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  • Filling nail holes.

    I am almost done building a hall tree for my wife and am about ready to start finishing. I would like to get an idea of how you people take care of nail holes. Do you prefer to fill them with stainable filler, or stain the piece and fill them with a colored filler.



    Thanks in advance,
    Matt
    Chicago, IL

  • #2
    I've used both. I get a better color match going with the colored putty fillers more so than stainable filler. The stainable filler doesn't seem to absorb stain the same way as the wood, and I've spent a bunch of time trying to get rid of the overfill 'ghost' around the nail hole.

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    • #3
      Just because they call it stainable doesn't necessarily mean that it is. Sure, it'll take stain but very seldom will it come out with the same shade as the surrounding wood does.
      ================================================== ====
      ~~Don't worry about old age; it doesn't last that long.

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      • #4
        I'll second what BD has said.......I gave up trying to find a good stainable filler.

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        • #5
          Not long ago, someone on this forum suggested mixing the saw dust from your projects cuts with wood glue to fill the holes. Just a thought. Haven't tried it myself yet

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Hector B
            Not long ago, someone on this forum suggested mixing the saw dust from your projects cuts with wood glue to fill the holes. Just a thought. Haven't tried it myself yet
            I've tried that a lot. While it's better than "stainable putty", it's not as good as the color-matched putties IMO. If it's just small brad holes, the colored putty would be the best bet, I think.

            For larger holes I like to use the sawdust/glue mixture. Take a BUNCH of the sawdust from sanding that same piece and mix it with just enough glue to make it stick together. When mixed properly, it should be able to roll into a ball with your fingers. The more sawdust the better, obviously.
            I put it all back together better than before. There\'s lots of leftover parts.

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            • #7
              Thanks for the recipe VASandy. I never did pick up on that part of the thread.

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              • #8
                I like putty also, and for your application it would work fine. It would not work as well on furniture, since it is always soft. A lot of guys, since the nail holes are small, place a lighter color of stain in relation to the surrounding wood. Once dry, the hard filler can be touched up and blended with a brown marker. Unless someone comes in with a headlight and a magnifier, the covered nail hole will be hard to see.

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                • #9
                  I'm not meaning to sound like a smarta**, but nails in furniture????
                  Use a better method of joining and there won't be any nail holes.
                  No offence meant, I'm kinda AR about some stuff. ;-D
                  ken
                  Poplar Branch Wood Crafts

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by KenM View Post
                    I'm not meaning to sound like a smarta**, but nails in furniture????
                    Use a better method of joining and there won't be any nail holes.
                    No offence meant, I'm kinda AR about some stuff. ;-D
                    ken
                    Was that THUD I just heard Sir(tac it with a brad until the glue dries) Norm fainting and hitting the floor?
                    Last edited by BadgerDave; 11-01-2006, 08:37 AM.
                    ================================================== ====
                    ~~Don't worry about old age; it doesn't last that long.

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                    • #11
                      That's because Norm is really a carpenter and David Marks is really a woodworker.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Filling nail holes.

                        i use famowood wood filler. It comes in several diferent types and blends very well with stains and sealers. Fill all the holes before sanding and dont overapply it. It is in several wood working catalogs

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                        • #13
                          Re: Filling nail holes.

                          I sometimes sand a scrap of the same wood and collect the sanding dist. I stir in a few drops of the stain that I am going to use and let the mixture dry.

                          After staining the project, I mix a small amount of white glue into the stained dust to make a paste and use it to fill small holes (nail, small knot). Fill the hole proud, let dry and smooth with a sharp chisel.

                          Since the stain has already penetrated the project, the white glue does not act as a sealer on the project surface.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Filling nail holes.

                            Originally posted by agent511 View Post
                            That's because Norm is really a carpenter and David Marks is really a woodworker.
                            According to Mr Marks, he is a "Furniture Artist". At least that's what he called himself on the last show I saw!

                            Another old-timey way of hiding nail holes is to use a sharp paring chisel to lever up a sliver of wood, drive in the nail, and then glue the sliver back down. This will not work if you chisel too deep or if the wood is brittle. Stanley made a tool designed to do this called a blind-nailer, which will cut a shallow flat groove under the splinter, but is slighly radiused up on the sides to prevent tearing the edge. Don't know if they still make them in the UK or not.

                            Go
                            Practicing at practical wood working

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                            • #15
                              Re: Filling nail holes.

                              I personally do not like the sawdust route. If you get glue on a piece and don't get it all off you have a staining problem. Likewise if you use just a little to much glue in the mix it will seal and it will not take glue at all. Your best bet is stain, seal and 1 coat of finish then coloured putty to match, and then the final coats. It is important to seal the inside of the nail hole before applying the putty. If not the wood will suck the moisture out of the putty, it will develop a crack and may fall out.
                              Or on the next project try glue and clamps instead of nails.

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