Wood Filler And Wood Putty

What’s the difference between wood filler and wood putty?

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    When repairing or building wooden items, you'll often need to fill holes. These holes can be caused by wood defects or nail placement.

    Wood filler and wood putty are the best and only solutions for filling holes in a workpiece.

    Woodworkers often use putty and filler interchangeably. They serve a similar purpose, but are different products for different wood filling projects.

    Woodworkers must know the difference between wood filler and putty to choose the right product.

    People make mistakes, I've learned. Pencils come with erasers because there's usually a solution, right? Home improvement and woodworking are similar.

    What happens when you make a mistake when doing home projects? What if you oversize a hole? You may have to scrap it, right?

    There are inexpensive ways to fix these errors. Wood filler and wood putty can fix defects and mistakes. Knowing the difference between the two will help you choose.

    Wood filler and wood putty can be used to fix mistakes or imperfections in your project. Let's compare the two before continuing.

    At Hitch Property Constructions, we offer timber repairs work from simple timber repair to almost new structures, renovations, and extensions.

    Wood Putty Is Oil Based and Remains Flexible

    Wood putty resembles plumber's putty or window glazing. Oil-based, they resist moisture and harden but never lose flexibility. Because it won't wash out or crack with expanding and contracting wood, putty is best for exterior applications.

    Putty is small because a little goes a long way when patching small holes in finished wood. You can't stain putty, but it comes in a variety of wood tones.

    Oil-based putty shouldn't be painted over with water. Small amounts of putty and several days to dry should be fine.

    Wood Filler And Wood Putty

    Wood Filler May Be Water-Based, and You Can Sand It

    DAP's Plastic Wood is the best-known wood filler. Many similar fillers are water-based. Wood filler contains cellulose, limestone, and attapulgite, which are also in joint compound. Plastic Wood Latex Wood Filler, a water-based DAP product, contains limestone but no cellulose.

    Two-part epoxy wood fillers blend wood putty and wood filler. Epoxy can be used on finished or unfinished wood. Because it cures hard enough to sand, it's closer to a filler than a putty.

    Wood-grain filler is used by finishers, not these products. Very thin, it's spread on a tabletop or countertop and sanded before the first coat of finish. It creates a smooth, level surface for the finish.

    Filler Works Best Indoors

    When a product is designated as a filler or a putty by the manufacturer, the manufacturer is not required to conform to any particular standard. However, in general, a filler is intended to be coated with a clear finish after it has been infused with pigment to match a specific type of wood. This process is known as "matching." It is not flexible, so when the wood expands and contracts, cracks appear in the surface.

    In addition to this, exposure to direct sunlight causes it to become dry and shrunken. Even if you paint over it, if you fill a crack or hole in an outdoor surface with wood filler, it will probably fall out within a year or two regardless of whether or not you paint over it.

    When Outdoors, Use Two-Part Putty

    Despite the fact that putty does not harden on its own, it is possible to purchase two-part products that go through a chemical reaction in order to turn hard. These materials adhere well to one another and are more wear-resistant than the wood itself. However, dried putty does not have the same appearance as wood, so it must be painted. When it comes to repairing exterior wood, some carpenters prefer to use auto body filler, which is a two-part putty made of fibreglass. After having a layer of primer and paint applied, the colour of the item, in this case grey, is irrelevant.

    Overview of Wood Putty

    The term "plastic wood" is commonly used to refer to wood putty. It is one of the most common wood filling compounds used in many workplaces and appears to be the go-to choice whenever there is a need to patch up a defect or patch a hole in the wood. Having said that, this particular substance is not ideal in each and every circumstance.

    How it is Used

    After staining or varnishing, apply wood putty. If you're repairing furniture, wood putty is great for already-finished pieces that need a touch-up.

    Wood putty shouldn't be used on raw wood because it contains harmful chemicals. It's soft and stiff like clay. Applying it usually requires a putty knife. This makes it a difficult filler. It's like resin.

    After applying, let it dry for a while. Despite being advertised as "fast-drying," wood putties harden slowly. To dry putty completely, you must sometimes add hardening chemicals. Others harden naturally. Purchasing matters.

    Long drying times can affect colour. Most lighter colours darken when dry, so you need to buy a lighter one. Putty can collect dust and debris while drying, causing another problem.

    Options Available

    Because wood putty is so widely used, there are currently a lot of different options available on the market to choose from. You can choose from a dizzying array of brands, each available in a variety of shades. We anticipate that you will be able to locate a putty that is a match for even the most bizarrely coloured products.


    Depending on the manufacturer, wood putty can be crafted in a number of distinctively distinct ways. Putty for wood is always made of oil, but the kind of oil used can vary greatly. Boiled linseed oil is the oil that is used the most frequently, but there are other oils that can be purchased as well.

    Wood putty also has a colourant in it, which is what gives it the appearance of being made of wood. The majority also include calcium carbonate in their composition. In the event that your prefered wood putty requires the addition of a chemical hardener, you must also take into consideration the chemicals in question.


    Putty made of wood is not very expensive, and it has an indefinite shelf life. You do not need to be concerned about this product becoming spoiled or deteriorating any time in the near future. Because of this, it is an excellent material for use in the construction of outdoor furniture, which is typically left exposed to the elements.

    Overview of Wood Filler

    Wood putty and wood filler are two somewhat distinct products that are utilised in very distinct situations respectively. They cannot in any way be used in place of one another.

    How it is Used

    Wood filler is typically applied prior to the application of a finish or stain. In contrast to wood putty, it will not harm raw wood in any way. It has more of a consistency similar to putty, which can make it very simple to work with. It spreads evenly and is very easy to keep in place.

    Additionally, the wood filler dries in a very short amount of time. Even a sizable ball of wood filler will begin to dry in the air in as little as ten minutes, in the majority of instances. In fewer than twenty-four hours, every type of wood filler will be dry, although many types dry significantly earlier than that. If time is of the essence, there are "fast-drying" options available to choose from.

    Check out our range of timber repairs Melbourne at Hitch Property Constructions.

    Options Available

    The majority of wood fillers have a colourless appearance. Because of this, it is possible that you will need to stain them so that they match the wood. Having said that, you do apply them before your stain, so this shouldn't be too much of an issue. Because doing so will result in a more natural appearance, combining the filler with sawdust from the wood that is being used is strongly recommended.


    Epoxy, lacquer, and clay are just some of the materials that go into the production of wood filler. Due to the fact that it is water-based and therefore simple to clean up, latex is one of the most popular types. This type also mixes well with dyes, which enables you to use it for larger holes without risking the appearance of the wood piece having two different tones.

    Epoxy and polyurethane are two additional substances that could prove useful to have in your workspace. On the other hand, they need a little bit more sanding. Sanding them is a necessary step before applying a finish to them.


    Wood putty and wood filler have roughly the same price tag. On the other hand, it does not have the same level of durability, which means that it will require more repairs over time. It is not appropriate for use as outdoor furniture due to the fact that it will not expand and contract in tandem with the wooden furniture. You will end up with cracks rather than the desired result.

    This material can also crack and dry out when exposed to sunlight, which can result in the need for additional repairs. In the long run, the total cost of these repairs may end up being higher than you initially anticipated.

    In addition, this material is typically used for larger cracks, which means that you will most likely need more of it.

    Why Use Wood Filler?

    There are plenty of benefits to using wood filler, so let's review a few of them here.

    Quick Drying

    Even though it is critical to produce work that is of high quality regardless of the nature of the project, there are times when it is desirable to have something that functions quickly. Wood fillers are an excellent tool to have on hand for any situation in which you need to complete a task in a hurry.

    After it has been applied, wood filler dries very quickly. However, many of the options currently available on the market can dry in ten to twenty minutes or less. The drying time will, of course, be determined by the type of wood filler and the product that you choose.

    Ideal for Porous Surfaces

    When working on porous surfaces, fillers are your best bet for success. Sanding the surface you're working on before applying wood filler is a good idea if you find that the surface you're using isn't functioning very well.

    When working with unfinished lumber, it is important to keep in mind that wood filler is a very useful tool. If you apply wood filler to a project that is finished, you will find that the surface is uneven and bumpy after the application. The difficulty you are going to have in bringing it to a smoother state is the challenge presented here.

    If, on the other hand, you are working with an unfinished surface that already possesses holes, you can use wood filler to patch up the holes, and then you can sand the area down later.

    Great for Filling Big Holes

    The wonderful thing about wood filler is that it can save your project regardless of how large or deep the hole is. This is a huge time saver. When it comes to repairing cracks or holes in the surface of the wood, it can be challenging to find anything that is superior to the current solution.

    Remember to use some sandpaper to smooth out the surface before applying wood filler to a large hole in the wood if you find that you need to use wood filler to repair the hole. After applying the wood filler and allowing it to dry, the next step in achieving a nice, smooth finish is to paint it.

    When Not to Use Wood Filler

    Before applying wood filler to your project, it is important to keep in mind that wood has a natural tendency to contract or expand depending on the weather and other factors in its surrounding environment.

    The issue here is that wood filler does not provide the flexibility that is required to accommodate this shrinking and expanding, so this is a problem. As a consequence of this, it has a propensity to break easily; consequently, it is best to use wood filler on furniture or wood projects that will remain indoors and away from changes in the surrounding environment.

    Let's shift gears a little bit and talk about wood putty now that we've covered what wood filler is and when it's best to use it.

    Wood Putty

    Wood putty, on the other hand, is typically applied to surfaces that have already been varnished and stained, whereas wood filler is typically used on unfinished wood. You might also hear people refer to it as "plastic wood."

    The vast majority of manufacturers make their wood putty out of oil-based components and calcium carbonate. This is despite the fact that there are a variety of processes that can be used to create wood putty. As a consequence of this, the consistency of the wood putty changes to that of soft clay when water is added to the mixture.

    Because of its clay-like consistency, wood putty has the ability to remain wet for extended periods of time; consequently, if you are working on a project that needs to be completed in a short amount of time, you might have to look for alternative approaches.

    When applying wood putty, it is best to do so on surfaces that have already been finished. Because it contains chemicals, which you shouldn't use on raw wood, this happens as a result of those chemicals. After you have finished applying the wood putty to your project, you will need to sand it down to get a smooth surface and remove any excess residue that may have been left behind.

    Why Use Wood Putty?

    There are several reasons to use wood putty with your most recent woodworking project. Let's take a look at a few of them.

    Easy to Apply

    The ease with which wood putty can be applied to virtually any kind of wood surface is one of the best things about this product. You can spread putty over large areas with a putty knife, or you can use your finger to dab a little bit on smaller areas.

    If you discover that there is any additional wood putty on the surface of your project, take a damp rag and wipe it off, and then allow it to dry completely so that it can harden.

    Various Shade Selection

    Because surfaces that have been stained and finished take on particular tones and textures, it is only logical that wood putty is available in a variety of options that match. It is essential that you choose a wood putty that has a tone and shade that is comparable to the original wood so that your repair does not stand out.

    When you are working on your project involving wood, you need to make sure that you find a tone that is compatible with the surface of the wood that is being repaired.

    No Additional Adhesives Required

    Many people are unaware that wood putty can also function as a sealing agent, despite the fact that it is an excellent product for mending fractures and openings in wood. Why is that a relevant point? Because this prevents you from needing to buy an additional adhesive sealer to apply to the surface of your project, it saves you money.

    Cost Savings

    The final advantage of using wood putty is the cost savings that are realised as a result of using it over the long term. This is due to the fact that wood putty is long-lasting, which means that the repair won't need to be redone as frequently.

    Even if you buy one of the smaller containers that the wood putty is sold in, you should still have enough of it to complete a few different projects. This is one of the many advantages of using wood putty. If you don't anticipate using all of it right away, put it away in a cool, dry place as soon as possible.

    Why Not Use Wood Putty

    The fact that wood putty has the potential to cause raw wood to become damaged is probably the most compelling argument against its use. If you use wood putty on unfinished timber, the surface of your project may become damaged, and you won't be able to stain it until you fix the problem. This is because the ingredients used to make wood putty are abrasive.

    We have a wide range of Melbourne timber repairs for your home renovations. Check out Hitch Property Constructions.

    Should I Use a Wood Filler or Wood Putty?

    When patching a finished surface, use wood putty. Putty sticks are lacquer-based patching pencils for furniture repairs. Putty is better than wood filler for exterior repairs because it resists the elements.

    Interior unfinished wood should only be patched with sandable wood filler. If you plan to stain the wood, choose cellulose wood filler over limestone. Most woodworkers use prestained filler for furniture, floors, and other woodwork because epoxy filler won't stain the same colour as the surrounding wood.

    Wood filler contains no adhesives, so it won't bond to wood unless painted or sealed. Use putty to repair finished surfaces, even indoors. Never leave putty unfinished. If the repair is small, coat it with lacquer, varnish, or water-based polyurethane.

    FAQs About Wood Fiilers

    While the chemical formula of wood putty can damage exposed wood, wood filler is made to bind directly to the natural wood and doesn't need stain before application. Patch holes inside the home with this quick-drying, paintable, stainable, and sandable wood and grain filler.

    How Thick Can Wood Filler Be? Try not to go thicker than half an inch. A 1/2 in deep and 3/8 wide would be good. But you can go as long as you wish.

    How long does wood filler take to dry. Most wood fillers dry pretty fast, achieving full hardness in about 30 minutes to one hour. After this drying window, you can sand the product to flush with the rest of the wood surface. Then you can paint or apply wood stains over it to finish the project without waiting longer.

    Yes, wood filler can hold a screw. Once the wood filler is cured well you can screw it with a small pilot hole. Wood filler cannot hold load or stress. It can only hold small screws that carry a very small amount of load or stress.

    The main difference between the two is the longevity of the applied intervention. A sealant is only expected to last not more than a year, while fillings can last up to ten years. The sealant is preventive, while the filling is a form of damage repair.

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