TedsWoodworking Plans and Projects

Trick Using Wood Filler

I HAVE always been very messy when it comes to…well, about anything. Finishing, drinking, eating, toothpaste, and about everything else. Wood filler is no different. I waste so much of the wood filler when I am filling in nail holes.

This isn’t really a big deal all of the time, but there are times when you have wood filler that lighter in color than the wood that is surrounding it. You will end up with smudges all around the nail hole instead of just a filled hole.

I saw a professional woodworker one time fill his holes without any mess. I thought that I would give it a shot myself and it really does work.

You are going to need some masking tape. Once the tape is put down where the nails will be driven in, then go ahead and drive them as you usually would. You want them countersunk so use a nail set and seat them in the wood.

Put your wood filler on the area that you are filling in, and once you remove the tape, you will just have a tiny bit of wood filler left above the heads of the nails. Just sand these away and viola! No messy smudges.

Start out by putting a piece of tape down and then nail through the tape, setting the nails as you go with a nail set. This way the nail heads will go into the board to be filled:


Fill the nail holes with wood filler:

Remove the tape:

Once the tape is removed, sand any excess. Note, in the picture below, the top nail is an example of what is left when you just apply wood filler without tape. The other two nails don’t have any wood filler surrounding the nail.

This doesn’t just stop a mess, but the wood filler will absorb into the wood some, especially while you are sanding it, on the nail hole that was filled without tape. The inconsistencies will show, no matter what the sanding.

The other two nail holes filled with the tape will not have this problem. All you will have is the wood filler from the nail heads on these two, and that is much harder to see than the first nail.


DO YOU HAVE a woodworking project or tip that you would like to submit to WooDesigner and get it added to our site? Then go to the contact tab below OR at the top of this page and let me know. Just make sure you are able to give us step by step instructions on it, as well as images as you see here, and we will put it on this site just like you have read on this page! As long as it is clear and concise like you just saw, it will go up. Your name will be credited to the project, as where you live. (Please include that.) Also include the type of lumber you use for the design. We look forward to hearing from you! (Take note that the tip and images and instructions have to become ours. I do hate that so much but in today’s society so many will sue, and yes, you can sue for a lot of money over images.) The tips will need to include YOUR IMAGES that you take. They can’t be images from somewhere online. Remember, we have to go through these images and if they aren’t your own, we will not be able to use them. This is illegal and it won’t be tolerated and you will be banned from this community by being blocked. We can get sued for this, and just one bad apple can ruin our community.

Ted Leger –


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Updated: December 11, 2014 — 10:50 pm
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