Wood filler is one of the quintessential tools in any woodworker’s toolkit. These affordable and easy-to-use putties help you easily repair or touch up wood and other materials like a pro. You can even stain wood fillers with pigments or add paint and veneer to make it look more subtle and natural.
You don’t need to be a professional woodworker to do a fine job of fixing your wooden furniture or fixtures. With a little confidence, and maybe a little practice, any amateur DIY-er can save themselves hundreds or even thousands of dollars on furniture repairs or replacements. Why hire a handyman? It’s never been easier to perform woodworking repairs, upgrades, and replacements right in your own home.
The problem is, they’re available in all shapes, sizes, colors, textures, consistencies, and even drying rates. There are tons of wood fillers out there, and epoxies aren’t the only ones to consider. We’ll cover the best epoxy wood fillers, some alternatives, and talk a little bit about what kinds of jobs you can do with your wood filler.
Abatron WoodEpox Replacement Compound Wood Filler
Among the most professional, high-quality, and well-known wood fillers on the market today is the Abatron WoodEpox. If you’re looking for something that will get even heavy-duty jobs done reliably, there’s no better choice for your next woodworking project.
The Abatron WoodEpox replacement compound certainly isn’t the most inexpensive wood filler you’ll find even here on our list. While budget fillers have their place in any workshop, sometimes the top-shelf products are the only ones that get the job done right.
Abatron WoodEpox quickly fills wood cracks without drying too fast to go slowly and work with attention to detail. While it’s difficult to stain, it makes a fantastic filler for outdoor use because it’s highly resistant to water and sunlight. Note that the Abatron WoodEpox isn’t for every job, as epoxies are less effective on softwood. Your best bet is to use it with harder woods like birch or oak.
Elmer’s E887Q Stainable Wood Filler
Elmers is one of the most popular household brands you’ll see because it’s affordable, reliable, and easy to use. The E887Q model Elmer’s wood filler comes in a small package, but that makes it perfect for small to medium-sized jobs.
As the name suggests, it’s the perfect wood filler for covering blips and blemishes in your project because it’s made to be stained or painted. For best results, you’ll want to apply the filler, allow it time to dry out, and then paint lightly over it to ensure you have the right color. However, if you know how your paint or stain looks on real wood, you’ll get a striking resemblance as the filler is made from real wood fiber.
Elmer’s E855 Carpenter’s Wood Filler
Elmer’s is worth a second mention because they make the perfect wood filler for simple carpentry jobs, too. The E887Q is fantastic for projects that require finer details, but when you want your job to be fast and easy, the E855 wood filler is the simpler choice.
It’s also paintable and sandable but has a clean natural look that doesn’t require much finishing at all. Also, at one of the lowest price points on our list, it’s the best value carpenter’s wood filler you can find.
Note that this filler is not water-resistant and shouldn’t be used in areas expected to sustain heavy moisture. In fact, water is the easiest way to remove the E855 wood filler or clean up any excess while finishing your project. As opposed to stronger epoxies, this makes the E855 a good wood filler for beginners who might need to re-do their work.
3M Bondo Home Solutions Wood Filler
Some fillers are made to serve very specific roles. The 3M Bondo Home Solutions wood filler is made for jobs involving rotten wood replacement. However, it’s a particularly strong epoxy that is perfect for indoor and outdoor use to handle tough jobs on all different kinds of wood.
Like many epoxies, it’s sold as a solution of an emulsifier and a hardener. It’s easy to blend and it cures quickly in less than 20 minutes to a nice natural-looking beige tone. After fully hardening and drying, you can easily prime and paint over this filler to blend it into your woodworking project.
The low viscosity of the filler helps it seep further into the pores of wooden surfaces to help them fasten tightly and hold firm. While this means it’s not the best choice for filling wider spaces, it makes bonds as strong as possible whether you’re working with softer or harder woods.
Miller SF1203 Wood Stain Scratch Fix Pen / Wood Repair Marker
Another diverse wood filler for smaller woodworking needs is the Miller SF1203. Not only is it perfect for pint-sized projects, but a single pen is good for over 1,000 layers. Make sure you don’t misplace it like you would with a ballpoint pen.
The Miller SF1203 dries almost instantly and is perfect for covering over small stains, minor gouges, and scuff marks. It comes in five shades for all varieties of wood, and the darker shades in particular tend to blend very subtly and naturally.
And don’t worry, these aren’t gussied-up ink stain pains. The Miller SF1203 is made from a waterproof wood stain just like a high-quality blemish fixing filler. Waxes and polishes won’t smudge it meaning it’ll hold up just like natural wood. It’s recommended for all kinds of applications from furniture, to fixtures, to flooring, and more. And being packed into such a small container, it’s one of the most cost-effective products on our list.
FamoWood 40022126 Latex Wood Filler
A popular alternative to epoxy wood fillers is latex wood filler. The FamoWood 40022126 is a fast-setting wood filler that doesn’t require any pre-blending and doesn’t have any of the chemical stink that you get with some epoxies. Not only that, but this popular filler is made for staining. No matter what color you need to use for your project, the FamoWood 40022126 can be stained to match.
Although the FamoWood sets ultra-fast, it cures well and doesn’t crack or shrink as time passes. It’s great for use both indoors and out, as latex fillers are highly durable against the elements. It’s a fantastic choice for any serious woodworking project and is a must-have in every workshop.
J-B Weld 8257 KwikWood Wood Repair
J-B Weld makes some of the more popular wood fillers among professionals as they’re both durable and workable. The KwikWood wood repair filler is best suited for your smaller repair jobs and comes in tiny 1-ounce packages (although you can order quantities of several at once).
The J-B Weld 8257 KwikWood wood filler cures very quickly and is shrink-resistant making it a great choice for small outdoor touch-ups. It’s one of the best small-job epoxies you can get, and it doesn’t even require mixing. It’s great for use on all types of wood and for many different applications, especially where small details matter like window and door frames.
The KwikWood wood repair filler can easily be sanded down or even drilled into once fully dried and cured. This does make it best for hardwood projects, but if you’re not going to be working the cured filler, you can also use it on some harder soft woods like maple or walnut.
J-B Weld 40007 Wood Restore Epoxy Putty Kit
J-B Weld also makes a more heavy duty epoxy wood filler. As one of their flagship products, it’s sought-after among skilled woodworkers for its unparalleled power and reliability. Like many professional epoxies, it’s sold as a 2-piece resin and hardener that you’ll have to blend yourself and then work with quickly.
The J-B Weld Wood Restore epoxy putty cures faster than most. You have as little as 10 minutes to fully apply the epoxy to your woodworking project before it begins curing. After only about an hour, it’ll be fully set. Give it another 24 hours and it’s even ready for staining and painting. You can sand it down, machine it, and shape it exactly the way you want it just like natural wood. Plus, it’s great for jobs repairing wood that’s rotten or damaged.
As one of the strongest epoxy wood fillers around, we recommend you have some experience in woodworking and working with fast-setting epoxies before going wild with the J-B Weld Wood Restore epoxy. It creates an ultra-high-strength bond that’s difficult to undo once cured, but that’s exactly what makes it the perfect epoxy for the most heavy-duty jobs.
Different Applications for Wood Filler
Wood filler has all sorts of applications around the home, job site, and in the workshop. Although it’s billed as “wood filler,” it’s often well suited to other jobs needing touch-ups or minor repairs. In fact, wood filler is an important tool for aesthetic repairs as well as functional ones.
Most often, wood fillers are used to fill holes in wood or synthetic materials. Heavier duty wood fillers can fill even the deepest of gashes and be sanded down to give a natural appearance that closely matches the original wood surface. Epoxy wood fillers are perfect for this as they set calmly in place and don’t tend to expand or crack like vinyl-based fillers (particularly when used in thick layers).
Of course, probably the most popular application for wood fillers is bonding materials together. Wood fillers are some of the toughest adhesives you can buy besides super glue, although epoxies are even more durable than those! Actual wood fillers are much stronger than wood glue, and while wood glues are generally more affordable, sometimes it’s better to have a stronger bond depending on your project.
Epoxy Wood fillers can also be used to help smoothen out rough wood surfaces. Applied almost like a sort of stain, it fills in small pores and gaps in rough wooden surfaces to give them a smooth finish. They can then be finely sanded down to achieve the perfect glasslike feel.
Oil-based wood fillers are particularly good for finishing wood floors to make them smooth and shiny. A new wooden floor often gets a layer of wood filler before eventually being polished and buffed over. With the right filler, you can then stain and varnish the floor for a beautiful color and shine.
Some wood fillers are especially good for repairing rot. You can tear away the rotted out wood in a fixture or piece of furniture and fill it in with a strong epoxy wood filler. Then, sand it down and stain or paint it to match the healthier wood around it. Even old and damaged furniture can be restored to look as good as new with the right wood filler.