The 7 Best Products to Patch Wood

Sometimes it’s nail holes and sometimes it’s rotten wood, but your projects will often require you to patch wood. In this post I’ll help you determine the best materials (and there are tons available!) to use when the time comes to patch wood projects.

The type of material you should use will depend on what kind of patching or filling you need to do. Is it exterior or interior? Will it be painted or left natural? We’ll focus on answers to those questions as well.

If you want to purchase any of these products I would love it if you bought them through the links in this post which are affiliate links and help me pay to keep this blog running at no extra cost to you. If you decide not to you can always purchase most of these at your local hardware store.

You can also read the results of my 1-year field testing of most of these wood fillers and epoxies at The Wood Filler & Epoxy Test (Year 1) to see how these products performed in the real world.

1. MH Ready Patch

As of late, this has become my go to filler to patch wood. It doesn’t work for structural patches like an epoxy, but it does almost everything else. It dries fast, 30-45 mins before it’s ready to sand.

It is an oil-based product but it cleans up with soap and water, which I love! I use it to fill holes up to a dime in size, smooth out alligatoring paint, surface checks, fill surface gouges or almost anything else I may need. I really can’t extol the virtues and uses of MH Ready Patch enough. Its only weakness is when you try to fill large areas. For that I use the next item on the list.


2. LiquidWood & WoodEpoxAbatron LiquidWood WoodEpox

There are tons of different types of epoxies for wood, but this product by Abatron is by far my favorite. We use this every single day! This system is a permanent solution that you can use for repairs as small as filling small holes to completely rebuilding damaged pieces. The two parts work together to stabilize “punky” wood and fill in the missing areas.

The repairs can be sanded, drilled, planed, essentially you are left with a piece that performs just like wood but will never rot or fall out. Epoxy repairs are some of the strongest most long-lasting ways to patch wood. They are structural, so they can be used anywhere and are usually not troubled by water issues like other putties.

Got some serious rot? This is the stuff you need. For info on how to use this awesome product, read my tutorial How To Repair Rotted Wood With Abatron Epoxy.


3. Durham’s Water Putty

This product is extremely versatile and is a mainstay of my shop. Mix the powder with water to whatever consistency you need. If you want it to self-level, mix it thinner. If you need it to stick to a vertical surface mix it thicker.

Apply it with a putty knife or whatever tool is most applicable to your project. And let it dry. Drying time varies wildly depending on how big the wood patch is and the weather. Once it is dry sand it smooth, prime, and paint.

Water Putty can work both outdoors and indoors, but without priming and paint, it will mildew and fail rather quickly outside. The great stuff about Durham’s Water Putty is that as it dries it expands to fill the hole and really sticks into the patch unlike most wood fillers that shrink as they dry. Almost as good as epoxy at a fraction of the cost.



4. KwikWood

For strong repairs in a hurry this product is the best. Anyone who does wood repair should have a tube of this sitting in their shop or garage. This is a very simple to use 2-part epoxy that you mix with your hands. It’s kind of like squishing a tootsie roll together to mix both parts. Once you mix it, you have about 10 minutes before it starts to set up and in 20-30 mins, it is hard as a rock.

I use it to form difficult profiles that I need to sculpt or as a structural repair. Its fast drying time and resistance to rot and mildew make it perfect for exterior repairs. I have used it outdoors and left it unpainted for years with no problem. It’s a champ and a real time saver!


5. Wood Filler

Wood filler is available everywhere and it is the standard. Some wood fillers have a sandy consistency and some are smoother. There are interior formulas and exterior as well.

The nice thing about wood filler is that you can usually find it in many different colors or in stainable options to achieve an even better color match. Apply it with a finger tip or putty knife, sand when it’s smooth and prime when you’re done.


6. Sawdust & Superglue

This is an old carpenter’s trick to fill nail holes on furniture that will be left unpainted. This method works great for filling small holes in woodwork.

To patch wood using this method, you’ll need sawdust from the specific wood you are patching. Mix it with just a bit of superglue. You don’t need a lot of glue, just enough to bind the sawdust together and create a thick paste. Use a putty knife to push the mixture into the nail holes quickly since superglue dries so quickly. Once it’s dry, sand the surface and you’re good to go.


7. DAP Painter’s Putty

This putty excels at filling nail holes and other small spots. The thing I love about it is that it doesn’t require sanding. Use your finger to push it into the hole and then smooth the surface level with your finger.

This is an oil-based putty which makes it fairly slow drying, especially if it is primed or painted with an oil-based paint. That slow drying aspect means that it remains flexible for a longer period which is very helpful. The negatives are that it doesn’t do well in large gaps and also has a tendency to make your paint “flash” if not primed.


You may have a different product or technique that I didn’t mention, and if you do let us know about it in the comments. Hopefully, this post has given you some great new products to try. I know these will make your projects go smoother and look better. Happy patching!


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by Scott Sidler

I'm a historic preservationist and licensed contractor. I help old house lovers understand & restore their homes so they can enjoy the history and character that surrounds them more everyday! When not working, writing or teaching about old houses I spend most of my time fixing up my own 1929 bungalow with my wife Delores and sons Charley and Jude.


  1. Beth Lynch on said:

    Hi Scott,

    So I guess my only question is this, which one would say takes stain the best? That seems to be my largest issue with all fillers.

  2. Mark Forster on said:

    Hi there
    I’m looking to fill cracks in a round slab (3″ thick) from the trunk of a tree. I’ve seen online companies filling with a white resin which looks great when finished, do you have any idea what this product is and where I could get it please?
    Here is a link to some tables inlaid with the resin
    thanks in advance

    • Mark, I don’t know what that product is but it definitely creates a unique look!

  3. GM on said:

    This is a fantastic site with lots of great info! Question: I have a solid wood garage door that is about five years old and started to show some water damage on the bottom panel. The door takes a pretty good beating from the elements — both sun and rain. Hired a contractor to repair it, and I believe he used some form of Bondo. Less than a year later, the repaired area is showing a crack where it is starting to lift away from the door. If I wanted to try one of the products listed here, do you recommend digging out all the Bondo, or could a wood epoxy be applied on top of any Bondo that has not yet started to degrade? Thanks!

    • If dig out the old filler and use some Abatron WoodEpox.

  4. Chip Miller on said:

    What do you recommend I use to fill holes left by old hinges when I’m replacing with european hinges? I’ll be re-staining the cabinets . . .

  5. Omar on said:

    Hi scott so i have a little issue
    I am having to repair dents in some metal frames as well as repair the solid core doors from nicks and dents
    We will then be primjng and painting
    May i know what route you would take to having a superior finish and durability?

  6. Chris on said:

    Sorry if this has been mentioned already. I’ve just finished putting down pine tongue and groove flooring on a porch. Most of the boards were successfully blind nailed. However, some face nailing was required. I used stainless steel finish head screws to accomplish this. So, I want to fill in all of the holes on the porch. Being a porch, there is a roof over the flooring, but it will still get some sun exposure and water exposure. What would you suggest for filling the holes that won’t shrink up or degrade?

  7. Jessica Chan on said:

    We removed the carpeting from our stairs with the intention of sanding and staining the treads and painting the risers white. Unfortunately after we did this we saw that one of the stair treads has a rather large knot hole where the actual knot has fallen through. It is about the size of a lime. Would the Abatron product work in this case to fill the knot hole strong enough for daily walking? Will it hold stain well or will it be very obvious that there is a patch in the tread?

    • It should work just fine, depending on the color I would try to tint the WoodEpox before applying to make sure the color is as close as possible before staining.

  8. Camila Irwin on said:

    Hi, Very helpful article! Thank you. I want to make sure I use what’s right… My husband was experimenting and trying to make two shelves longer to fit our wall. One was two short and two were too long. So he cut them in half and joined them. Problem is the cut wasn’t perfect and now there is a 1/4in gap between the selves which is very obvious. We are going to paint them but what can we use to join the shelves and fill that gap? Wood Kwik wood work? Thanks for yorur help! 🙂

    • You can use dowels to join the shelves pretty easily or you could use some kind of joinery if you wanna be fancy. To fill the gap Kwikwood would work great.

  9. Anthony on said:

    Scott, my paint store recommended SYSTEM THREE Wood Restoration EndRot Kit, for severe rot I have on a window sill. Are you familiar with the product and if so, do you have an opinion on it? I reached for the Old Durhams and they stopped me.

    • I’ve heard of it but don’t have any experience with it. I’m a fan of Abatron WoodEpox for things like this though.

  10. Marco P. on said:

    Hi Scott. I’m a DIY building a pergola using some fairly large timber (6x8s, 4x10s). Some of the lumber has a lot of checking, and i’d prefer to fill the checks before I stain. What can you recommend for filling 1/32 to 1/8 surface and end checks that will stay put while expanding and contracting with the wood? Thank you.

  11. Letizia Castiglione on said:

    I need to fill in some missing veneer on a cedar chest before painting it. It’s a pretty large area all along one side. It goes in and out from barely any to 5 inches for the hole 49 inches of the side. Hopefully this description makes sense. Everywhere I looked for missing veneer everyone seems to use auto body bondo. I’m just trying to make sure what I do stays put for many years to come and that it’s something that can do that with just such an extremely thin layer.
    Thank you in advance!

    • Letizia Castiglione on said:

      Oops. For the *whole 49 inches of the side. Also this is right at the edge.

      Thanks again!


    • The WoodEpox would be my first choice for something like this since you are going to paint.

      • Letizia Castiglione on said:

        Thank you for that!!! I’m assuming you mean the Abatron product? I forgot to mention that I don’t do this regularly and this is my first time, so I was looking to spend the least amount of money possible and get the least amount of product possible since I’m basically going to waste 90% of it. What do you think about using all purpose bondo? Or I could get minwax high performance wood filler since I can get both in a pretty small can. I was reading that they seem to yield the same results, so most people go with the cheaper option, bondo. I’m sorry I should have explained myself better. Thank you so much for helping!!!

        • Abatron has a pint size available for the WoodEpox so you won’t have to waste quite as much. I’d stay away from Bondo but the HP Minwax might work well. It’s just harder to apply as easily and can cure pretty quickly if you’re not careful. Abatron is a little more foolproof.

          • Letizia Castiglione on said:

            I see. Thank you for all the amazing help!!! It’s so confusing seeing how many people recommend bondo. Of course I trust your opinion and will do as you said. I’m just wondering what to of issues you have with bondo? (I know it’s definitely not recommended for outside) I’m just trying to learn. Thanks again!!

          • No problem! Bondo cures very hard and is messier to work with. It also has a tendency to pull away from the wood in larger patches as well. That’s why I’m not a fan.

          • Letizia Castiglione on said:

            Great!! Thank you so much!!!

  12. Michael on said:

    I have some new siding that has been oil primed with bm fresh start. Then, Filled nail hoes w ready patch. Will finish with 2 coats bm regal select. Is it mandatory to prime those hundreds of filled nail holes before finish coats? I was planning to just sand and apply finish.

    • I would spot prime first otherwise you may get little spots of flashed paint.

  13. Jess Aulwes on said:

    I am refinishing my cabinets which have demountable hinges with 3/8 inset. I thought I found rplacements, and got rid of my old hinges. When I went to install the new hinges, I discovered they were double and my cabinets need single. All of the refinishing is done. Can I fill the router holes in the doors with something and just get regular 3/8 inset hinges? What can I use.

  14. Scott on said:

    Hi all I purchased a home that was built in 1942 that was to last two years for the miners here in Henderson NV the homes were delivered in by train on box cars. Its made of redwood and the previous owners had 6-7 layers of roofing foam material etc. The roof got so heavy they put in a vertical beam under the beam to help support all the weight on the roof. We took the vertical beam out after repairing the roof. The beam was attached to the overhead beam but just set on the redwood floor. The floor a little damaged about 12 inches by 12 inches about an 1/4 inch or so deep wondering if I could use one of these products that is going to be clear to fill the damaged spot any ideas.

  15. Tom on said:

    Hi. We have a small (half inch deep by 2 inch long) hole in our hard wood flooring. What can we use to fill and paint or stain to match our floor. Thank you.. Tom.

    • Try the Wood Epox and then sand and stain it. You’ll have a good match and the repair will last.

  16. Christine Rideout on said:

    My husband is no carpenter. When he sanded our kitchen cupboards he went to deep in some spots leaving gouges. How can we repair them?

  17. Mike English on said:

    I have what I will call a ‘floating soffit’ that was installed in a remodel of our kitchen. It is decorative. They used 1/4″ plywood on the bottom side, with several pieces butt spliced in order to cover the long span. At the seam a wood putty was used and painted over but keeps cracking open. I need to use something flexible but not sure what would be best for a horizontal overhead surface. Maybe RestorIt flexible epoxy? Thanks for any suggestions you may have.

  18. Barb W on said:

    Please help! I have kitchen cupboards that have 1 cm wooden plugs in the corners. I would like to remove and fill holes. What is the best product to use? I am hoping to match the oak stain and also do not want to remove doors.

  19. Ashley on said:

    Thanks for the informative article. I am trying to smooth out the scraped paint on my siding before painting. Sanding to feather seemed to make the problem worse. I used Elmer’s wood filler under the porch before I realized that it was Interior. Should I sand it all off and start over with another product or do you think it would be ok since it is under a covered porch and going to be painted?

    • If you’re skim coating with wood filler it won’t last long. Unfortunately, the best options is sanding smooth or using a high build primer to try to cover the unevenness.

  20. Nancy on said:

    I’m trying to repair a pocket door. Whoever cut out the wood to allow for the hardware took out too much, so there’s really nothing for the screws to go into. After reading your post, I think I could build this cut out out a bit, enough to be able to screw the hardware into it. But which product? It’s kind of a jagged cut in the door now. Thanks for your help.

    • The best stuff for edges is the WoodEpox and LiquidWood combo.

  21. Michael on said:

    Scott, great site and thanks for all the helpful information. I’ll certainly order whatever products you suggest directly from your site if you can give me some advice.
    I live in SW Colorado with extreme temp changes from 80 degrees in summer to below freezing in winter. My home was built in 2003 and I have problems with my exterior wood trim (1X4’s)and fascia boards (2X10’s). The contractor used brass or copper nails on the trim and galvanized nails on the fascia boards and while some are flush, most are recessed/countersunk 1/8-1/4 inch and I’m now getting black teardrops/weeping from those that are recessed. Thought I could just go to Home Depot and get some wood putty to fill in on top of the nails but saw so many different products that I decided to do a little research online and thankfully found your site. What would you suggest – wood filler? wood putty? a dab of stainable caulking or something else? I plan to sand and re stain after filling the recessed nails but don’t want to end up with a bunch of unsightly dots that don’t match the stain color. Would be very grateful for any suggestions.

    • Michael, good news and bad news. Depending on what kind of wood your trim is made of you may be stuck with those black teardrops. If it’s cedar and he used galvanized nails you’re in for trouble. Cedar has tannins in it that will eat through and rust out any fasteners that aren’t stainless steel.
      If it’s pine or another wood then filling with and interior exterior stainable wood filler like Elmer’s or Minwax should work great in this case.

      • Michael on said:

        Scott, thanks so much for your advice. I’ll give it a try with stainable wood filler in an inconspicuous spot and let you know how it comes out.

  22. Jonathan on said:

    Hey Scott, I’m refinishing the original stairs and banisters in my 1880’s home. The spindles are no longer square as the home has settled so has everything else. I want to right them.

    The top of the spindle is cylindrical and inserts into a hole in the bottom of the railing, while the square base is inserted and secured with a big old square nail into a notch in the stair.

    I need to move drill new holes in the underside of the railing to right the spindles, but the new holes will overlap the old ones in most cases. As such, I need a filler that is strong enough to be drilled through once cured, and will take stain well (as the underside of the railing is visible).

    Any thoughts? Thanks, Jonathan

    • Jonathan, sounds like quite a project. I would use WoodEpox and LiquidWood for this project. Hold firm and drills just like regular wood.

  23. Jen on said:

    I have a bureau that was damages by an unattended candle. The char is deep. I have removed all of the Burt wood and now have a significant patch to do. I’m thinking wood epoxy would be best but does it take stain well?

    • It takes stain decently but I would use some the Abatron powder tints to get the WoodEpox as close to the color of your wood as you can before staining. That helps it hide best!

  24. Nicole on said:

    I have hardwood floors and noticed a small piece missing from one of the planks on the floor. Which one of these products is best to use or is there something else I can use to repair? Thank you.

    • Nicole, if it’s a larger piece you may be better off with a Real wood patch, but for areas smaller than a half dollar I’d use the WoodEpox. But for very small repairs the Kwikwood would be my choice.

  25. Sarah Krause on said:

    Hiya. I’m trying to reap holster a 150 year old chair. After removing 100 tiny tacks the frame is pretty damaged. Wood is pretty soft. I don’t have the skill to remove it and make a new one. What would you recommend to repair so it can be stronger and take staples? Thanks a bunch

  26. Chris Stouder on said:

    Hi Scott, I have used this post many times over with good results thanks to this article. It’s been awhile since I have read all the questions so I hope I am not asking a repeat. Anyway, we have installed beadboard ceilings and walls in a new addition and have primed and are ready to paint. There are some knots and holes that will need to be addressed before we can proceed. I’m pretty sure the wood is not pine. I have several products at hand to use including painters putty, Kwikwood, MH ready patch, Durhams water putty, and WoodEpox. I’m not sure which one would be the best choice in this case and would love to get your advice on it! Thanks so much your all the great info!

    • It depends on the size of the knots. For the larger knot holes I’d recommend Water Putty if it’s not exterior. If it is exterior go with WoodEpox. If there are just small slivers around the knot holes then MH Ready patch will be a good fit too.

  27. Nicole on said:

    I have a chair that I’m reupholstering and it has a lot of staple/decorative nail holes in the frame. What can I use to fill the holes and help add strength back into the frame? Something that I’d be able to staple into again.

  28. Dianna on said:

    I build custom wood tables out of pine & cedar (depending on the style top). We use the less expensive wood to offer a beautiful table but to extend the savings to the customer. We are noticing that the Minwax wood filler (even tried a wood filler made for high traffic wood floors) is cracking. We assume the wood is expanding & contracting & causing the filler to crack but do you have any recommendations? Maybe something stronger or more flexible that we can use & still stain? Is there any product that can dry damp wood or encase it from moving?
    Thanks for the guidance.

  29. Karen on said:

    Hi Scott, I have an old cedar chest where the hinge screws on the lid have fallen out. Which of your fillers do you recommend to fill the holes so I can re-drill the screws back in? I don’t intend to do any painting on it. Thanks. Karen

    • Use the Kwikwood for those holes. Should work great!

      • Karen on said:

        Thanks for that info. Now the cedar chest lid broke apart inbetween pieces of wood where the lid arm goes. So, what is the best repair product for holding 2 pieces of cedar together. I’m not concerned about the look as much as the smell. Thanks.

  30. Chris on said:

    I had to cut up the whole subfloor in a room. I used a circular saw and jig saw to do this and my cut is close to being straight but I did hit a couple nails that caused the saw to deflect and I might have a few spots that the cut is not even (maybe a 1/2 nick). When I lay the new subfloor and if there is a gap/imperfections, I was wondering if there is a filler I could use to fill the voids or what do you suggest to use? Thank you in advance!

    • I wouldn’t worry too much about small gaps in the subfloor, but filling with caulk for air sealing purposes might work well.

  31. Theresa Stillens on said:

    I am pretty new to woodworking and finishing and I recently completed a trim project and used Minwax sanded wood filler to fill in my nail holes and hammer marks (oops). BIG MISTAKE! It looks awful, even after staining. What do you suggest? I hate to dig it out and possibly cause more damage but I am not happy how it turned out and do not want to start over with 4 new pieces of trim. What would you suggest??

    • Theresa, if you’re not happy with the appearance then digging it out and refilling is really the best option. No filler completely blends in, so if the holes are big it will always stand out. I’m sorry if I led you wrong with my mention of the filler.

  32. JonT on said:

    Hi Scott,
    I just had an sauna/steam room built for me out of T&G Cypress. It looks great but I was disappointed when the builder let his helper nail the T&G boards improperly leaving hundreds of small nail holes. My options are to just leave it alone and enjoy or to find a way to patch the small nail holes. The Cypress will not be stained inside( Paraffin oil is recommended for the wood) and the interior will be damp with heat and steam. I noticed your recommendation of sawdust and superglue for small nail holes for unfinished wood but fear the sheer number of nail holes with fast drying superglue would make this difficult. What suggestions do you have for this?

    • Jon, that’s a tough one. I don’t really know what the best solution for filling in a situation like that. Extreme heat, humidity, and no finish to cover it. Maybe tinted epoxy like KwikWood to match the wood color?

  33. Alan Clark on said:

    Thanks for this list and information. Sound like good products, and of course everything has an upside and a downside.
    But…….For small holes or cracks or gaps, I use Allback organic linseed putty, available from the Eco Living Room at 12 Cataraqui Street, Kingston, Ontario. It is purified organic raw linseed oil based, and it truly breathable, so no moisture can be trapped behind it. That’s what I love about it. It’s also 100% compatible with Allback organic purified linseed oil based paint, which never peels, cracks, buckles, blisters, or traps moisture causing the wood to rot. This type of putty can be painted with this type of paint immediately after it is in place. If you don’t have an eco living room in your area, you can order these products at This site also has all the different products and information about them.
    I often use Abatron to repair rot damage, but in some cases you’ll be able to use Allback organic raw linseed oil, then a slurry of raw linseed oil and linseed putty, then the straight linseed putty, depending on the particular situation.
    Another thing worth checking out is wood wizzards for rot repair, With this you can proceed with the repair even while the wood is still damp, which is very handy. Unlike Abatron, where you have to get the wood dry before proceeding with the repair. With wood wizzards, if you start with dry looking wood, and the temperature is 70F, you can apply the liquid resin (a primer and wood petrifier) 20 min after treating with bio cleaner (to clean) and timbor solution (timbor powder dissolved in water to kill off any fungi), even though the wood would still have some wetness or dampness in it from the treatment. Wood Wizzards seems to be able to allow moisture to evaporate out of the wood.

  34. A couple of years ago, I used Durham’s Water Putty on cedar clapboards and window trim. I then primed with my oil primer and then top coated with two coats of latex. I painted in the autumn and by the next summer/fall in many locations where there was water putty I had failing paint. The locations where I used an exterior wood filler have held up just fine. I won’t use it again on the exterior.

    • Stuart, thanks for the update! I have lately been shying away from water putty for some of the same reasons. I prefer the Abatron to almost anything now because it has such a tenacious grip on the wood if applied correctly.

  35. Carol on said:

    Hi Scott,
    The JB Weld epoxy product KwikWood looks like a great fit for a project we are getting ready to take on (woodpeckers ruined a fascia board on one dormer). Do you have any experience on JB Weld 2-part epoxy WoodWeld? We want the most durable product because I never want to have to climb up there again!
    Thank you,

    • Carol, I haven’t used the 2-part wood weld but have used the steel version of the same. I found it messy and tough to work with, but effective once it was applied correctly. I think Kwikwood is the easier route to take.

  36. Cara on said:

    Hi Scott,
    I have a couple of nice, old, solid wood doors from the 30s & while the paint is quite sound, there’s an unintended crackle effect. Someone recommended skimming over the small cracks with joint compound, or spackle, but I’m hesitant. Is there another product you might recommend? I prefer something without a strong smell & I find the M&H’s smell unpleasant.


    • Cara, the crackle effect would best be dealt with by a sander to smooth out the surface. Just skimming will likely look good in the short term but fail early on.

  37. Jeanne on said:

    We have interior logs in a bedroom we are remodeling. The previous owner notched out the logs to place 2×4’s to install paneling. We would like to keep logs exposed but need to fill in these notches, which are quite large. Do you know what we could use to fill these in and would be able to sand and stain,

    • For a large patch like that I would patch it with another piece of wood called a Dutchman patch. You may need to do a little faux painting to make everything match.

  38. mike on said:

    Hi Scott,

    We had a pergola built in our backyard, finished, primed and painted white. the issue is that within the first year the wood has cracked in some areas. I suspect the hot cold cycle, and the continued drying out of the wood is the cause. I don’t think I have any rot yet, but I will if I don’t get it sealed back up, primed and painted. What would you recommend to fill? I’ll need waterproof obviously, but also something that has some flex as the wood continues to shrink/expand.

    • Larry Clark on said:

      I have a fairly new arbor and two of the cedar post nearest to our home have cracks. The wood has a dark brown stain after being dipped prior to erecting. The largest crack is about 4 to 5′ long and at the widest point maybe 1/4″ wide. What can I use to fill in with and either mix stain with filler prior to use or porous enough to stain after being filled?

      • I’d probably use the Minwax wood filler for something like this.

  39. Michele on said:

    Scott, Thanks for all the great information!
    To update my 1990’s honey oak kitchen cabinets, I’m going to paint them and replace hardware/hinges. I’d like to switch to concealed hinges, however, current hinges are double demountable hinges with a good size “T” cut deep into the face frame and the side of the doors. Can these holes be filled? and then screwed into for new hinge?
    Also, is there way to replicate the oak grain so the filled area isn’t obvious (scratch grain pattern into fill?) or better yet, is there a grain filler you recommend (to use over existing finish) for cabinet doors/boxes so grain isn’t obvious anywhere? (I’m going to paint with General Finishes water based milk paint)
    Your thoughts much appreciated!

  40. Jenn on said:

    Scott, Thank you so much for this informative article. I’m looking to fill gaps between the cutout of a wood floor and radiator pipes. Do you have any recommendation as to which filler reacts well to heat? Thanks!

  41. Col on said:

    Hi Scott,
    I am refinishing my deck and need to fill cracks in the deck boards and in the gaps in the butt joins to stop moisture getting into the ends of the boards that causes the solid color deck stain to lift. Whatever I use needs to be flexible yet durable when it’s dry to facilitate expansion and contraction of the boards. I have tried the best quality calking compound I could find as well as Elmer’s premixed wood filler. Neither have stood up or provided the water seal I am looking for. Can you recommend a wood filler for this application?

  42. Heather on said:


    We just bought a house built in 1900. We have a screen door with glass in the top as well as a screen that opens up to allow air in. The door was accidentally left open and the wind caught it causing it to get ripped out of both door hinges. It fell vertically and slid down our concrete steps. We love the door, however it will need some patching as it is missing some 1-2 inch chunks from the fall. Thankfully the glass stayed in tack and did not break. What type of patch would work best to fill the holes with and then repainted to match the rest?

    • Either a Dutchman repair or WoodEpox for this repair.

  43. cc stahl on said:

    Have antique dresser that has pieces of broken and missing veneer. Want to fill the missing spaces in and paint over it. What would you recommend? Thank you so much for your time and advice!

  44. jack windle on said:

    I need to fill some divots and small areas of water damage on the osb substrate on my rv roof. My first thought was Durhams but am concerned about movement and walking traffic on it. it will be primerd and then covered with a solvent based adhesive and then epdm rubber roofing. Any thoughts?

  45. Tony on said:


    I have a Victorian building. An over enthusiastic plumber pulled out a bolt and ripped a dime size hole to the exterior. Unfortunately it butts up against the building next door (with a 2″ gap). Any suggestions as to how to seal it from the inside (one suggestion was a cocktail umbrella coated with Sikaflex!).

    • It depends on what the exterior cladding (wood siding, brick, etc) is and how much access you have from the interior.

      • Tony on said:

        It’s old redwood siding. We have great access from the interior as it is stripped to the studs. Looks like someone stuck a layer of drywall directly to exterior siding. (it is an old mudroom that probably got built out around 1920)

  46. Keith on said:

    I am about to paint an exterior of a very large house with lots of rough sawn wood trim, 50 gallons of paint worth. The previous contractor patched some troubled areas with bondo The patchwork does not look good, goes smooth to rough. Other than removing and replacing the wood I was wondering if there is a patching and graining(texturing) technique that you are aware of that I could do to give a rough sawn effect.

    • Keith you could remove the bondo (which I recommend anyway) and do a dutchman patch that matches the rough texture of the wood.

  47. Dave on said:

    Hi Scott. I have a hollow wooden closet door in which there is a hole in one side approximately 1″x2″. The door is painted. I would rather patch this hole than to replace the whole door. Any recommendations please?

    • For a hollow wood door it’s usually cheaper to replace than patch.

  48. Bob Adams on said:

    Scott…We have removed the fabric from the legs of our dining room chairs to stain the wood. We need to fill all the little staple holes with a filler that will take the stain to the same degree as the natural wood so we don’t have a bunch of little spots that don’t match.
    What filler should we use?? Thanks.

  49. Sharon Jenkins on said:

    We have 2 17 year old adirondeck (spelling ?)chairs we have just replaced several of the boards. One of the larger back boards is rotten at the end and we are wondering what type of wood filler we should use to repair it. In previous years we have used Git-Rot on a boat — not even sure it is still available. What is your suggestion? These chairs are outside and covered during the winter months.

  50. Linda on said:

    hello, can you tell me if the Sawdust & Superglue method is stainable and what is the best glue to use for this method? also where can I buy it?
    thank you.

    • Linda, it is not stainable in my experience. I don’t have a favorite type of glue, really whatever clear super glue is around has worked for me in the past.

      • Linda on said:

        Hello Scott, thank you for your prompt reply, you prevented us from making a HUGE mistake!

  51. Ed on said:

    Got cracks? I found that taking tooth picks, flat or round, your choice, moistening them with alcohol and shaping them to the crack, putting in wood glue and putting in the picks with a screwdriver or pointing tool will work great, dry and sand.

  52. Ken on said:

    Hello Scott, I wonder if you have a recommendation for a wood filler that could fill gaps in a pre-finished wood floor. I have some gaps throughout the floor between the floor boards and I’m looking for filler that will not shrink, create a durable bond and flowable enough to apply into the gaps (roughly 1/8″). Thanks for your help!
    – Ken

  53. Susan Harward on said:

    I have a couple nicks in my wood pub table. They are down in to the unstained wood part but less than the size of a pencil eraser. What is the best product to fill them with. I am affraid if I have to sand these two small spots it will be a total refinish process and I don’t want that. TIA

    • Susan, most fillers will need sanding to blend in perfectly. You may try using a stain pen to hide the nicks rather than filling staining and finishing the small area.

  54. Linda on said:

    Hello Scott, What filler or caulk would you suggest for the exterior of my house? We helped paint any other house and the area where the filled and caulked was showed a different color from the wood area. We also used a primer and paint. Thank you

  55. Laura on said:

    Hi. I have an antique spinning wheel that was well used. I plan on using it again, but the treadle where it is joined to the wheel with a rod is almost worn through. There is about 1/8″ of wood left, and it’s about an1/2″ square hole, open on 3 sides. I will need to drilla hole in this patch and it will need to hold up to significant stress. I also did not want to paint it, but keep the original finish. Is an epoxy filler my best bet?

    • Of all the fillers epoxy would be best but in this case a Dutchman repair would probably give you the strongest solution.

  56. John T on said:

    Scott thanks for your great info!

    We have a mahogany deck with some snow/water damage around some screws. Want to repair, fill, and stain. Looks like WoodEpox is your go to? What about MinWax stainable wood filler? Thanks

    • For an exterior deck I would stick with the epoxy. Wood filler doesn’t hold up quite as well.

  57. Brian on said:

    I am replacing carpet. I needed to chisel out some rotted floorboard. (I reduced the 3/4″ thick floor board to 1/2″ thick place in a small area up against the wall). Now the carpet installer cannot lay the tack strip down because a portion of the floorboard is gone. What would you recommend I use to fill in the flooring? It needs to be strong enough to support the tack strip and the carpet stretching process?

  58. Carmen on said:

    Thanks for answering all of these questions! I have another if you have time.
    I am repainting our colonnade which was unfortunately made with several pieces of rough knotty pine. What should I use to fill in the rough spots around the knots? I have already applied a few coats of clear shellac to the knots- have not primed yet.
    Thanks for any suggestions!

    • I use WoodEpox for knots holes all the time. Works great!

  59. Emily Deslattes on said:

    We built a farm house style table but have found the cracks between the boards on the tabletop catch too many crumbs. My idea was to fill it with Elmer’s Wood Filler, sand it, then stain and polyurethane the top again. My only concern is that where we did this same thing on the screw holes in the frame, there are now raised spots, like the filler expanded out. What would be the best method to fill these cracks? Did we do something wrong on the screw holes?

    • Emily, the filler is likely being pushed out from wood movement. Try an epoxy like WoodEpox or Minwax Hohh Performance Wood Filler to fill the gaps.

  60. Caroline Olsen on said:

    I am making a table out of a circular cut of a tree trunk. In the middle there is a hole about 1″ deep and 2″ wide and I want to fill it with something CLEAR. What would you suggest? Epoxy?

  61. Lisa on said:

    Hi. We bought a long wood table at a flea market made out of barn siding. It had been sanded and refinished. However there is a crack going down one side of the table. It has not reached the other end, but I’m sure it will. It is getting wider as well. What is the best filler to use since the table has already been stained and varnished?
    Thanks for your help.

  62. Kim on said:

    Scott, this article and posts/discussion are great. We had plywood subfloors (interior) that we painted 10 years ago; they held up great but were recently damaged by a burst frozen pipe. What product would you recommend for filling counter-sunk nail holes & especially seams for our new plywood floors to be painted? We plan to faux finish using latex paint & use Endurovar water-based varnish to seal. Thanks for your help! Kim

  63. Susan on said:

    Hi – I paint furniture and resell it. I recently got a desk that had several predrilled holes about an inch in from the side space about 3/4″ apart (maybe for a piece of decorative trim that is long gone). I filled the holes with spackle, sanded and painted. You can still see small rises where the spackle was. How can I fix this without sanding off the entire desk top? Thanks

    • Susan try using an epoxy filler like WoodEpox to fill the holes instead of spackle. Overfill with the epoxy then sand smooth and level and it will last a long long time.

      • JR on said:

        Hi Scott,
        I purchased hardwood yellow pine (butcher block style) random length and widths planking. I was told these planks are used to mfg laminated structural beams. I ripped them down to the same widths and made a floor out of them, looks really old, warm and unique. Now 10 years later I have gaps 1/8 to almost 1/2 inch between some of the boards, summer time they do minimize some. I am not feeling up to ripping the floor up and tightening the gaps. I was looking for a spreadable acrylic glossy type liquid to just pour over the entire floor.. we have some splinters as well.
        What do you think

  64. David on said:

    The epoxy options sound like something to try. I’ve used Durham’s and have been pleased. I’ll have to try a thicker consistency to see if I can mold it like clay. I’ve never been a fan of wood filler though. It doesn’t seem to stick, so when I try to spread it out with a putty knife it just rolls up and falls out. If Elmer’s makes it shouldn’t it have a glue-like consistency?

  65. Gloria on said:

    High end frames have seamless joints –what kind of wood filler do they use? I’m framing a vanity mirror and want to make the joints seamless.

    • Gloria, an epoxy or since its interior only you could also use Bondo to fill the joints for a seamless appearance.

  66. Nikki on said:

    We rewired our 100 yr. old apartment and our painted bsseboards were left with holes where the old outlets were housed. What is the best way to fill these holes? Can we use an epoxy or do we have to use blocks of wood?

    • Nikki, I would use blocks of wood to patch these otherwise known as a Dutchman repair.

  67. rsun on said:

    I am trying to figure out the best way to get a smooth exterior patio ceiling. Installers put in CDX and what I believe is bondo to fill in the seams. After 2 yrs, the seams along the longer boards are separating. Looks like the bondo has failed. What is the best thing to use in this case? An epoxy wood filler? I want to be able to get as smooth as a finish as possible that will last.

    • Robin, an epoxy filler like WoodEpox will work better in this case because it will flex with the wood in seasonal changes.

  68. Eric on said:

    I have an old door and am having difficulty screwing in the deadlatch to the door because of decayed wood.
    Do you have any advice about how to get the screws to stay?

    • Adam on said:

      Eric – Depending on the door and state of decay; my goto would be to line the precious holes with a generous helping of glue and then use dowels, cut strips of shims, or even just inch long by 1/4″ scraps/cut-offs, gently tapping them into the holes and leaving it to set before coming back and trimming them off with a chisel before pre-drilling new holes. If the state of decay is fairly bad you may want to remove some of the interior section with a chisel and cut a few new blocks to fit inside the door, paving the way for them with again a generous helping of glue a possibly a couple clamps across the thickness of the door even if the blocks are accurately snug-fit. If the decay is not very bad at all you could always just stick a match stick in the hole (or something similar) and try the screws again, giving the screws something to bite into. Hope this helps. 😉

  69. Melissa on said:

    I’m trying to repair a staircase railing where they used something non-stainable to plug the screw holes. What’s the best way to remedy this? Can I dig out the old and replace with a new, stainable product? If so, would you recommend the MH Ready patch for this, or could I get away with the Elmer’s Wood Filler?

    • Melissa, you got it. Dig out the old patch and filler with a new stainable wood filler. You may even find a pre-mixed wood filler that matches the color you need. Stay away from MH Ready patch in this case since it isn’t stainable.

  70. Tyanna on said:


    So I have a mantelpiece that had a candle go awry and charred a square about 3/4 inches deep and 3X3 inches in a square (if you can visualize that). I have removed most of the charred wood and am wondering what would be the best route to report this, also the most cost effective of course.

    • Tyanna, I would use standard wood filler or Durham’s Water Putty for this repair. Overfill the area and sand it level once it’s dry. Then prime and paint.

  71. Kelly on said:

    Hi! I used the wood filler solution where my dog destroyed our door. However there are some shallows scratches I’d like to fill. The door is painted. Each time I fill them and then sand them they still show up. I’m probably sanding too much but don’t want the patch to be worse than the problem. How to you get the filler to stay in there so when you sand you get it flat and smooth with no scratch marks?
    THANKS FOR ANY ADVICE! Am I just trying to get it too perfect?

    • You may be trying to attain too much perfection like all of us at times, but wood filler and sparkle tend to shrink as they dry so it may take over filling the area and then sanding it smooth. Always fill it a bit too much and sand off what you don’t need.

  72. Kilene on said:

    Hi Scott!
    We have a puppy who has decided her favorite thing to chew is the corners of the cabinets. Since she is my dog, my husband has assigned me the task of fixing it. I am terrified of trying something and making it worse. Can you please give me some pointers on what sort of products to use and the procedure? My husband just told me to get some wood patch and seal.
    Thanks so much!

  73. sheeba on said:

    Dear Scott,
    Thanks for your execellent article.I had two querries.I bought a second hand sheesham wood table which has a slight but long gap between the planks.What filler can I use.
    The querry is that I want to oil it, which oil should i use and how should i prepare it before oiling.Just bit worried to whether to use a paint stripper or to sand it.

  74. Ryan on said:

    Hey Scott,

    I have kitchen cabinets that I removed the handles (2 screw holes) from and replaced with knobs (1 screw hole). In essence that left a quarter inch hole in each cabinet door. I read your blog but what is the “best” patch for that since the hole goes through and through. Our plan is to sand, prime and repaint the cabinets a new color. Thanks in advance!

    • Run, try either WoodEpox or KwikWood. They are the only thing I’d use for such a large hole that goes through and through. They sand smooth like a champ too!

  75. monica on said:

    Hi Scott, I’ve noticed some minor yet long cracks on my stairway. My stairway is covered with carpet but is opened below and that is where I have seen the cracks. What product do you recommend. Thank you for your response and your wonderful website.

  76. David Ford on said:

    Scott, I have an antique wood tool chest that was my great grandfather’s. It’s made of oak and pine. It was stained with a very dark color, and I’ve used stain remover and sanding to get it down to the wood as far as I can. I’ve repaired the damage with wood glue and putty. What is the best way to stain it? I want a light stain, but dark enough to blend in the remaining streaks of old dark stain I can’t get to.

    • rebecca on said:

      Hi there. Sorry, there are just too many comments to look through for my answer, and I thought I would just ask you direct! I am new at staining wood and I am refinishing a coffee table made of pine. Everyone told me I could just use regular filler for the countless cracks, dings, holes etc but I was skeptical. Well, I varnished and it shows through! All that work! I put a 2nd coat on just to see if maybe I keep putting on more coats it will lesson, but it doesn’t seem to work. What should I do and which products do you recommend from above? Million thanks, Rebecca

  77. Krys on said:

    Just stumbled across your website on a Google search. I am refinishing a WWII Army luggage trunk and do not want to alter the appearance. However, it has lead-based paint, and rather than sand it I would prefer to use a paint stripper. The bottom also has chunks were the salt water took it’s toll on the piece. Can you think of any filler to place between the boards? I am just short of reconstructing a new floor panel to go below the damaged one. Also, do you know of any good paint strippers that will not further damage the antique wood?
    I would appreciate any and all advise. Thank you,

    • Krys, Abatron WoodEpox and LiquidWood is perfect for this kind of repair. As for stripping paint try Citristrip. It is one of the best non-caustic paint strippers on the market.

      • Krys on said:

        Thank you! I will give these a shot. I will also bookmark this blog so I have a reference.

  78. G on said:

    Hi Scott, help….we have made an indoor cedar sliding barn door and have four screw holes that we have to repair & fill. What would you recommend. Please and thank you.

    • G, try a tinted wood filler to match the cedar color. Should do the trick nicely.

      • g on said:

        thank you so much, we will try that. We appreciate your prompt reply.

  79. Elysia on said:

    Hi Scott! Our house has all wood trim and doors. My Dad leaned against my daughters closet door while reading to her. The door came off the track, fell and broke a large chunk of wood on the bottom of the door. The chunk is still partially attached. There is also another small piece of wood that completely off on the bottom of the door. Can you please give us suggestions to fix this. Thank you!

  80. Erika on said:

    Hi and thanks for a great useful post. I have a question I am hoping you can help me with. My husband and I are making a dining room table from reclaimed wood. There are some bigger holes that don’t only go part way into the surface. Some are long and skinny and some are about the size of a quarter. We love the character they add to the table and want them to be visible. However, we are concerned about food etc getting trapped in them. Could we use an epoxy or something to fill the holes so they are a clear fill before we put wipe polyurethane finish on it? We want to keep the general feel and character of the wood as much as possible. Thanks so much!

    • Erika, I believe JB-Weld or Locktite makes an epoxy that is clear and can be used to fill these holes. Take a look and give it a try.

  81. Aaron on said:

    My dog has chewed into some of our door framing and our window sills. What product would be best used to fill those holes/gashes they’ve left? Previously i tried using putting that is used to fill drywall repairs, but it doesn’t seem to do the trick nicely. What would you recommend?

    • Aaron, if it is going to be repainted I would definitely use WoodEpox.

  82. Jerry on said:

    Hi Scott, our family dog enjoyed chewing and gouging our walnut stained baseboards and trim work. Now it’s time to try and fill in and repair. I tried the 6oz tube of Min-wax stainable wood filler and a can of dark walnut stain. Not happy with the outcome. The filler ended up looking grayish after 2 coats and my previously stained wood got much darker arounded the sanded areas. Kinda stands out like a sore thumb but better than a gouged hole. Any suggestions for my next 20 spots?. Thank you, Jerry

    • Jerry, there different colored woo fillers that might get you pretty close to the color you need. Also, the finer the sanding grit you use on the wood the less stain it will take so using something like a 220 or higher might keep the surrounding wood from getting too dark. It’s always a bit of an artist’s touch to fill and hide damage in varnished wood.

  83. Ivelisse on said:

    I need to reattach some legs to a bed. But the holes where the legs screw on are too big because the wood is worn. What is the best fix???? Please help!

  84. Jane on said:

    Great information, Scott. As a fine-art painter, I build my own picture frames. Unfortunately my carpentry skills don’t match my painting skills and THE MITERED EDGES OF THE FRAME DON’T ALWAYS MATCH UP PERFECTLY, LEAVING A GAP AT THE CORNERS. Wood filler and water putty don’t fill the cracks all that well; they seem to have their own cracking problems and leave a texture that doesn’t match the original wood. Final note: Sometimes I paint the frame but often I leave the wood bare. Thanks for your advice.

  85. Jessica on said:

    I am tranforming a crib into a bench for our anniversary. Once I take the crib apart, I know there will be some screw holes that I won’t want to see in the bench, best way to fix? Also, could you tell me the best way to sand down and weather prof without damaging the railings? They are carved.

  86. Byron on said:

    Hi Scott,
    It was a great pleasure to go through your site. I had spent the last couple of days trying to figure out the pros and cons to putty and found this the most comprehensive. I am looking for a putty that is quite elastic, and can withstand drastic warm and cold variations. Are epoxy’s better to use than putty fillers? What do you recommend?

    • Byron, epoxies will usually be a superior product in terms if adhesion and flexibility. They aren’t elastic, but they can move and flex better than standard putty when dry.

  87. Tom on said:

    I am repairing a plywood deck that originally had a thin epoxy resin deck coating. Some of the plywood is badly damaged, and will be replaced completely. Other areas is structurally sound, but shows small grain gaps. I also have areas where the surface coat had weathered, and shows some fiber mesh tape joints. I’m looking for the proper filler before I go down with a good oil-based paint. I’ve read a lot of horror stories about the thick DeckOver and similar products, so I am leery of using them. I would rather repaint every five years than have to pull up the whole deck surface in two. From the discussions, it looks like Durham’s Wood Putty will be the best solution here – sounds like I can mix thin for the areas that need a leveler, and mix thicker for filling the cracks. Do you think this is the best for my situation? (Great blog, BTW!)

    • Tom, if you’re talking about an exterior deck then I would use Abatron because of the tough conditions. It can be thinned just like the water putty to whatever consistency you need.

  88. Greg on said:

    Well, this is timely. I have part of an exterior mahogany sill that is rotted, and will remove it with a router. The rotted part will sit under a piece of trim, and I want to stain the sill with a weather-resistant finish when I’m done. Which filler should I use?

  89. Susan on said:

    I have found a beautiful solid mahogany bookcase (not an antique) that has drill holes (about 4 total) scattered randomly on each side. I am going to paint it rather than try to refinish it, so am hoping you could suggest which of the products you mention above would be the best to use for this. Thanks so much!

    • Try Kwikwood, it sets up fast and dries very hard just like the mahogany.

  90. eric on said:

    How would u fix an see through knot hole on the insert of a stair with our replacing the entire stair

  91. eric on said:

    Iam redoing stairs and to of the boards have knot holes that u can see through each hole is a inch wide maybe a inch and 3/8 how would I fix this without replacing the whole stair and I have to paint the stairs

  92. Eddie Leibold on said:

    I have an antique heirloom table that an approx 3 inch in diameter by 1/4 inch deep hole got burned into. (long story) What would you suggest be the best way to patch it? I am thinking of using a clear epoxy resin so the wood grain is still visible.

  93. Martin on said:

    My go to woodfiller is bondo. Quick and relatively easy to use once you you get the hang of mixing the proper ratio. I mainly use bondo by 3M and have used others. Minwax works well and claims to be a stuctual filler. I would recommend going with epoxy fillers myself for anything structural. Best to spend a little more for peace of mind. I’ve used bondo for exterior projects with success. It’s used on auto body repairs so you know it holds up to outside elements. As long as it’s primed and painted with decent products it should last as long as the substrate.

    • Martin, the problem with Bondo for exterior wood repairs is that the wood expands and contracts with environmental conditions unlike metal or fiberglass. Bondo is not flexible enough and often it ends being pushed out by the wood and causing more damage. Wood epoxy fillers are softer and more flexible and therefore they can move with the wood giving them lasting power.


    I have one sofa set made of wood where in some hair line creaks are visible in its handle/and legs. Would you please suggest some of bonding material which can be put in to it which can go inside and fill the area. Also suggest whether I should apply polish after putting the bonding material

  95. Judy on said:

    What product would you recommend to fill a wood window frame spot about 3″.x 1/2 inch that has softened/rot from moisture. Interior window/single pain south side. (Older home). Then would caulk all around to seal out moisture from sweating & draft.

    • Judy, for exterior wood patching I almost always go with Abatron LiquidWood and WoodEpox because epoxies hold up much better to the brutal conditions outside.

  96. frank keirle on said:

    i have drilled half inch holes in my log house to put cpes epoxy in…what is the best way to fill these holes in….i have probably over 100 holes..i would something that i could put in with a cauking gun….then the top half inch do a glue and sawdust mix to finish off

    • Frank, I would thin down the epoxy enough that you can put it in a grout bag and just squeeze enough in to fill the holes. WoodEpox can be thinned with LiquidWood or Acetone to whatever consistency you need to get the job done.

  97. Steve Panish on said:

    Hi Scott,
    Thanks for the excellent article! I’ll use your store and bookmark your site.

    I have finger-jointed exterior cedar siding, 15 yrs old, that has very fine cracking (not joint failure) where exposed to intense sun. This is central NH, and conditions are quite extreme at this site. The cracks are very fine but latex paint does not bridge them. I have finger-forced siliconized caulk into the cracks, but this is slow and the caulk shrinks, leaving the crack still open, although perhaps impermeable.

    What is the best way to go? I’m inclined to try the Durham’s Water Putty, then prime and repaint. I have not found acrylic fillers to last long in the past, even when primed and painted.

    Thanks in advance.

    • Steve, glad to have you as reader! Water Putty should work well but for extreme conditions I would always go with Abatron Epoxies. Best there is!

  98. Jameson on said:

    I have two cabinets set side by side and want to make them look like one seamless cabinet. What should I use for the void?

    • Jameson, it depends how big the space between is. Likely you’ll need a filler piece of wood for any significant gap.

  99. James on said:

    My new dining room table has a decorative square 1/8″ x 1/8″ routed groove 4″ in around the table top. With 4 kids that groove catches a lot of crumbs. What could or should I use to fill in the groove. It is stained or painted black and I would like to paint or stain any filler black.

    • Getting the filler to go all the way black might be difficult but I would do some tests with filler and stain to see if you can get the color where you want it. If you are going to paint it black then the solution is a bit easier and I would use the LiquidWood and WoodEpox so you get a more resilient finish that bonds well. With such a small area regular wood filler will likely chip out over time.

  100. Susan on said:

    I need to repair cedar siding on the north side of my house. I removed the wood deck that was attached to the house and it revealed some rotten wood. Some areas are large and up to 1/2″ deep. I plan to paint once it is repaired. I live in Michigan so I need to be concerned about weather fluctuations. Based on your comments I am leaning toward the Abatron Epoxy. Would you agree? Thank you!

    • Susan, go with the Abatron. You won’t be disappointed!

  101. Craig on said:

    I am building a new home. All the walls and ceilings are 1×8 shiplap white fir…23,000lf. We want an old cottage look so we have lots and knots, cracks and etc. We are painting the wood white. We have extensive amounts of knot holes where you can see through. Some are small and some are huge. We need to fill the holes as they look horrible with the white. Like a giant black hole. The symmetrical circles look too perfect. Most holes are 1″ in diameter. Some are monsters at 2″. Assuming you had to patch about 500 of these and there is no backing on the wood…what would you use?

    • Craig, if there is nothing but a void behind the knot holes I would probably glue some screening behind the hole or push something else back there that can give a backstop to the filler and then I’d use either Durham’s Water Putty or for an even better repair WoodEpox to fill the whole. Sand it smooth and prime and paint.

  102. Robin Wohl on said:

    My husband and I are not overly handy. We need something to fill in small scratches (some have depth) in a hard wood floor. I was thinking about using Elmer’s walnut wood filler. Will this work or do I need to use something different. Do I have to do anything afterward, like a sealant?

    • Robin, on a floor you will likely need something a bit stronger to stand up to the traffic. Unless the scratches are significant I would probably simply add some stain to the area so the fresh wood blends in and isn’t as apparent. Trying to fill surface scratches often has to be re-done over and over.

  103. wendy on said:

    Oh and the wood is cedar

  104. wendy on said:

    I have a chunk of wood 24-20 I am making an end table out of. It has wholes made from ants. A few are 3 inches wide. The piece of wood is 4 inches think. I want the wholes to show so I am looking for something to fill them in that looks like water (clear). What kind of resin or a pony will work for this project?

    • Wendy, there are plenty of clear epoxies that will work well for this available at most hardware stores. I think the one I’ve used in the past is made by JB Weld and it worked very well.

  105. Liberty on said:

    I am refinishing an old wood desk. I bought new hardware for it but apparently measured the center to center handle distance wrong. The existing holes are 2 7/8″ & the new handles are 3″. What would be the best product to use, since the new holes will be practically right on top of the old ones?

    • Try KwikWood. Works good for these kind of repairs and is fast!

  106. Kevin Bishop on said:

    I am making some shelves for our computer room that are up high and I am using the closet, door, and window casings to support in some places, but because we do not want to have shelf brackets taking up pitcher hanging wall space, I routed the underside of the boards to put 8″ “L-brackets” in some spots to support the shelves. I was going to use Durham’s Rock Hard Water Putty to fill in around and over the brackets to hide them and then paint the boards white and the brackets the color of the wall where they mount to it above the shelf. Will the water putty adhere to the bracket like it will to the wood or should I use something like the Kwikwood or Bondo. My wife wants to start painting, so I need to complete the shelves soon. Thanks for bailing me out.

    • Kevin, using some joint compound or spackle would probably work best to cover over the brackets. It will adhere well and blend in perfectly with the wall once you paint.

  107. Elisabeth on said:

    Hi Scott,
    I’ve just purchased an oval table with a leaf and I’m wanting to permanently remove the leaf and fill the seam of the table so it is invisible. Any suggestions for what to use that will be durable? I’m turning it into a train table for my daughter.

    • If it’s a thin seam and you plan to paint the table I’d use water putty or standard wood filler.

  108. Steve on said:

    Hi Scott, I am working on a project that involves repairing some old (20 -25 yrs) pt wood, outside stairs and flower garden, I am replacing some of the really rotten wooden but some only have cracks that are only about 3/8 inch wide. Can I use Woodepox, and where can I get it? in Canada

    • You can find WoodEpox in my Amazon store. Patching PT wood is always questionable depending on how dry it is and how much and what chemicals were used for the treatment. You may not get optimal performance from any epoxy filler.

  109. Jim on said:

    I have a 4 X4 post that is part of the stair rails that has significant rot near the bottom (pulled two large handfuls out if that gives you the picture, probably half the post is eaten away at that spot). I don’t want to repair the entire post, would the epoxy product be an option. If so, how far can you build up the amount of product before it isn;t feasible anymore. I was thinking about drilling a number of screws into what’s left of the good wood and molding the compound around them so they have something to hold onto. I’d appreciate your thoughts.

    • Jim, in your situation I would dig out the damaged wood and fill a large portion of what’s missing with a Dutchman patch then fill the remaining smaller gaps with the epoxy. You can fill it all with epoxy, but that can be expensive.

  110. Steven Younts on said:

    Hi Scott, thanks for your great site and the info on wood repair. I agree with you on the versatility and ease of MH Ready Patch.

    I have not used Durham’s Water Putty, but thanks to your suggestion, I am considering it for a project I am currently working on. The work involves repairing the appearance of four eight foot tall square pillars that support the edge of an overhanging second story above my garage. The 6″x6″ pillars are generally rough, and in places pretty beat up with hammer strikes, saw cuts, knot holes and deep gouges. The largest gouge, for example, is 1.5″ x 5″ and .5 inches deep.
    Amazingly, from 20 feet away, one doesn’t notice the damage much, especially when the white paint is in good repair. However, I am improving the overall look of this area, and the damage is becoming more obvious. It is the ugliest thing that always stands out.
    I am doing a minimal repair to the pillars, filling the worst areas, sanding, priming and painting. The Woodepox appears to be the ideal repair material, but you also give a strong recommendation to the much less expensive Durham’s Water Putty, with the caveat of needing priming and painting. Have I assessed your recommendations correctly? Also, since the pillars are already painted, will the patching materials hold? I did notice recently that one previous patch popped out of an old hammer strike. It seemed as though the patching material couldn’t get a grip on the latex paint. I appreciate you advice and expertise. Thanks, Steve

    • Steve, WoodEpox is by far my favorite patching material for exterior due to its tenacious hold and ability to withstand the elements. When used in combination with LiquidWood it’s a fantastic product. As for application over paint, for almost all of these products the surface needs to be cleaned down to bare wood before application. The wood also need to be dry. The patch will not last if done on a painted surface.

      • Charlotte on said:

        Hi Scott – I have enjoyed your recommendations and your 1-year test page. I live in British Columbia, Canada and our winter is generally our very rainy season. I have two 6×6 posts that hold up my front porch and discovered rot near the base of the posts last year, where rain splashes back onto them. I cleaned out all the rotted wood, then applied PC-Petrifer, and then used J-B Weld Wood Restore Repair Putty, and finally applied a solid stain. A year later, there’s been no shrinkage and my application appears to be holding up well! Just thought you would like to know about another product besides Abatron. Would appreciate your thoughts if you have used the Wood Restore one before.

        • Haven’t used it before but might give it a try now. Thanks Charlotte!

  111. Tate on said:

    Hi Scott, I was wondering what I could use to fill in an outdoor treated wood deck before I sand and paint it….what happened is my dad tried to get the old paint off with a power washer so I could put new paint on and he got a little too close and splintered it and took chunks out! Can you help me out please?

    • You can fill it but I doubt that on an exposed horizontal surface the patch will last too long. I would probably replace the severely damaged boards with new lumber. Or you can fill with an epoxy like the WoodEpox and make sure you coat the deck with a opaque stain to hide and protect the patches.

  112. Phillip on said:

    Hi Scott!! Thank you for your wonderful suggestions!
    I have to hide the holes from the screws I drilled to hang my plasma TV on the nice woodwork panel (white color) above the fireplace. Very clean holes, about 3mm in diameter, six of them.
    I guess a touch of white paint to finish up after whatever you suggest?

    • Phillip, try the MH ReadyPatch. It might take two coats but it dries quickly. Make sure to prime the patch before you touch up the paint.

  113. Sonny on said:

    Awesome tips.

    Just wondering what you think is the best way to fill some melamine finished chipboard cupboard screw holes.
    We can’t sand the surface once it’s filled, so is there one of these we can wipe clean?

    • Sonny, most of these products can be smoothed over before they dry with a rag moistened in whichever solvent is recommended by the manufacturer (often water or acetone depending on the formula). If you plan to install screws again try the KwikWood or Abatron products for good holding strength.

  114. Cathy on said:

    Hi Scott,
    We have old hardwood flooring in our bedrooms that is in fair condition but not good enough condition to “restore” them. I would like to find a product that I can use to fill cracks and splintered areas and make them “last” a little longer until we can afford to lay new flooring over them. I saw a comercial for a new Behr Deckover product for exterior decking and wondered if it can be used indoors for what I am looking to do?

  115. Jessica on said:

    Dear Scott,
    I have just purchased an old butcher’s block. I plan to use it as an island in my kitchen. There are a few areas that had some wood rot. I want to fill it with something that will not need to be painted or stained but can be sanded. Preferably something clear? What would you recommend?

    • Jessica, for a butcher block you’re better off doing a Dutchman repair than using wood filler or epoxy. Cut a piece of wood that matches the damaged section, then glue it in place an clamp it.

  116. Bob on said:

    about to refinish approximately 800 square feet of oak flooring. I have seen someone use a thinned out wood putty poured onto the floor and spread with a trowel to fill joints, nail holes etc. Any idea what this product is?
    Thank you very much

    • Bob, here’s a little trade secret. The national wood flooring association recommends filling joints in wood floors with premixed joint compound that is tinted to the color of the wood. It bonds well, fills great and is easily sanded. Get some tints from you local paint store and mix the colors yourself to come as close as you can to the wood color.

  117. Dana on said:

    I have wood siding. Where to boards meet the putty they installed is starting to crack. What is the best way to fill this gap. Re-putty or use one of the methods above.

    • For patching siding I would stick with an epoxy like Kwikwood if it’s a small patch or Abatron WoodEpox for larger repairs. They hold up much better in the extreme conditions that siding is put through all year.

  118. Sylvia on said:

    Hi Scott,
    Repair is needed to fill in a 2″-3″ diameter hole in a stained maple wood cabinet. What product would be best for this repair?
    Thank you,

  119. Jeff on said:

    Hello… I found the article of great interest… Question … How well do these wood repair products stand up to expansion and contraction from heat and cold?

    I live in northern most Michigan… The temps get down to -20’s in the winter and 80’s in the summer… Will the repairs with these products pop out or crack the wood in the very cold or over expand the wood during a hot summer?



    • Jeff, if properly primed and painted most of these fillers will perform well with the extreme weather changes. The absolute best for staying bonded to the wood is the Abatron products though. When used with LiquidWood, WoodEpox really holds tenaciously to the surface it’s applied to.

  120. Angela on said:

    Hi Scott,
    What should I use to fill a few drilled holes in a cedar 4 X 4 deck post. (Kwikwood?) The post will be stained after the holes are filled. Also, the post rotted where to two top rails meet in the corner allowing water to drip into the post. Any ideas to fill in the space where the top rails form the corner?

    • Angela I would use either Kwikwood or WoodEpox for those repairs.

  121. Joe on said:

    I have a cabinet door with a previously drilled hole for concealed hinges but the holes for the mounting screws are to big. Could I used one of these techniques to fill the holes, then re-drill and fasten the hinges in whatever filler I use. I should mention I drilled the holes and put hinges at the top and bottom of the door this previously drilled hole is in the middle. Thanks for any insight you can offer,

    • I’d try Kwikwood Joe. Easy solution for something like this and plenty strong to hold the new screws .

      • Joe on said:

        Thanks so much Scott! I can’t wait to try it out!

  122. Kathy on said:

    Scott, thanks for your helpful site. I have an old splintering deck and picnic table, both previously stained over 5 years ago. I would like to fill, sand and waterproof the wood. Both are made of treated lumber and are 10-20 years old.
    What do you suggest to smooth and protect from further damage of water And sun?

    • Kathy, WoodEpox is the way to go for exterior wood filling if you don’t plan to paint.

      • Matt W on said:

        Rather than fill all those deck boards, I suggest using one of the new thick topcoat “paint” products that you apply with a roller that basically puts a thick but even new surface on splintering old decks. Much easier than filling the boards and once it’s done it’s over. They come in various shades of tan and brown.

  123. Bill on said:

    Hi Scott, 

       I’m working on my log cabin and wanted to know what you suggest on filling in cracks/splits in the outside logs. I guess it’s due to nails splitting the wood. I’m going to fill in a lot of them so I’m going to need a large amount. I have been using Sikkens on the logs, so I’m looking for a stainable product. I saw at Lowe’s Durham’s water putty, Minwax stainable wood filler, and Elmer’s Probond wood filler. I wasn’t sure which one would be best or if one of the other six products you mention are better, if so, where should I look to buy them? Also, I do have some rot in some of the logs which I look to clean out and fill in, which product do you recommend? Will the products help prevent further splitting?
    Based on your guide, which is helpful, I should sand and clean the areas before applying the product then lastly I can stain. Any help or guidance is much appreciated. 

    Thank you in advance! 

  124. ilen on said:

    We’re trying to use an old redwood plank as a countertop, but the epoxy that was used previously to repair the wood is delaminating. There are a few fist-sized knotholes about 1″ deep. We don’t want to paint, so ideally whatever we use comes in colors or can be stained to match the wood. What would you recommend?

    • I haven’t worked with redwood much being down in the southeast, but delaminating epoxy is no good. I would try the Abatron products making sure to use the LiquidWood first to essentially glue the WoodEpox into the repair. It’s also stainable as long as you sand the epoxy once dry. Just try pulling that stuff out once it’s cured!

  125. Whitney on said:

    Scott, we’re taking carpet up off of an engineered wood surface. we’ll need to patch the nail holes left by the tack strips. can you use the same products on engineered wood? which product would you recommend? thanks for your help!

    • Whitney, I would use colored wood filler that matches the color of your floors as closely as possible.

  126. leslie on said:

    hi scott! i’m working on a fireplace which has big grooves cut out by a router. we’re wanting to smooth the surface to create a modern look. i noticed in an earlier comment on the kitchen cabinets you advised bondo and didn’t know if you’d recommend the same for this situation or one of the other products in the article. it’s also a painted surface and i’ve started sanding it down to the bare wood. obviously this is more of a challenge in the grooves and i was wondering if it’s critical to get ALL the paint off or just “weather” it. thanks so much for your help!

    • Leslie, just about any wood filler or patching compound performs best when it is used on bare wood vs. a painted surface. Your situation is tough because the area around a working fireplace will have extreme temperature swings so you’d be best suited with an epoxy filler like WoodEpox. Use that in conjunction with LiquidWood and sand down to bare wood as much as you can in the grooves. Check out this post on how to strip the paint from the grooves:

  127. Edward on said:

    Scott, I’m buying a table that has a damaged leaf, and I want to repair that damage as easily and invisibly as possible. You make all seven products sound easy and effective, but I’m leaning toward the $5 Elmer’s Wood Filler for this, unless you think Kwikwood’s a better way to go.

    • Since the damage is on an edge your options are a bit more limited. Kwikwood might work, but if it were me I would use a restoration epoxy called WoodEpox made by Abatron. It will cling onto the edge tenaciously and not chip off like ordinary wood filler which works best to fill a hole mostly. Once you’ve patched it you’ll need to sand, stain and finish it. Good luck!

  128. Marv Curtis on said:

    Scott, I need to fill some holes in a antique convertible top bow. The bow is where they tack the canvas top to. The bow is structurally sound, but one side is peppered with holes. My question is, is there a filler that when I’m done it will hold tacks again and not just crack and fall out?

    Thank you in advance

    • Marv, try an epoxy like the WoodEpox and LiquidWood combination by Abatron. Kwikwood would likely do the trick as well. Sand it smooth when you’re done and both of these will hold nails well if you fill the holes completely.

      • Marv Curtis on said:

        Thank you Scott. I was hoping you had some suggestions. A replacement bow is $400 and I would much rather spend that else wear.

  129. linda on said:

    Hi, I found this site by google search and I was wondering if I can repair wood railings that are splintering with KwikWood? I need to put a layer of something down and sand and paint. Thanks for your help.

    • Linda, welcome to The Craftsman! Kwikwood works best to fill gouges in the wood surface. Depending on what kind of splintering exactly you may need something different. It may also just need a good sanding and refinishing. Send a picture if you can and I might be able to help you a bit more.

  130. Kent Hartle on said:

    Scott, I found your blog article interesting, however still many options. I am looking to fill plywood kitchen cabinet door fronts that were routed with a design box type line on the front thirty years ago , but we want to make flat and paint to bring up to more current designs. Considering a thin laminent sheet or fill sand and paint. Do you think one of the fillers that you mentioned would work well for the fill sand and paint approach?

    Thank you for your thoughts!


    • Kent, when we build cabinets we typically use Bondo to fill and sand holes. As long as it won’t be exposed to the elements.

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