Problems filling nail holes on oak mantle

Old 11-19-06, 06:30 AM
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Unhappy Problems filling nail holes on oak mantle

Hi all -
Our carpenter built us an oak fireplace mantle and we're working on staining it now. His instructions were to apply the stain (we're using Zar oil-based) in as many coats as needed, then do one coat of polyurethane (we're using Minwax oil-based fast-drying), then fill the nail holes with Minwax wood putty in a shade to match the stain, and finally another couple coats of poly.

The stain and poly steps are fine - the problem arises with the putty. I did a sample on a scrap piece that had been stained and one coat of poly applied. The putty a) is not even close to the right color, it's about 10 shades too light and it was the darkest they had (walnut) and b) smears all over when I try to wipe up the excess with a damp cloth and it won't come up off the poly.

We are staining to a dark espresso color which will take 3-4 coats of stain. We presently have one coat on the mantle and are in a holding pattern until we get further advice. Our carpenter seems to be MIA. So what can I do about the wood filler situation??

Many thanks - Melissa
Old 11-19-06, 08:46 AM
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did you use minwax natural putty?
was it the type that you let dry and sand,
or is it the type you use after applying all finish and
then fill the holes with coloured putty.

try using minwaw putty that you fill theholes and
sand flat then stain.
u can add stain to the natural putty to change
it's colour.

try this on your sample boards.
try natural only then sand and then stain
try adding stain to natural then fill and sand then stain
whole board.

separate a small amount of natural putty to add stain to.
then test.

what did you sand the oak with before staining?
the finer the sanding the less the oak will obsorb the stain.
you can try sanding to 120 on your test boards then
apply the stain.
you can always sand the finish after a couple coats to
avoid sanding through the finish and through the stain to
bare wood, this happens mostly on edges.

if you do the fill with putty first you must avoid
filling too much of the surrounding grain with putty.
and you must sand flat.

natural coloured putty is very close to unstained oak.
if your wood and putty are the same colour to begin
with you should not have any problems.
Old 11-19-06, 08:56 AM
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No I used the putty that you apply after staining and finishing. I'm not happy with how it's working on my test piece.

The oak was sanded with 220 and that's what we were planning on using between coats.

I will try your suggestions - problem is, the mantle already has one coat of stain on it - Zar "charcoal", ie, a pretty dark stain. Like I said, it will require probably 2-3 additional coats to reach the final espresso color. Is it too late to apply the natural putty to the mantle?
Old 11-19-06, 09:17 AM
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if you apply the natural putty now you will
have to sand it flat, and in doing so sand stain off
from surrounding area.
it is tricky but doable.
try to add the stain to the natural minwax putty and
use your finger to apply the putty in the holes.
try it on your sample boards first

i would apply two or three coats of finish and then sand with
220 wet dry paper.
just heat your room up first then turn off the heater for
a few hours so the top layer of the finish sets up first before
you turn on the heater again.
Old 11-19-06, 06:17 PM
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I aways use the little jars of colored putty, doesn't matter who's brand. It almost always takes 2 or more colors, intermixing the putty as needed. While putty can be darkened further with the stain pigments, that tends to be very messy

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