The wood filler is an essential component in woodworking. This handy putty-like material allows you to quickly and easily repair wood or any other material in a professional manner. Best, the wood filler comes with different consistencies, textures, and dries at different rates for different needs. Many can even be stained or pigmented with a common wood stain. You can even apply a layer of paint or veneer to make it more aesthetically pleasing.
If you are fresh on the market for a wood filler, our wood filler review will help you find a sustainable wood filler for your need. It does not matter what kind of repair you are planning to perform; you will find a solution and almost certainly get the best wood filler for your money by the end of this review. Stay tuned!
When it comes to wood repairs, wood filler is one of the best tools you can get. Usually made from sawdust and glue, this substance gives you a way to fill voids and cracks with something that can easily be sanded and painted.
Wood filler is especially handy when working with reclaimed wood, which is more likely to have flaws. In this article, we will take a look at the best wood fillers that we found online.
At Hitch Property Constructions, we offer timber repairs work from simple timber repair to almost new structures, renovations, and extensions.
Best Wood Fillers to Buy In 2020
PC Products PC-Woody Wood Repair Epoxy Paste
Coming as two separate cans of material for mixing into a 2 part epoxy putty paste, the PC Products PC Woody Wood Repair Epoxy Paste is a durable and effective wood repair filler that is ideal for most situations but is specifically designed to offer excellent performance for more challenging wood repair problems. This wood filler can be used either indoors or outdoors and can survive exceptionally harsh environments thanks to its impressively wide service temperature range.
It is resistant to cracking and shrinking, as well as fully resistant to sunlight and damage from fresh or saltwater. It is also tough enough to provide effective protection and survivability against damage from insects, squirrels, woodpeckers, or other wood damaging animals. With a high tack and a high level of viscosity, this wood filler is great for vertical applications, filling holes on vertical surfaces with minimal sag and dripping as it dries.
Abatron WoodEpox Epoxy Compound
The Abatron WoodEpox Epoxy Compound is an impressive and well-respected epoxy wood filler option that offers an impressively tough final surface. This might not be one of the cheapest options available, but it gives quick and easy filling of even larger cracks. It is easy to sculpt and mould and dries in under an hour for quick repair work.
As a 2-part epoxy wood filler, it comes in 2 containers that must be mixed. Still, this set includes an applicator bottle, a putty knife, a pair of plastic gloves, and a clear and easy to understand instruction manual for use, making it an excellent choice for anyone new to using epoxy fillers which might not be confident in how to use this more advanced style of wood filler.
Elmer’s E861 Carpenter’s Wood Filler
The Elmer’s E861 Carpenter’s Wood Filler is a much more portable and lightweight option than a larger tub of heavy wood filler. Coming in a 3.25 oz, 7-inch long tube, this water-based stainable, paintable and sandable wood filler can be easily fitted into any toolkit or large pocket to be taken anywhere. It is ideal for filling small voids such as cracks in wooden furniture or boards, and its no mix formulation and squeezable tube makes it easy to use and apply, and ideal for reaching damaged spots on the interior of cabinets or other small and inaccessible corners.
In addition to this, the Elmer’s E861Carpenter’s Wood Filler is formulated to be crack-proof and shrink-proof, making a clean and smooth seal in any situation. It is worth noting, however, that this wood filler is only appropriate for indoor use and should not be used for exterior woodwork.
3M Bondo Home Solutions Wood Filler
While it may have initially been designed specifically for rotted wood replacement, the 3M Bondo Home Solutions Wood Filler is a remarkably versatile all-purpose wood filler that offers great performance for filling gaps in any wood, both indoors and outdoors. This is a 2-part epoxy filler that comes as a filler emulsion and a cream hardener part and cures to a light tan colour in only 15 minutes. This wood filler is easy to apply and highly malleable, offering a smooth and easy application that is ideal for beginners.
It is also a very low viscosity filler, meaning that it is not ideal for the largest and widest of gaps, but penetrates deep into wooden surfaces, ensuring that it bonds strongly to the surface you are trying to fill. The 3M Bondo Home Solutions Wood Filler works well for softwoods and hardwoods and offers equally high performance when used indoors or outdoors for added versatility.
FamoWood 40022126 Latex Wood Filler
If you want to buy one single tub of wood filler for all your problems, suitable for fixing a wide range of different types of problems with wood, then the FamoWood 40022126 Latex Wood Filler is a great choice thanks to its versatility. Thick and easy to apply, this latex wood filler has the viscosity to handle even the largest of cracks and gaps, but the fluidity necessary to fill pores in wide-open grain wood.
This wood filler can be applied straight from the tub with a putty knife with no need for mixing or other preparation, and it is crack-free and shrink free water-based formulation helps it to stand out from the crowd of other similar brands of wood filler. You can use FamoWood Latex Wood Filler either indoors or outdoors, and it dries in 15 minutes to a solid surface that can be sanded, sawed, planed, painted or stained with impunity, with no need to worry about weak points and fragility.
Minwax 42853000 Stainable Wood Filler
With its high-performance bonding power and easily coloured surface, the Minwax Stainable Wood Filler is an excellent choice for a permanent repair, restoration, or rebuilding of wooden surfaces or other hard substance. Drying in only around 15 minutes, this is an easy to use filler that gives results very quickly and can be easily sanded or drilled into, and securely holds nails and screws for long term repairs and building work with no need to worry about bonds weakening over time, as this stainable wood filler is resistant to cracking and shrinkage, even when used outside.
J-B Weld 8257 KwikWood Wood Repair
Another great epoxy filler for smaller projects, the J-B Weld 8257 KwikWood Wood Repair epoxy putty is quick and easy to use. Offering a cure time of 20 minutes and a full dry time of under an hour, making it easy to apply and shape, and can be used for a wide range of different filling applications from wooden window frames to other materials such as PVC plastics.
Once fully dry, this epoxy wood filler offers a no shrink, no crack surface that can be easily sanded, drilled or painted, although it is not ideally suited for staining. This is a pre-mixed epoxy putty that is easy to apply to any material. However, it is a very high-density material and therefore more suited to hardwood and other dense materials than lighter and less dense woods and other materials.
Timbermate Maple/Beech/Pine Hardwood Wood Filler
Timbermate is a high-quality brand that offers excellent performance, and the Timbermate Maple Beech Pine Hardwood Wood Filler is designed to protect the natural integrity of harder wooden surfaces. This long-lasting wood filler is shrunk and crack resistant and dries in under an hour to form a surface that can be painted or stained if you need a closer colour match.
The final surface produced by this hardwood filler is tough enough to take nails, screws, sanding, sawing easily, and drilling with no risk of cracking or crumbling at any point. This is a particularly user-friendly wood filler option that is made with a non-toxic and non-yellowing formula that is free from acrylics, latex, and solvents.
BANZ 00585 DAP Latex Wood Filler
A high-performance solvent-based latex filler for wood, the BANZ 00585 DAP Latex Wood Filler is an impressively tough and durable filler that is easy to apply and easy to clean up if you make a mess in the process of applying it. This heavy-duty professional-grade wood filler contains genuine wood fibres, giving it a finish that looks and acts like real wood for a more natural and durable finish.
Once dry, this latex wood filler can be screwed, nailed, sanded, sawed, painted, stained, or even lacquered, and gives excellent anchoring for screws and nails with no risk of splitting or crumbling. Suitable for application indoors or outdoors, this filler is tough and durable and can be used to fill pretty much any gaps, cracks or damage in any wooden surface or item.
Check out our range of timber repairs Melbourne at Hitch Property Constructions.
J-B Weld 40007 Wood Restore Epoxy Putty Kit
The J-B Weld 40007 Wood Restore Epoxy Putty Kit is a fast curing and fast setting 2-part epoxy wood filler that comes in a 2-part set containing a filler resin and a hardener cream, formulated specifically for wood repair and bonding. This filler cures in under 10 minutes and sets completely in around an hour.
It dries to create a hard rock surface and the powerful bond between wooden surfaces, with a tensile strength of around 1800 PSI. It is easy to shape once cured and can be easily filed, sanded, drilled and painted when dry. The J-B Weld 40007 Wood Restore Epoxy Putty Kit is ideal for use indoors and outdoors, and can repair anything from decks and rotted fences to furniture, doors, and even damaged guitar wood!
Types of Wood Fillers
There are several different types of wood filler available, all made from different materials. All of them have different properties, advantages, and disadvantages in order to find the best wood filler to fit your particular needs, knowing which type of filler has which properties can make an enormous difference to the ease of repairing your wooden surface.
The most common wood fillers are cellulose-based wood fillers, which come as pastes or powders. They have a long shelf life and are generally inexpensive, and provide a reasonably tough and easy to apply surface that takes stains and colours very well.
Vinyl or latex wood fillers are very user-friendly and easy to shape and mould to match more complex surfaces that are not flat. They set very fast, but if applied in too thick a layer, they often crack relatively easily. However, these filler types are weatherproof and do not stain easily, so can be used outside more easily and reliably than cellulose wood filler options.
The toughest wood fillers are those that come in the 2-part epoxy form. These take a little more preparation time than many other types of wood filler putty, as they are supplied in 2 different components that must be mixed, but offer a high enough level of bonding also to be used as glue for attaching wooden surfaces. Epoxy-based wood fillers are ideal for outdoor use, as they are exceptionally tough and offer excellent resistance to poor weather conditions.
How to Use Wood Filler
Wood fillers are easy to use as long as you follow a couple of simple guidelines. As long as you are using an appropriate type of wood filler and have prepared it appropriately (e.g., mixing the two parts of an epoxy filler), the following steps should get you to great results.
Start by sanding down the surface you are filling to give the best surface possible for bonding. Then apply the filler with a putty knife without putting too much pressure on, and let it gently work its way into the cracks and gaps.
Give the filler as long as possible to dry. Even if it says it is fast-drying, a solid 24 hours is going to be a better bet! After that, you can sand the surface to smooth it off, and you are done!
Uses for Wood Filler
Wood filler has a range of different applications and does not have to be used only for repairing scratches in wood. Different types of wood filler are better suited to different applications, and knowing the full range of possible applications can help you to get the most possible out of your wood filler of choice.
The most common use of most wood fillers is in the filling of holes. It does not matter how deep the hole is, and a decent wood filler should be able to fill it effectively. It is worth noting. However, that vinyl-based wood filler is not ideally suited to filling holes, as they often crack when applied in a thick layer.
Any wood filler can be used for smoothing off rougher wood surfaces such as coarse wood grain, common in woods such as oak. A thin layer of wood filler applied on top of the wood can smooth off the rough grain and then be polished to a high level of shine and smoothness, making rough wood surfaces look smooth and professional with ease.
Wood fillers of any sort other than water-based ones are a good choice for smoothing off a wooden floor. A thin layer of oil-based wood filler can be applied to any wooden floor and allowed to set, before then being polished and smoothed with a high grit, fine sandpaper. A layer of stain and varnish over the top should finish the job effectively.
2-part epoxy fillers are often used as a particularly strong type of wood glue. Most types of wood glue are much cheaper and easier to use, but a good 2-part epoxy filler will give a stronger bond with a thicker glue that also functions as an effective gap filler.
If you happen to have wooden furniture that has developed rotten parts, then wood filler is a good option (as long as the rotten parts are not in load-bearing parts of the furniture). Carefully cut away the rotten parts and apply a thick layer of wood filler to fill the gap. Sanding over the top of that and painting or staining to match the rest of the furniture should leave you with an almost undetectable repair job.
Water vs. Solvent Fillers
Wood fillers are either water- or solvent-based. Either can be used to fill wood voids and/or pores, but they have a number of differences.
- Water-based wood fillers are generally comprised of cellulose, wood fibre, or gypsum. They tend to have a less potent odour, as they emit few if any, volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Some water-based wood fillers are considered more versatile than their solvent-based counterparts because they can be readily diluted with water and used in projects requiring a thinner filler. Water-based fillers typically dry in about 15 minutes, and the cleanup after use requires only soap and water.
- Solvent-based fillers tend to be made of vinyl or epoxy. They have a higher VOC content—and are correspondingly smellier. Solvent-based wood thinners take about an hour to dry and cleaning up after use calls for acetone or turpentine. Cost-wise, solvent-based fillers are pricier than water-based because they’re more resistant to water, humidity, extreme heat and cold, and rot, and so best suited for exterior wood projects and applications.
Choosing the Best Wood Filler for Your Project
Wood fillers are typically formulated for one or more specific tasks. Some are suitable for filling voids such as divots, holes, or gouges in all wood species. Others are formulated to fill pores in open-grain woods with large pores visible to the naked eye, such as oak or elm, to smooth their naturally coarse texture. (As the filler inundates the pores, it levels any unevenness to achieve a finish particularly desirable on furniture.) The most versatile fillers can be used to fill either voids or pores.
Wood fillers can have thick (putty-like) or thin (pancake batter-like) consistencies. Thicker fillers are primarily used to fill voids, while thinner fillers are mainly used to fill pores in open-grain woods. It’s important to choose the right consistency for your project, as thicker fillers contain large particles that don’t readily fit into the pores of open-grain woods, and thinner fillers generally lack the body to fill voids adequately. (Tip: In a pinch, some thicker fillers can be thinned with water to fill pores.)
The most common fillers come in white or wood-inspired shades; clear versions for filling pores are also available. If you don’t plan to stain or paint the piece ultimately, opt for a filler in a shade that either closely matches or contrasts with the original wood colour, depending on whether you want to play down or play up the filler colour. If you do intend to coat the cured filler with stain or paint, be sure to pick a stainable or paintable product, either in white or in a shade that’s lighter than the stain or paint you’ll use.
Fillers are generally labelled for “interior-only” or “interior/exterior” use as an indication of how well the filler will hold up in the stated environment both during the application, while wet, and post-application after it has dried.
- You can safely apply interior-only fillers indoors to wooden pieces that will stay indoors—e.g., a coffee table. Apply that same product outdoors and to a piece that will live outdoors, such as a patio table, and the filler will be more likely to freeze or harden while wet from exposure to extreme cold or heat, or crack or shrink over time once dry.
- You can safely apply interior/exterior fillers in either environment and to wood pieces that will live indoors or out since they can withstand extreme weather without hardening during the application or cracking/shrinking once dry. Water-based interior/exterior fillers are more versatile because they’re durable enough for outdoor projects, yet emit virtually no odour while wet. While solvent-based interior/exterior fillers are safe to apply in both environments, you’re better off using them for heavy-duty outdoor projects (e.g., filling gouges or replacing rotted decking), where their highly weather-resistant solvents can handily defend against the elements and the fumes they emit. At the same time, wet will quickly dissipate in the air.
We have a wide range of Melbourne timber repairs for your home renovations. Check out Hitch Property Constructions.
Wood fillers are packaged in tubs, squeeze tubes, and sticks. Those in tubs are either no-mix and can be applied directly with a putty knife or spreader, or two-part fillers must be mixed before application. For tube fillers, you need only squeeze out a scant amount to fill voids or pores, while with stick fillers, you rip off a small chunk and apply by hand. Tubs, which hold the most product, tend to be most economical and so suited to larger projects while sticks are the least cost-effective and best used to repair scratches and cracks.
It would be far too long and boring to list all the ways in which wood filler can be used. When you consider all the things we use that are made of wood, you realize that such a list could go on for a very long time. Not only can it be used to make damaged wood look new, but it can also make a weakened piece of wood strong again. Of course, it’s not a good idea to trust wood putty when you are dealing with load-bearing timbers. Even for these, however, a wood filler can be used to strengthen and beautify the surface. We thank you for reading this article all the way through, and we wish you the best of luck.