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?