Using Wood Grain Filler

By Karl

Using Wood Grain Filler is the Best Way to Produce a Smooth Surface on Open Grained Wood Furniture

Before discussing how using wood grain filler will produce a very smooth surface on certain types of woods, it’s important to first understand what wood grain filler is. Often referred to as “grain filler” or “paste wood filler,” it is not the same as “wood putty” – – which is a substance normally used to fill in nail holes, gouges or large dents in wood before applying a finish to the wood.

Grain filler is not necessary to use on closed grained woods. Examples of closed grained woods are Alder, Cherry and Maple. These woods are smooth to the touch and do not require wood grain filler to create a flat and even surface. Open grained woods, on the other hand, require an application of grain filler in order to create a surface that is completely even and flat. Examples of open grained woods are Ash, Hickory and Oak.

Is Wood Grain Filler Required?

There is no rule that says open grained woods must be filled. But if a grain filler is not used, the surface of the furniture will never be completely even or smooth to the touch. But, these factors are a matter of personal preference. If the owner of a piece of furniture wants a more natural looking piece, wood grain filler may be avoided.

What Type of Filler Should be Used?

There are two types of wood grain filler available at most hardware stores. The choice is either 1) liquid filler or 2) paste filler. In almost every situation, the best type to use is the paste variety. When selecting paste filler for a piece of furniture, make sure to select the best color match for the type of wood that will be filled. It is also possible to add stain to paste filler so it is color matched correctly. Adding stain to filler makes the project a little bit more complicated, but it can be worth the extra hassle. Paste filler also comes in a colorless variety. This type dries clear.

Applying the Filler

The first thing to do before using wood grain filler is read the instruction label on the packaging. It will probably tell you to add a thinning agent to the paste. You will apply the filler to the wood using a brush. The goal is to press the filler into the wood so it fills the grain. Make sure to apply it evenly. After it dries, the surface of the wood should be wiped. All wood filler that was not pushed into the wood’s grain and pores will be wiped away.

Staining and Painting

Using wood grain filler on a piece of furniture is a great way to ensure a smooth finish. But it is important to purchase and use grain filler that is stainable and paintable. The product’s labels should state whether or not is suitable for this. If you are sure to apply the right type of filler, it can be stained or painted as soon as it is dry.

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