Make Your Own Wood Filler

Make Your Own Wood Filler

Fill those little gaps and blemishes with homemade wood dough.

Despite our best efforts, our woodworking projects sometimes have little mistakes in them. Recently, when dovetailing drawers together, a slip of the bit resulted in an overcut. Ouch. I didn’t want to recut the drawer, but I sure didn’t want to leave gap showing. I needed a filler that would be a perfect match for this 100-year-old ponderosa pine.

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To make my custom filler, I started by sanding a piece of scrap from the same project, letting the fine dust fall onto my “pallet,” a piece of hardboard.

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Add cyanoacrylate (CA) glue to the sanding dust to make a slurry. It’s best to use a thin viscosity CA glue, and add plenty of it. If you leave the mix too dry it’ll cure before you can use it. Thoroughly mix the glue and sawdust.

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Spread your shop-made wood dough over the defects. Using your mixing stick, push the dough down into the voids. Even with a nice, wet mix you’ll have to work fast.

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You’ll save sanding time later if you squeegee off as much excess as possible.

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Allow the dough to dry completely, then sand off the excess.

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With the shop-made wood dough in place, my mistake becomes nearly invisible.

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  • Does the cyanoacrylate glue not set really quickly? Why not use PVA?

  • Robert Mayfield

    I was once told to use hide glue to do this but it turns the sawdust brown.

    • Rev Carl Kelley

      I add the color of stain I am using with the glue and dust.

  • Dave

    One thing I might add – use this for the filler, but then on the outside, squirt some glue into the previous ‘bondo’ that was made, then add some more sawdust and pack it in. The reason is because glue doesn’t stain but if you have just some sawdust on the outside and sand it down it will at least hold some stain (better than with the glue mixed in).