Stainable wood filler.....NOT!

ldylvsrosesDecember 19, 2006

I used the minwax stainable wood filler for my new moldings . When I stained the moldings the places where the filler was does not hold stain.

Need advice please.

Here's a picture to help you see what happened.



Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Yes, this is a common mistake when using wood filler, especially those that are oilbase and seal the wood around the hole you're attempting to fill.

My advice for those wanting to fill nail holes, cracks, splits and other wood defects is to do so after the wood is stained or sealed...not before.

One advantage of filling after staining or sealing is that you can add color to the filler to get a good match to the surrounding wood.

If your wood is just stained at this point, then you can try to sand those light areas to open up the wood pores and then restain those.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2006 at 10:22AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Looks to me as if you filled the holes and then sanded the filler smooth. That removed some of the stain from the wood. If you have not applied a finish yet, try wiping on more stain with a rag/paper towel. If you have already applied a finish, it will need to be removed to fix the problem.

Stain Putty is the brand name of a filler powder that is mixed with the same stain used on the project to make a paste that is then used to fill holes. Since I always use more than one coat of finish, I follow this procedure---

1. Final sand with 150 grit sandpaper.

2. Clean dust off with rags/towels soaked in stain solvent(Water for watrer based sstains, paint thinner for oil based stains.)

3. Apply stain. Let dry according to manuf. recommendations. Wipe off excess.

4. Apply first coat of finish.

5. Mix batch of Stain Putty---using the same stain as applied---and fill holes. Smooth off all the excess possible and let dry for several hours. Hand sand the areas with 220 grit sandpaper or 000 steel wool. Which depends on finish type. Sandpaper for water based finishes and steel wool for oil based. Reason is tiny pieces of steel wool can stay on the surface and water based finishes will cause those pieces to rust.

6. Apply second coat of finish.

7. Third finish coat.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2006 at 12:53PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Nowhere on the tube does it say I have to mix this with stain. This really makes me angry-I am a beginner(obviously)so detailed directions to achieve the desired results would have helped greatly.
I only have stained the moldings so far so I guess I will have to sand these areas down to bare wood again,restain the areas and the mix the filler with stain and apply where needed.
Guess I have an after the holidays project waiting.....
Thanks for the help

    Bookmark   December 20, 2006 at 1:06PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If you are not sure how something will look, always test it out first on scrap. Its wisdom born from pain - I once stripped the (red) paint off, then stained two pieces of furniture, only to be unhappy twith the stain. So I stripped them again, then restained and finished, only to be unhappy with the look of the finish. Third time was a charm.


    Bookmark   December 20, 2006 at 2:23PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


Who made the tube of filler and what is the stuff exactly?

    Bookmark   December 20, 2006 at 8:22PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Wood filler for hardwood floors is easier to use and you can mix the colors to get a good match.
Mohawk also makes filler sticks in a wide variaty of colors.
The filler should be just a little darker than the finish. Light spots show worse.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2006 at 8:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Mary Ellen---the filler you used is not what I recommended---it was probably already a paste.

Stain Putty is a powder and comes in a small plastic tub. You take out the amount of powder you think you need and mix the stain with the powder.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2006 at 9:56PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

This is the discription that is advertised for the product.

"Wood Filler is specially formulated to accept Minwax penetrating wood stains. It is designed for use with oil-based and water-based wood stains. Minwax Stainable Wood Filler is ideal for repairing cracks, gouges, nail holes, knot holes and other defects in all types of unfinished indoor and outdoor wood surfaces. This Minwax Stainable Wood Filler is one of many top quality items in our Wood Fillers department."
Here's a picture of it.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2006 at 12:18AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

It still will not match.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2006 at 9:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Duh! I went back to your original post and noticed that you did mention the brand. I was drawn to you pics immediately and the brand name never registered with me.

Wood is going to accept stain differently than any filler. All the different wood fillers I use in my floor work almost never stain the same as the wood itself. That is why I mix color with the product to get the results I'm after.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2006 at 10:26AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'm not looking for a "Match" at this point. I would just like it not to stand out so much.(if it turns out looking like knots in wood -that would be fine,anything is better than these TAN splotches!) Do you think I can mix stain with the filler which is a paste and try applying it that way?(after I remove/sand the filler thats on the wood now that is)
I am trying to avoid sanding the entire door frame and windows back down and starting all over with fresh wood.
Thanks again for your replies
ME ;)

    Bookmark   December 22, 2006 at 5:29PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I found the same thing to be true for the wood putty on the interior doors I am staining - they won't accept the stain very well. My DH put in the wood filler a little too overabundantly. I think the trick may be to use as little as possible. Might need some miniature tools for this.

After staining the door and noticing the wood filler not accepting the stain, I dabbed on a second layer of stain after the rest of the stained door had dried with a little artist's paint brush - and I didn't wipe it off. I just let it stay there to absorb. Now the wood filled portions have taken the stain a bit better and those parts are much less noticeable. I used PL professional wood filler in a little can, Minwax water based wood conditioner before staining and then Minwax water based stain on the doors. The stain was painted on with a brush and I rubbed off the excess with a cotton pad.

dylvsroses - This question is off topic - but how do you get a photo without any background such as the minwax woodfiller photo above - that is so effective?

    Bookmark   December 23, 2006 at 9:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

springvillegardens ~Thanks for the advice,I'll give it a try.
As far as the photo goes I found a picture of the product online(google images, I clicked on the link & then the "see full size image" by the small photo icon) and saved it to my documents then uploaded it to photobucket.
Happy Holidays,

    Bookmark   December 24, 2006 at 12:11AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

MaryEllen, thanks I thought you took the picture and then somehow blotted out the background - I am just learning about digital camera techniques and am always looking for pointers.

I also found the little artist's paintbrush handy to get stain in some of the wood recesses of my doors especially the corners - I used a kind of dabbing technique with the bristles. I posted a picture of one my doors below - not the one with the wood filler though.

Happy holidays and a prosperous and relaxing new year to you.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2006 at 4:16AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

ldylvsroses - You say you are a beginner at this. Well, just so you don't feel too bad, your problem is one that has been a frustration of even experienced woodworkers for ages. Companies keep trying to develop products that stain the way you want them to. Woodworking magazines and books keep coming up (or try to come up) with techniques that will make filling those holes invisible.

As mentioned above, some say only put the filler in after staining. One idea I heard was to gather sawdust from the same type of wood and mix it with glue to fill the hole, assuming it would stain the same as the wood. Well, that doesn't always work so well because the sawdust now has glue mixed in with it and it won't stain the same way. Supposedly, with just the right mixture of sawdust and glue, it will work. But I haven't figured it out yet.

Another way to hide nail holes is to take a gouge and slice out a sliver of wood, set the nail deep in the gouged hole, and then glue the sliver back in. Now that is a technique that takes some time to master and can be relatively time consuming.

Hang in there.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2007 at 8:58AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

"...and then glue the sliver back in. "

Without getting ANY glue on the surface or the stain will not stick.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2007 at 10:15AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

over_n_under Thanks for trying to make me feel better:). I haven't done anything more with the stained woodwork-I enjoyed my Holidays and now that they are over I will attempt to remedy the situation. BUT I think I'll pass on the wood gouging and reglueing the piece back in,Time and mastery of such a technique is not something I want to embark on-LOL
I'm going to try and use the "leave stain on the spots trick" that springvillegardens recommended and if that doesn't work I'll sand out the blotchy areas and restain then fill the holes with a "Tiny" bit of filler.
I do plan to write the company and complain about their false advertising.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2007 at 5:05PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Sometimes you have to learn the hard way. First you will have to get the filler out of the wood pores. This might require using paint remover. After that, use a bleach that will bleach out the old stain. Restain and finish the molding again but completly finish it this time. Finally, after the final finish dries, use a wax filler stick of the appropriate color to fill the small finish nail holes. When I stain the wood I like to use a lacquor based stain in a spray can. You can get them from a web sight that sells individual cans of Mowhak products.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2007 at 4:59AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Ok I finally got around to redoing the moldings. I sanded the areas that didn't stain back down to bare wood, stained & blended the stain into the remaining area and it looks pretty good.
I am so happy I didn't have to sand the entire thing back to natural wood and start over.
*note to self...Stainable wood filler is a LIE*
Here's a few pictures of the finish-I still have to seal it with a polyurathan(sp)

    Bookmark   February 4, 2007 at 10:35AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Me too! I built my Dad's coffin and used a Minwax Golden Pecan stain. Before I put the stain on, I sanded all the wood and then applied the same Minwax Stainable Wood Filler to holes, cracks and uneven spots that sanding would not get. Everything went well until it dried and I noticed it not holding the stain the way it was advertised. Some spots were darker, some spots were lighter.

I eventually sanded the parts out and luckily the stain was deeply ebedded. Adding a couple more additional layers with 00 and 0000 steel wool made the final project really nice. But I will never use this wood filler again. I am interested in the "stainable paste" that was spoke of. Anyway, just adding my experience.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2011 at 1:51PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

"Some spots were darker, some spots were lighter. "

It "accept Minwax penetrating wood stains."

Nothing was said about matching.

Caveat emptor.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2011 at 8:25PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi. My filled nail holes are pink, surrounded by lovely cherry doug fir flooring. I know why it happened (wood conditioner over entire floor). So, I too am searching for a solution. I am not going to redo ANYTHING. I am thinking, and maybe this could work for you, also, is , buy one of those "stain pens", one in a darker color,like mahogany, and pen in the color just where the filler is? I am thinking about doing that. If that doesn't work, i may resort to thinned down brown paint. All of this to be done before varathane, of course

    Bookmark   December 28, 2012 at 11:54PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi Guys, I found a solution to your problem. I've tried a few different things and the following works great. I got some shoe cream from the shoe repair guy, they stocked the Woly brand that came in lots of different colours so I was able to choose the one closest to my stain colour.
Next I got some Dap Fast N Final lightweight filler. I think any brand of lightweight filler will do but it should be white.
I mixed a tiny batch of filler and shoe cream (not much cream needed, just a small bit) and then I mixed it until all the filler was tinted. it works great. Also try the paste by it's self over anything you've already filled. You can use shoe polish from the tin that doesn't do quite as good a job but it does add some colour.
Another tip, if your going to paint woodwork that you've used a finish nailer and want to fill those tiny holes just use the grey exterior window putty, the type used for the old sash windows you can use your thumb to apply. it goes on fast and cleans up in a jiffy. Good luckâ¦.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2014 at 4:52PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Sorry kinda late but when ever your staining before you even start staining taking in that you have also done all the normal wood prep, its always best to wet your wood with water no matter what type off base of stain your using, allow water to dry, this is also a way to check your wood for imperfections such as scratches, glue, or any piece that will not accept stain. If you had wet you wood you would have known that those spots wouldn't take the stain. This is to open the pores of the wood, without buying or purchasing or spend any more money than you need to.

In your case that you have shown in your pix, the remedy to your problem was simple. You could have just sanded the light or tan spots with 150grit, then 220, then re-wet the spots sanded to re-open pores, let dry then apply stain, wipe excess, dab stain if needed to blend. It is always best to putty after your sealer coat by the way, then finishes.

There you have it. Try it on a sample wood. Hope I helped.


    Bookmark   August 21, 2014 at 1:10AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Best clear finish for exterior Douglas Fir door
New Exterior Douglas Fir Door & Jam. Link to Simmons...
Pear tree wood
Is their any value in Pear tree wood? My mother has...
Pooh Bear
Varnish cracking and brittle on table with Inlay work
The varnish or poly is looking so bad I want to redo...
sanding sealer on cherry?
Hi all! I'm having a painter do some new doors along...
Fori is not pleased
Rejuvenating Bedroom Furniture Finish
My DH (he was a custom cabinet maker for many years)...
Sponsored Products
Antique Copper Whitehaus WHKPFCR3-9550 Wall Mount Cross Retractable Kitchen
$559.00 | Blue Bath
Robins Egg Blue and Driftwood Brown Polyester Filled 22 x 22 Pillow
$69.60 | Bellacor
Tile Adhesives & Mastics: Custom Building Products Adhesives & Fillers
$9.27 | Home Depot
Oatmeal and Raspberry Polyester Filled 18 x 18 Pillow
$60.00 | Bellacor
Set of Four Custom Holiday Pupcake Bites
$19.50 | FRONTGATE
Quest Concealed 1 Outlet Twin Thermostatic Shower Valve (Round Plate)
Hudson Reed
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™