Highland Woodworking Wood News Online, No. 196, January 2022 Welcome to Highland Woodworking - Fine Tools & Education Learn more about Highland Woodworking View our current woodworking classes and seminars Woodworking articles and solutions Subscribe to Wood News
 
Finishing: Filling Nail Holes
By Alan Noel
Professional Wood Finisher

When I was about 7 or 8 my Papa was adding on to his house and of course I was hanging around, in the way, in what was a very dangerous situation. With the mean look on his face I could tell I needed to get out of the way.

As I was walking away he yelled at me to come back and he handed me a hammer, a couple of pieces of scrap pine, and some finishing nails, and then told me to nail the pieces together. Well, that didn't go very well since I couldn't hold the pieces together and get the nails started, plus the hammer got very heavy very fast. It was at that point that Papa and the crew got a good chuckle out of the situation.

The next day Papa handed me a hammer and a nail punch. Big mistake! After he showed me how to use it on quarter round I started punching away, missing the head more times than hitting it. As the day continued, I began to get the hang of it, but I had definitely created a lot of unnecessary holes.

Learning to not be in the way I was looking for more nails to punch when Papa had something else in mind...it was time to fill all the holes I had accidentally created using a water based putty.

Mixing the putty was easy, just add water. Papa showed me how to go about filling the holes and I went at it. I got finished by lunch time and every one was sitting around eating. Papa gave me a glass of milk...butter milk...I spit it right out and have never had it again, but it got a good laugh from the crew!

After lunch, Papa showed me how to use sandpaper and how he wanted all the putty sanded down for painting. Every time I walked into Papa's house I admired my beautiful handywork. It was so smooth!

Now, all of these years later, I'm still using water based wood fillers for holes and cracks. They don't shrink, they dry rock hard overnight, and small amounts of dry pigments can be added to create many different colors.

A great water based filler that has all of these qualities is Timbermate, which is available at Highland Woodworking.

Click here to visit the Highland Woodworking Finishing Department


Alan can be reached directly via email c/o Alan Noel Furniture Refinishing at alannoel@comcast.net.

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