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Make Your Own Wood Putty

Match Existing Woodwork with Home-Made Wood Filler


Wood putty off-the-shelf is cheap. For only a few bucks, you can get a good, strong wood putty for in several basic tints. Some wood filler even includes tinting agents to change the tone.

So why would you ever want to make your own wood putty? There are two reasons: 1.) You're short on wood putty, and the hardware store is closed; or, 2.) You want an exact tint match.

If you have a cabinet or bookcase that needs wood filler, where would you find out the exact color match? From the wood itself. Fine sawdust mixed with a binding agent will give you a quick wood filler that is fairly close in match.

How to Make Wood Putty

You Need:
  • Very fine sawdust--not wood shavings--from the material you want to patch.
  • White or wood glue.
  • A disposable surface to mix the putty--a piece of clean wood, cardboard, foil, etc.

Make the Wood Filler

  1. Gather the sawdust. You only need a palm-sized portion. Remove large shavings or foreign materials.
  2. Add glue to the sawdust slowly while mixing.
  3. Form the mixture into a workable putty-like material that you can roll between your fingers.
  4. Push the putty into the gouge, scratch, or hole, removing as much excess material as possible.
  5. After putty has dried, sand very light with fine grit sandpaper. It won't take much effort to sand this putty.
It's not perfect stuff, though. Because it's made only of glue and sawdust, it's not strong enough to bridge large gaps--only for small holes and gouges. Also, it's quite a mess to make, and it's not really worth saving the unused putty.

But it is a perfectly acceptable way of making wood putty (it's often called "cabinet maker's putty"), and will help you out in a pinch.
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