Make the Holes go Away…

Written by on October 30, 2011 in Wood Snobbery with 2 Comments

so many tones...

Color putty filling is a skill in which many finishers are weak.

It’s not about just filling a hole, it’s about blending color tones to match the exact grain pattern that the hole is in. This is one of those “icing on the cake”, attention to detail steps in the finishing process on stain and clear grade projects that really shows the skill level and craft of the painter.

In the cedar beadboard pictured, there are 7 different tones of filler in the nail holes, and some were blended together to get just the right tone. This is a task that requires patience, proper technique, a good eye, and a whole bunch of ‘give a crap’ factor.

I will be writing more about specific product and process for this task in the near future, but I will leave you for now with the conclusion that one place that most finishers go wrong on this task is in preparation. They do not take the time to research and track down the right colors and products for the wood species at hand. Where garden variety, ‘off the shelf’ filler putties fall short is that they do not have dark enough tones to blend in the more visually rich wood species, such as cedar, mahogany, cherry, sapele or ipe. The readily available fillers cover mostly the light and medium tone ranges, but what do you do when you need more depth?

Scott Burt

Scott Burt is a contractor and freelance writer whose column "From the Field" has appeared in American Painting Contractor magazine (www.paintmag.com) since 2008. His writing and projects also appear in other print and digital venues. This site is an extension of Scott's publication work, and he encourages readers to leave comments and questions about articles published here. Hope to hear from you!

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  1. Scott amazing finish, and as always I applaud your attention to details. Beautiful doors!

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