork and filling cracks and holes in unfinished furniture. On the other hand, wood putty is used on finished wood and remains pliable after application. It cannot be sanded or stained but is suitable for covering nail holes and repairing small imperfections in finished furniture, flooring, and woodwork.

Understanding the similarities and differences between wood filler and wood putty can help you achieve the best results in your woodworking projects. Whether you need to patch unfinished wood or repair finished surfaces, choosing the right product will ensure a seamless and professional finish.

Pros and Cons of Wood Filler

Wood filler is a versatile product that offers several benefits for interior use. Here are some of the pros and cons of using wood filler:

Pros:

  • Sandable: Wood filler can be easily sanded, allowing you to achieve a smooth finish on your woodwork.
  • Stainable: With its ability to accept stain, wood filler lets you seamlessly blend it with the surrounding wood, achieving an aesthetically pleasing result.
  • Hardens as it cures: When applied, wood filler undergoes a hardening process as it cures, providing a durable and long-lasting repair.

Cons:

  • Not suitable for finished wood: Although wood filler is excellent for patching unfinished wood, it is not recommended for finished wood surfaces. This is because it has a tendency to shrink and crack as it dries, potentially compromising the appearance of the finished surface.
  • Vulnerable to temperature fluctuations: Wood filler is sensitive to temperature changes, making it susceptible to damage if exposed to significant fluctuations. It is important to consider this when selecting the appropriate filler for your project.

In summary, wood filler is a dependable option for interior use, offering sandability, stainability, and durability. However, it should be used with caution on finished wood surfaces and protected from extreme temperature changes.

Pros Cons
Can be sanded Not suitable for finished wood
Stainable Vulnerable to temperature fluctuations
Hardens as it cures

Pros and Cons of Wood Putty

When it comes to repairing small imperfections in finished wood, wood putty offers some distinct advantages. One of the biggest pros of wood putty is its pliability. Unlike wood filler, which hardens as it cures, wood putty stays pliable even after application. This makes it incredibly easy to work with, allowing you to mold and shape it as needed to cover nail holes and fill in small gaps. Its pliable nature also means that it doesn’t shrink or crack over time, providing a long-lasting solution for your wood repairs.

Another major advantage of wood putty is its suitability for exterior use. Unlike wood filler, which can be prone to damage from temperature fluctuations, wood putty is resilient and can withstand the elements. This makes it perfect for repairing exterior woodwork, such as doors, fences, and outdoor furniture. You can confidently use wood putty for your outdoor repairs without worrying about it shrinking, cracking, or deteriorating due to weather conditions.

However, wood putty does have its drawbacks. One of the main cons is that it cannot be sanded or stained. Unlike wood filler, which can be sanded down to achieve a smooth finish, wood putty retains its pliable texture after application, making sanding impossible. Additionally, its chemical components can potentially damage unfinished wood surfaces, so it’s important to avoid using wood putty on unfinished wood. Lastly, wood putty generally takes longer to fully cure compared to wood filler. This means you may need to wait a bit longer before painting or finishing your repaired wood surfaces.

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