Wood Filler Repair

sas45June 3, 2008

Aarrgghhh, I just used Minwax stainable hole filler on my newly installed wood veneer in the kitchen. Although I wiped off the residue immediately, the veneer now looks like it has the chicken pox. I tried to lightly stain over them, no luck. I tried paint thinner, no luck. I tried steel wool dipped in the stain, no luck. Any ideas?

hopeless in California

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Wood putty can really make a project look ugly if it is anywhere but in the hole. Stainable putty does not take stain like wood. I never use putty under stain. (I never even use stain anymore as it detracts from the wood's natural beauty.) But when i was into doing stained woodwork- There are colored wax pencils and touch up sticks that are used to fill holes after the stain and finish is complete. The finish keeps the wax from sticking where you don't want it and the color is already matched to your finish. There are also lots of colors of regular minwax wood putty that are tinted to match their stain colors. Always buy the smallest can of putty, you'll never use it up before it dries out. When I putty raw wood, I put masking tape all around the area so the putty won't get into the wood grain.

To get rid of the chicken pox look you need to dig out the putty (carefully with a small chisel, gouge, or X-acto knife) or paint over the spots with a matched color oil paint.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2008 at 6:01PM
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Stain Putty, manufactured by Bix, is a powder that is mixed with the same stain used on the wood. When I need to use the filler, I first stain the entire piece, thne mix the Stain Putty, and fill the holes. I leave a small amount too much---when it dries I then lightly sand smooth(by hand).

I have used it in customer houses---crown molding/chair rail/base/door molding and the customer usually cannot see the filled hole.

I get it at Home Depot or Ace Hardware stores.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2008 at 9:12AM
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This Minwax filler issue again! That stuff and most any other wood filler paste should come with special warnings...'cause if you've never used stuff like that, it's going to drive you nuts.

Problem seems to be that some fillers will seal the wood wherever it touches it; then when you apply stain it is rejected wherever the filler touched the wood.

Very frustrating indeed.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2008 at 5:01PM
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Ah, the "stainable wood filler" conundrum.

Is this wood filler stainable? Yes.
Will it look like the wood around it once stained? No.

This applies to most, if not all, over the counter concoctions and the old "glue and sawdust" approach.

As others suggest, it's better to do your staining, then color your filler or choose a colored filler and match your stain.

That said, I have reasonable luck with Elmer's wood filler (which seems to keep changing its name and container). Most of what I have are in little tubes of various colors.

One of the worst is "Plastic Wood" that is lacquer-based and does a really good job of pre-sealing the wood that is supposed to accept stain. Then you have dime-sized light spots.

Another approach is that if you are using a ring-porous wood like oak or ash (or many others), it's easier to hide if you nail into the early wood (open pored areas).

    Bookmark   June 10, 2008 at 6:52PM
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aidan, "I never even use stain anymore as it detracts from the wood's natural beauty.) "

care to explain that statement ?

that would be on all woods or just high quality cuts ?

    Bookmark   June 11, 2008 at 7:56AM
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I have noticed in the several years I have been recommending Stain Putty (No interest in the company/product except that it works very well---and I know that from many uses for customer work and exceptionally happy customers) that I never get any feedback---good or bad.

It kinda seems like folks either ignore the advice---normal----or cannot find/use the product.

I use it to fill small nail holes in stained trim. I usually show the customer the before and after condition. I have had customers who could not find the nail holes from as close as 12" away after filling.

It is a bit frustrating to know a product that will solve this particular problem and not be able to know if my advice is doing any good.

Sorry for the gripe---feeling a bit puckish this morning.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2008 at 11:02AM
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I really dislike the way stain makes solid wood look. Heavy pigments hide the grain and color. Natural color stain just adds yellow, and then after the lacquer or varnish the wood is really yellow. I feel like, why use real wood and then stain it some dark color? Just go ahead and use high quality laminate or paint grade MDF. Save Trees people! I know plenty of people who built themselves custom homes with Cherry, Mahogany, or Walnut interior woodworking. They always say "I would have gone lighter on the stain" unless they wnet with a pure clear or natural finish. I even like the look of Poplar with sanding sealer and lacquer on the raw paint grade poplar. I remember a custom home where the clients saw the library made of paint grade poplar and thought it was beautiful wood- a shame to paint it. So they had it clear coated. My computer desk at home is clear coated poplar and people always remark on the unique wood. They never suspect it is made of ordinary paint grade.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2008 at 12:23PM
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It sounds like your using pre made stain out of a can " store bought" if you will.
Have you ever bought pigments and then mixed them ( with mineral spirits) to achieve your desired color and more importantly desired viscosity ?
I love most woods in their nautral state with just a clear lacquer finish, but more often than not a straight cut of mahogany might need a thin bodied stain to give it some life and some richness.
It's the only way to go, I can make almost any color my customer asks for, I can make a heavy bodied stain to hide a "white wood" and I can match any color you throw at me.
I can direct you to my supplier if you like.

ps- you'll never convince me that poplar looks good with just a clear coat. NEVER !

    Bookmark   June 13, 2008 at 5:26PM
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"Heavy pigments hide the grain and color."

Try aniline dye iof you want to preserve the grain but change the color.
This is what has been used in fine furniture for hundreds of years.
Some of the dyes are fugitive and fade from the UV in sunlight, but they are the ultimate in color changing without obscuring (AKA 'muddied') the grain.

Pigment stains are just thinned out paint, and while they have a place for certain finishes ('pickled pine') they are still pigments.

Some commercial pigment stains also contain dye, but the results can still be hit or miss depending on exactly what is in the 'stain'.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2008 at 8:47PM
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I've searched everywhere for the stain putty you are talking about. I even went to a hardwood floor store and they told me that what they have won't work for my purpose which is nail holes in the door frame. I'm listening and I'd love to take your advice as I don't know HOW I'm going to fill those holes.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2008 at 9:17PM
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Try the website below.

Here is a link that might be useful: Stain Putty

    Bookmark   June 16, 2008 at 8:48AM
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this may help with the wood filler coverup. I have finished the interior of my wood windows and frames in my previous and current houses using a wipe on polyurethane gel stain by Mastercraft, now called Whitewood Masterfinish. I do not know how it would hold up on a highly used area, but it can be recoated with regular clear polyurethane. The previous owners had installed new windows but not finished all of them when we bought this house. They made a mess of the two in the den, and I even redid them with this product; of course I had to use a similar shade, but they look great now. It does not hide the grain and you can "play with it" to darken areas that don't take the stain as well. The company website is www.whitewoodmasterfinish.com.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 1:52PM
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Thank you for the advice on the wood dyes and the wood putty filler. Once I finally caught (practically tackled) a sales assistant at Home Depot, he never heard of the stainable wood putty powder. He even tried to look it up on the computer. I have tried several fillers from the hardware store on scrap wood. They all look terrible!

Seems like bix stain putty is out of business - anyone have any extra in their garage? suggested substitutes? Guess I will have to try the elmer's product.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2014 at 11:23AM
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