Wood Putty Vs. Wood Filler – Which One Do You Really Need

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Jacky C

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Finishing is one of the most critical tasks in woodworking, and if a woodworker cannot perform it well, the whole project can be ruined. But do you know what are some of the most crucial things and tools that you should use to produce the best results while woodworking? Can you really pick any random substance or tool to make your woodworking perfect? Probably not!

It does not matter if we take a look at the everyday work or the finishing; there are some specific things in woodworking that should be used for their respective tasks. The same scenario goes for the finishing and other final aspects of woodworking.

That is where the debate between wood putty and wood filler comes is and people get confused about which one to pick! But don’t worry; I am here to solve all of your problems today with a detailed comparison between the two!

Wood Putty Vs. Wood Filler

What Is Wood Putty, And How Does It Work?

Have you ever made drastic mistakes in your life? Well, we all have! There are some mistakes that can be easily corrected, and then there are some that we cannot do anything about. But when it comes to the mistakes in woodworking, there are some ways that you can use to correct them.

Not only that, most of the time, it is relatively easier to do so because of the methods available. Wood putty is also a substance that is used to correct mistakes, or in other words, finalize the project with it.

Wood putty is a thick substance consisting of oil and plastic substance that is being scraped over the holes in the wood. The holes can be of anything, whether they are of drill, nails, or even of any other thing. If we compare it to the wood filler, wood filler is mainly water-based, and that is why it is not that much thick.

Not only that, but the wood putty can be used in a harsh environment because of its properties, and it will never come off. Whereas wood filler, due to being water-based, is suitable to be only used in indoor structures.

When Should You Use Wood Putty?

These are some of the scenarios when you should use wood putty without any concerns:

1. Better On Finished Products

Wood putty is relatively suitable to be used on the finished products rather than the unfinished products. This is because wood putty tends to solidify the material, and it can become a hurdle to process it even further after applying it.

2. Indoor and Outdoor

You can use wood putty outdoor and indoor, both. This is because wood putty consists of thick substances, including oil which tends to remain sturdier in all environments. It does not matter if it is cold outside or actually scorching; the wood putty will remain intact. And for indoor, it is one of the most reliable options for finishing.

3. Easy To Use

You can also use wood putty if there is no professional around you to do so. Wood putty is relatively easy to apply and does not require any type of expertise to apply it to the substance.

4. Availability Of Different Colors

One of the best things about wood putty is that it comes in different colors and shades. It would definitely be weird to put a white shade on a dark brown floor, right? In that case, you can opt for wood putty and choose any specific color you want to match it according to your preferences.

FAQs related to Wood Putty

These are some of the FAQs related to wood putty that will most probably solve out all of your confusion related to it. So don’t forget to go through each of the questions.

Does wood putty get hard?

Wood putty tends to get tight and not actually hard to make the surface smoother, but if we compare it to the wood filler, wood fillers usually get harder than the wood putty. But it definitely does not mean that wood putty is less effective than wood filler.

Can You Paint Over Non-hardening Wood Putty?

Yes, you can easily paint over non-hardening wood putty. Besides that, most wood putties come in different colors, and that is why woodworkers don’t actually have to go through quite the big hassle of painting it.

How Long Does Wood Putty Take To Harden?

It is recommended to wait for at least 30 minutes before you do anything else to do that area. Within this time, the wood putty can harden down, and you can proceed further. Do remember that the longer you wait, the better it will be as the wood putty will get more down to get stable, sturdier, and harder.

Can You Sand Wood Putty?

Wood putty should not be sanded in any case because of its properties. If you try to do so, it will ruin your unfinished product, and you might have to start things from all over again. That is why it is better to use wood putty only on finished products.

How Long Should Putty Dry Before Sanding?

You should at least give it a day before you proceed with the sanding of the material.

Can You Put Polyurethane Over Wood Putty?

Yes, in fact, most of the wood putties consist of polyurethane, and that is why there is no problem putting it on wood putty.

Can You Screw Into Wood Putty?

Yes, wood putties and wood fillers both allow the woodworkers to screw it. You might need a drill in some cases, but it is possible to do so without getting into any problems.

Why Should You Use Non-hardening Wood Putty?

Non-hardening wood putty is usually really easy to scrap even when you are done with the work. It does not matter if you have filled the nail hones or drill holes; woodworkers can quickly scrap it without excessive force. That is why you should use non-hardening wood putty.

Why Doesn’t Wood Putty Harden?

Wood putties do not get tricky because they are oil-based and designed in a way to remain flexible even after days or months.

Is It Necessary To Apply Putty Before Paint?

In this case, wall putty is what you will need to ensure a smooth painting experience. But it is definitely not necessary to first put putty on the wall to get started with the painting.

Can You Stain Wood Putty?

Yes, wood putties are stainable, and you can pick any color as per your preferences to stain it.

Can You Use Wood Putty On MDF?

Absolutely! In fact, it is recommended to use wood putty as it can seal the interior and makes it easy to finalize the product without getting into massive hurdles.

What Is Wood Filler, And How Does It Work?

Wood filler is also a substance just like wood putty, but here, the case is quite different. As you might already know now that wood putty consists of oil and plastic, but if we take a look at the wood filler, it consists of water and wood chunks.

Yes, you read that right; this is how the wood filler works. Not only that, but the wood filler also hardens and tends to offer perfect smoothness, whereas wood putty remains flexible. This means that you can change the shape of the wood putty even after days of applying it, but this will certainly not work when it comes to wood filler.

Aside from that, if we talk about the use of wood filler, it is actually better to use wood fillers inside the house or any other location. This is because the challenging conditions of the outside can weaken the wood filler, and it can then create consequences later.

So that is why it is better to be safe than sorry. Other than that, wood filler is used to fill the crack, joints, nail holes, bigger holes, and other similar spaces that might need correction while woodworking.

One of the best things about wood filler is that you can use it on unfinished products without any problems. Do remember that wood putty does not allow the users to do so, and you can only use it on finished products for better results.

When Should You Use Wood Filler?

These are some of the scenarios where you can use wood filler. So check them out and see which one matches your preferences!

1. Quick Service

If you don’t actually want to wait longer and you want the things to be done as quickly as possible, the wood filler can help you out. As we have seen in the case of wood putty, almost 30 minutes or an hour is required for it to dry properly, but here, the wood filler can be dried within 10 minutes, which is definitely fast.

2. Works with Finished/Unfinished

As I stated earlier, wood fillers can be used on unfinished products with ease. So if you see a defect on any substance, you can use wood filler without a second thought.

3. Filling Of Wide Holes

Wood filler can actually also be used to fill up enormous holes and spaces. This is because wood filler does not remain flexible, and it becomes harder.

4. Inside Of The Area

If you are looking to correct something that is based inside your house or any other location, you can go with wood filler. If it is outside, you might want to go with other options.

FAQs Related To Wood Filler

If you can go through all of these FAQs related to wood filler, you will be able to solve almost all of your queries related to it. So don’t skip any questions!

Are Wood Filler And Wood Glue The Same?

The working of both of the things is almost the same, but their properties differ. You can use wood glue outside too. Meanwhile, it is not recommended to use wood filler outside.

Are Wood Filler And Grain Filler The Same?

No! Wood filler uses water as its base material, whereas grain filler uses different types of thick substances to fill the desired places. That is why both of them are different.

Is Wood Filler Waterproof?

Yes, wood filler is waterproof, and it won’t create problems even if you put water on it. But that is the case when it is properly hardened.

Can You Stain Wood Filler?

Wood fillers can easily be stained in different colors, and it is also very elementary to do so. You can simply use any color and use it to stain it to match the colors as per your likings.

Can You Use Wood Filler On MDF?

Yes, the wood filler can be used on MDF for the filling of the interior. Wood filler can make it easy for the woodworker to enhance the product even more due to no shallow space from the interior.

Does Wood Filler Stick To Wood?

Unfortunately not! Wood filler cannot stick to wood as it contains no adhesives. It is only used to fill up the spaces and not for sticking or pasting.

Can You Screw Into Wood Filler?

Yes, as wood filler becomes harder with time, it also becomes effortless to screw into it.

Does Wood Filler Stick To Plastic?

It solely depends on the properties of wood filler and how it is produced. But in most cases, the wood filler does not stick to plastic due to no inclusion of adheres.

Is It Better To Use A Wood Filler Or Caulk?

While caulk can be good for corners, they do not work for nail holes and different spaces. That is why it is better to go with wood filler and solve all of your problems with a single material.

How To Hide Wood Filler After Staining?

Mostly, staining does all the job of hiding, but if there still are problems, you can use wood paper and then make it smooth to hide the wood filler.

Does Wood Filler Come In Different Colors?

No! Wood filler does not come in different colors. But it is the staining that comes in different colors to match the wood filler with the intended material.

Does Wood Filler Shrink?

If we talk about the high-quality wood fillers, they do not shrink and tend to maintain their shape for years. But if we take a look at some low-quality wood fillers, there can be shrinking problems that can damage your product.

The Verdict

So this is the actual difference between wood filler and wood putty. If you know what you are doing and what type of filling you want, it will be easy for you to pick any one of them. Just keep in mind that both might seem the same, but they can perform relatively better in different scenarios. That is why it is better first to evaluate your project and then determine which will work best in your case.

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