The difference between wood putty and wood filler (and when to use them)

Photo: Virote Chuenwiset, Shutterstock

One of the benefits of using wood to build furniture, structures and other objects is its ability to be fastened together using materials such as screws, nails and glue, and techniques such as the dovetail. And because wood is a natural material, when you work with wood (as opposed to particleboard), everything you make will be unique, thanks to its grain and knots.

Wood, under certain circumstances, can also be forgiving, such as filling in a crack, a nail hole, or a large missing chunk. And that’s where wood putty and wood putty come in. Here’s the difference between wood putty and wood putty, and when to use them.

The difference between wood putty and wood filler

Wood putty and wood putty may seem like the same thing, but the materials should not be used interchangeably. Here’s what you need to know about each:

Wood putty

  • Oil-based compound with other natural or plastic ingredients
  • Denser than wood pulp
  • Must be applied with a putty knife
  • Remains flexible, even in use
  • Impossible to sand it
  • Difficult to stain
  • Available in a variety of colors to match stained or varnished wood
  • Can be used indoors or outdoors

Pore ​​filler

  • Usually a mixture of wood fibers (such as sawdust) and a hardening resin (water or petroleum based) that soaks in and bonds to the wood fibers
  • Hardens as it hardens
  • Can be sanded
  • Can be stained and matched to wood
  • Typically used for interior wood

When to use wood putty or wood filler

Due to their properties and composition described above, wood putty and wood filler are all best for specific (and different) tasks. Here’s when to use wood filler instead of wood putty:

When to use wood putty

  • On woodwork that expands and contracts with humidity (like in a bathroom or basement)
  • On already varnished or stained wood
  • For filling dents, cracks, scratches and small holes in finished furniture, flooring and interior trim
  • For filling nicks and cracks in exterior woodwork
  • For repairing cracks in deck boards

When to use wood filler

  • For patching interior woodwork before staining and finishing
  • For filling nicks, scratches, holes and gouges in unfinished furniture and wood floors
  • For shaping damaged edges on table tops, counters and shelves

In most cases, the choice of material to use is quite simple, depending on where the wood is and whether or not it is finished.

More from Lifehacker UK

Comments are closed.