How to Make Wood Filler With Sawdust

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This is How to Make Wood Filler with Sawdust. This is a very common question, thankfully the recipe is very easy. I’ll show you exactly how to do it, and also show you how to use it any time you have a hole that needs to be filled. Enjoy.

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The Original Sawdust Wood Filler

How-to-Make-Wood-Filler-With-SawdustI have absolutely no idea about the original story behind sawdust wood filler, but I imagine that it was a story of practicality, and somebody having a really good idea at the right time.

Imagine a woodworking shop years and years ago, more like hundreds of years ago. By candlelight, some ancient craftsman sees a gap in their project, and they need a quick way to make it go away.

Instead of building the project again, they see the glue sitting next to a pile of sawdust, and it dawns on them to mix those two things together and smash it in the crack. Just like that, sawdust wood filler was born, and the world has never been the same since.

Though it probably didn’t happen like that, sawdust based wood filler is one of the oldest known methods of filling cracks and defects in a woodworking project. It’s also something that you should know how to do as a beginning woodworker.

I’ll show you everything you need to know, and by the end the post you’ll be able to create your own sawdust filler on demand and use it on your projects.

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See Also: The Best Wood Crack Filler

The Wood Filler Recipe

The recipe for homemade wood filler is not very complex at all. In fact, you probably don’t even need to write anything down in order to remember it. Here it goes:

Mix sawdust with wood glue until you end up with a paste that is about the same consistency as the store-bought wood fillers that you may be used to. If you haven’t used any of these before, look for something a little thicker than toothpaste.

You can use just about any type of glue, but the most common to use is regular yellow wood glue. Just mix very fine sawdust with wood glue in a small amount until you create a paste of the desired consistency, and then you can press it into your cracks and defects.

See Also: Wood Filler Inlay Step by Step

Tips for Mixing and Working With Sawdust Filler

Here are a few tips for a mixing your sawdust wood filler, as well as a couple things that you can do to make the process even easier:

  • Only mix small batches. You definitely don’t need very much under normal circumstances, and you don’t want it to dry up anyway.
  • Use a toothpick or a small diameter dowel to mix the glue with the sawdust, that way you get a very even mixture without any dry spots, or glue that doesn’t have dust in the mix.
  • Use very fine sawdust without any splinters or chips. This isn’t OSB filler, it’s sawdust filler.
  • Apply the filler with a toothpick, or a repair knife. Press it into the area that needs to be filled, and leave a little bit over the surface for sanding flush later.
  • After the filler completely dries, which can take 24 hours for most wood glue, you can sand it back to the surface and your fills should look very good.

See Also: 16 Awesome Reasons to Use Titebond Wood Glue

How to Fill a Hole or Defect

The first thing you need to do when it comes time to use your own wood filler is to address the defect and prepare it for filling. This is usually pretty straightforward, but sometimes you can do a couple things to help to fill it better.

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If your gap or your defect is smooth on the inside, use the head of a nail, or the pointy part of a screw to rough it up a little bit. This will create grooves and valleys that the glue can seep into and help bond the filler to the defect.

Also, if your defect is very large, consider filling it in layers so that way you can be assured that the filler product will dry completely all the way down to the bottom.

See Also: How to Make Traditional Wood Filler

Dealing With Color Differences

Though this is a very economical way to fix defects on your woodworking projects, it’s definitely not the best when it comes to applying to finish. No matter what you do, there are going to be minor color differences in the end.

The biggest problem with finishing over this type of filler is that the glue creates a layer that doesn’t like to soak up finish the same way as the rest of the wood. This creates differences in color, and you’ll have to address them with touch up methods later on to conceal them.

However, if you’re making something rustic, or it really doesn’t matter if you see the wood filler, this can be a great way of saving money, because your only cost is the glue.

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See Also: How to Pick the Best Wood Glue for Your Projects

Finishing the Surface After Filling

Finally, once everything is sanded down really well and your surface is fully prepared for finishing, just like any other surface, the fills should act very similar to natural wood.

You are going to notice a little bit of a difference when staining, but with most sprayed finishes it should cover pretty well without amplifying the look very much.

The only thing that you might run into is seeing a little bit lighter of a look right around where the filler material was pressed into place. This is because of some glue that has worked its way into the surrounding wood, and all you have to do is sand it out.

If you are going to use this traditional method of filling your defects, I definitely recommend that you do a test board first to see if you like the results. Traditional is a lot of fun, but it’s not quite as versatile as some of the modern fillers that are available.

See Also: How to Use Wood Filler

Your Blogging Assignment

Now that you know the recipe for sawdust wood filler that you can make yourself any time you need it, it’s time to get out into the shop and take action. Get yourself a little board to test with, and start making your own filler.

The best thing you can do is test out this process, and since you most likely already have wood dust and wood glue in your shop, you don’t actually need to buy anything.

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Mix up a little slurry and keep adding sawdust until it comes out to the right consistency. Use the claw of a hammer to create some holes in a piece of wood, and fill them up.

Tomorrow, once everything is nice and dry, sand those fills level and see what the surface looks like. If you like the look, you pretty much have free wood filler for the rest your life at this point.

If you have any questions about making sawdust wood filler, please post a question and I’ll be happy to answer them. Happy building.

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  • More than 20 Years Woodworking Experience
  • 7 Woodworking Books Available on Amazon
  • Over 1 Million Words Published About Woodworking
  • Bachelor of Arts Degree from Arizona State University
Buy My Books on Amazon

I receive Commissions for Purchases Made Through the Links in This Post.


You Can Find My Books on Amazon!

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