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.

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 author. 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 son Charley.


  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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?

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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. ;)

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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!

  12. 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.

  13. 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!

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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!

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

  22. 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!

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

  25. 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.

  26. 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.

  27. 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?

  28. 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.

  29. eric on said:

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

  30. 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

  31. 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.

  32. 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

  34. 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.

  35. 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.

  36. 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!

  37. 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.

  38. 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.

  39. 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!

  40. 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.

  41. 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.

  42. wendy on said:

    Oh and the wood is cedar

  43. 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.

  44. 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!

  45. 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.

  46. 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.

  47. 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.

  48. 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.

  49. 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.

  50. 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.

  51. 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.

  52. 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.

  53. 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?

  54. 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.

  55. 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.

  56. 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.

  57. 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,

  58. 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.

  59. 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.

  60. 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!

  61. 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.

  62. 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! 

  63. 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!

  64. 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.

  65. 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:

  66. 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!

  67. 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.

  68. 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.

  69. 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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