Wood Putty vs. Wood Filler: Which Should You Use?
Published September 11th, 2020
If you’re not a seasoned woodworker, wood putty and wood filler may seem similar. And we wouldn’t fault you for that.
In the world of woodworking, both are used to fill holes and repair damages. But while many use them interchangeably, they are actually different. And distinguishing one from the other will help you avoid the pitfalls that countless others before you have fallen to.
So what is the difference between wood putty and wood filler?
Ther are many actually. But one major difference between wood putty and wood filler is its composition. The former is made of plastic chemicals and oil-based compounds. While the latter consists of wood particles and fibers mixed with a binding agent. This is why wood filler hardens while wood putty doesn’t.
Wood filler is applied to repair the wood from the inside. Because it hardens, it helps the wood maintain its integrity. While wood putty is usually applied only after the finishings are done since it contains chemicals that may damage the wood.
Most manufacturers also produce wood putty in various colors that match different wood stains. So it usually just blends in with the wood. The same cannot be said for wood filters which usually come in a single color.
When to Use Wood Putty
Because it doesn’t harden, it contracts and expands along with the wood. This makes it ideal for outdoor wood projects.
We all know that changes in temperature and humidity can make wood expand and contract. Since they are exposed to all kinds of weather, outdoor wood structures are much more prone to such. If you use wood filler, it will break when the wood expands or contract. Wood putty, on the other hand, will remain in place even if the wood gets twisted.
Most woodworkers also use wood putty for minor repairs and cover minor imperfections. This includes nail holes, small blemishes, and minor joint mismatches.
When to Use Wood Filler
If you are looking to cover major damage on an indoor wooden structure, then a wood filler would be perfect.
Since indoor structures are protected from the elements, they don’t expand or contract dramatically. Plus, the wood filler dries faster than wood putty. It also contains mostly organic materials so applying them in large quantities won’t cause harm to your wood.
Unlike wood putty though, you might have a hard time matching it with a particular wood stain. So it’s better to take a small portion of the filler first then apply some wood stain on it until it matches the color of your wood. Use that filler-stain proportion to determine how much wood stain you should put on it.
Hire The Timber Experts For Your Next Build
Here at Vintage & Specialty Wood we take quality seriously. So when it comes to timber framing or selling and installing reclaimed wood we don’t cut corners. Contact our team today to speak to a timber expert about what Vintage & Specialty Wood can do for your next project.
About The Author
Judy Ponio is an avid fan of interior design and wood work. Her experience in carpentry and homes design has led her to becoming a writer for Vintage & Specialty Wood. Take a look at more of her posts on our blog.