Many different home projects call for the application of wood filler. This can be a confusing process to figure out; but it does not have to be difficult. If you choose the right filler for your project, choose the right tools, prep your wood correctly, and learn a few simple techniques you will be able to evenly apply wood filler to any project that arises.
Choosing the Right Wood Filler
There are many different types of wood filler to choose from; the most popular are water based or oil based. Some advantages of water based fillers are a quicker dry time, they can be used under any stain, are easy to apply, and more environmentally safe. Oil based fillers were once commonly used, but they require several days of dry time and are not environmentally friendly. Carefully check the different labels for the products you are looking at and choose which product will be best for the project you are working on.
Choosing the Right Tools
There are many different tools that can be used for applying wood filler. When making your choice, you need to determine what kind of project you will be working on and what kind of wood filler you choose. If you are working on a large scale project and using oil based filler, a brush with stiff bristles is best. You can also use this kind of brush with water based filler if you have a large area to cover. If you are filling a small hole or doing a quick touch up it is very easy to apply wood filler with a flexible small putty knife. After application you will also need to make sure you have a good sander block, this will help you achieve a smooth surface.
Prepping Your Wood
Like most home improvement projects applying wood filler takes a little prep work to get everything ready for an even and smooth coat. If the area that needs wood filler has paint or stain, you will need to sand or strip the old paint or stain before applying wood filler. Then you will need to properly clean the area making sure you remove all excess saw dust left over from sanding.
It is very important to apply your wood filler carefully. You should use several shallow applications to fill a large hole, and let each layer of wood filler completely dry before applying the next. This is a very important step to create an even surface with no cracking during application. You should also slightly overfill the hole to prevent any shrinkage that can occur with wood fillers.
There are a few special techniques that can be used to ensure that your wood filler is evenly applied. Using a small flexible putty knife, firmly press the blade with your index finger as you use slow and steady movements over the hole being filled. It is also important to use a good sand paper with a firm backing once the wood filler is applied; this will ensure smooth, even surface that will flow seamlessly with the rest of the wood in your project.