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Thread: Nail holes-Best filler

  1. #1
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    Default Nail holes-Best filler

    I'm a little disappointed with the results I get trying to cover nail holes with wood filler. It tends to look grainy on the surface and separates and cracks around the edges. Similarly painters caulk tends to shrink and leave a little divot. What is your favorite way of covering nail holes? Is there anyway to truly hide them?
    Last edited by bluedog225; 04-15-2018 at 11:49 PM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Nail holes-Best filler

    I prefer micro balloons mixed with polyester resin. It drys fast, can be planed like wood or sanded smooth and won't let go. But, it can be easily removed, if needed, with a small sharp tool like a chisle or graver.
    Jay
    Last edited by Jay Greer; 04-15-2018 at 02:11 PM.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Nail holes-Best filler

    There are a variety of 'best' options - depending upon the circumstances. Are you talking about a piece that already has finish on it, is then fastened with nail/brad/pin, and now needs filling? Or are you talking about raw wood, which has been fastened, and will, after filling the nail holes and sanding, be stained (or not?) and topcoated?
    David G
    Harbor Woodworks
    http://www.harborwoodworking.com/boat.html

    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Nail holes-Best filler

    Mostly the former. I tend to paint my trim pieces before installing since I am such a sloppy painter.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Nail holes-Best filler

    Quote Originally Posted by bluedog225 View Post
    Mostly the former. I tend to paint my trim pieces before installing since I am such a sloppy painter.
    And it's a marine application? Plain white, or do we need to color-match the filler, or will you touchup to color-match?
    David G
    Harbor Woodworks
    http://www.harborwoodworking.com/boat.html

    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Nail holes-Best filler

    Ya, what job? Folks have learned that epoxy in nail holes can be problematic to remove. But I put epoxy in my galvanized nail holes 34 years ago and only had to pull about 3 so far. If I’d use bungs or putty or polyester, I may have had to throw the boat away by now.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Nail holes-Best filler

    Is this for boat work or house work?

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Nail holes-Best filler

    Right now I'm working on the house. Interior work. Sorry.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Nail holes-Best filler

    The professional painters who follow behind my trim work use a two part approach. First they fill all nail holes with painters’ sparkling compound. They put in on thick and let it dry completely. Then they sand it flat. But then they go over it again with a one part Bondo glasing compound, the red stuff. Then when that dries they sand it again.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Nail holes-Best filler

    Quote Originally Posted by StevenBauer View Post
    The professional painters who follow behind my trim work use a two part approach. First they fill all nail holes with painters’ sparkling compound. They put in on thick and let it dry completely. Then they sand it flat. But then they go over it again with a one part Bondo glasing compound, the red stuff. Then when that dries they sand it again.
    Sparkling compound? Your finishers must be very cheerful guys/gals!! <G>

    OK... spackle. I'd call their 2-step process a bit of overkill. But a welcome bit of overkill. Far better than the slapdash approach too often taken.

    But the OP is trying to paint his trim before installing, then backfill. No sanding allowed... unless he plans on doing a final coat in situ. What he hasn't answered yet is whether he wants his putty color-matched, or will do a bit of daubing to touch up the puttied spots.
    David G
    Harbor Woodworks
    http://www.harborwoodworking.com/boat.html

    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Nail holes-Best filler

    Sparkling! Get the unicorns to do the painting.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Nail holes-Best filler

    Usually this trim is preprimed. After this nailhole filling they usually reprime before spraying two topcoats. Seems really glossy finishes are the in thing these days.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Nail holes-Best filler

    Sleep with one eye open.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Nail holes-Best filler

    But the OP is trying to paint his trim before installing, then backfill. No sanding allowed... unless he plans on doing a final coat in situ. What he hasn't answered yet is whether he wants his putty color-matched, or will do a bit of daubing to touch up the puttied spots.

    I usually go back with an artist's brush and touch up the nail holes and the border with adjacent colors. Usually high gloss on the trim.

    And thanks all.



  15. #15
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    Default Re: Nail holes-Best filler

    Quote Originally Posted by bluedog225 View Post
    But the OP is trying to paint his trim before installing, then backfill. No sanding allowed... unless he plans on doing a final coat in situ. What he hasn't answered yet is whether he wants his putty color-matched, or will do a bit of daubing to touch up the puttied spots.

    I usually go back with an artist's brush and touch up the nail holes and the border with adjacent colors. Usually high gloss on the trim.

    And thanks all.
    Then regular spackle, or shrink-free spackle should do you fine. Be sure and mash it into the nail hole firmly, so there is no void underneath for it to collapse into. Keep a damp rag handy, turned often, to wipe off the spackle that smears during application.

    If you use regular spackle, it will shrink slightly, leaving you a small recess to fill with paint, bringing it up to flush. If you use non-shrink, you'll avoid any potential for shrinking away from the sides of the hole... but your glass paint daubing/touchup will stand proud. With a high-glass finish, all of that becomes more noticeable.

    In the end, I've always gotten better results with Stevens approach.
    David G
    Harbor Woodworks
    http://www.harborwoodworking.com/boat.html

    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Nail holes-Best filler

    Painter's putty for that kind of stuff. Paint it, install it, push some putty in there and move on to something else for a few hours (or less, maybe) then return to wipe of excess with a dry cloth. Touch up and you're done.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Nail holes-Best filler

    Quote Originally Posted by kelso View Post
    Painter's putty for that kind of stuff. Paint it, install it, push some putty in there and move on to something else for a few hours (or less, maybe) then return to wipe of excess with a dry cloth. Touch up and you're done.
    Not for a high-gloss painted finish, which is what he's after. Painter's putty dries to a duller sheen, which would make it stand out.
    David G
    Harbor Woodworks
    http://www.harborwoodworking.com/boat.html

    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

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