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Wood Filler Problem

My daughter built a DVD cabinet from pine and used wood filler to fill in where she placed the screws. She used Minwax stainable wood filler in a small tube, and used Cabot stain. The stain colored the area with the filler considerably darker than the surrounding wood. The wood filler states on the front that it is stainable and paintable, but on the back states it is formulated for Minwax stains, both oil and water based. She is planning an additional unit and would like to avoid this problem, as she was unable to lighten the filled areas. Will she need to use Minwax stain? Or is there another reason for this problem? Thanks in advance for your help. Katrinka

Re: Wood Filler Problem

Is she using trim-head screws? If so, the heads are small enough that she may prefer to use and get better matching results...by using those wax crayon type fill sticks...after the fact. Good luck getting any wood filler to stain & match dead-on.

Or she could use shellac or lacquer sticks instead. These are melted into the holes and then (usually) sanded back or "wiped" flush before finishing.

Or...she could bore out for wood plugs (before placing the screws) and then put/glue those in, sand flush...stain and finish the unit. Make the plugs as face-grain (not end-grain) and from the same species of wood (plug cutter in drill press), line the grain to match the surface grain when inserting and they should be nearly invisible.

(If you make the plugs from common dowel rod or buy common ready-made plugs....they will be showing end-grain when installed. End grain always finishes & stains darker than the face grain or the same species wood and so these plugs will normally be very visible.)

Re: Wood Filler Problem

Wood filler is more porous and a different consistance than wood and absorbs more stain. You can buy pre colored filler but even that is going to show. Any filler looks like filler. The best solution is to go as Goldie suggested and counter sink the screws and use face grain plugs. I beleive you can buy face grain plugs from places like Rockler Woodworking and Woodcraft.

Re: Wood Filler Problem

Thanks Goldhiller and Jack! What great ideas and it will lend a more professional finish. She's getting serious about this woodworking stuff, and it's a new area for me. I will report back after her next project . . . Katrinka

A. Spruce
Re: Wood Filler Problem

As Goldie and Jack pointed out, wood plugs will be the the least noticeable method to cover a screw. A brad point drill bit to countersink the screw head and a plug cutter will run you less than $20 and provide an almost invisible solution to your problem. The thing I like best is that you can select the wood that you're collecting your plugs from and custom match the grain and wood species with the project.

An alternative would be to use finish nails (smaller hole ), finish the project with the stain of choice, then use Color Putty to fill the holes (after staining ). With Color Putty you can mix a variety of premixed colors together to make a custom color that will all but disappear when applied.

J Roper
Re: Wood Filler Problem

I like the response stating to use the wood plugs. That's the correct way. Also, a trick I've found with MinWax products, is to spot prime the wood filler with thier wood conditioner. It seals the pores in the filler so the stain will not soak in and color it so stongley. Another way is to dilute oil based polyeurathane or a varnish type product and it does the same thing.

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