Filling the Grain Before Applying Tru-Oil?

Q&A Woodworking Forum IndexCategory: Wood FinishingFilling the Grain Before Applying Tru-Oil?
Westfarthing Woodworks asked 9 months ago

Would you recommend to fill the grain before a Tru-Oil finish and what’s a good way to do it?

(Wood filler paste / pumice+shellac / natural light sanding dust+shellac…)?


1 Answers
Westfarthing Woodworks answered 9 months ago

Filling the grain before using tru oil is largely your own choice, and it depends on the look that you are trying to achieve.

For an open grained, hand oiled look, you should not fill the grain. The essence of an oil finish is that it does not create a film on the surface of the wood. Since it does not build up with each coat, the pores never fill.

If that’s the look for you, then just leave the pores as they are and apply your finish. Even though Tru-Oil does create a film, with thin coats it will still have that hand oiled charm.

However, if you want a level surface with a higher perceived gloss level, then you do need to fill the pores first. What this does is create a flat starting surface, without any dimples from the grain.

Use the filler that Birchwood Casey makes for filling grain before using their Tru-Oil finish. This is specifically made for working well with Tru-Oil, and it’s a fast filling product.

The liquid almost feels like a slurry, and the clear filler dives into the pores to fill them up. Once dried, you sand it back to the level of the wood, and then you can apply your finish as normal.

If you want to use a different filler method that you are more comfortable with, go ahead. However, if you don’t know about the compatibility of the two products, then I recommend a test board first.

That way, there will be no surprises in the end.

Happy building.

See Also: 16 Helpful Tips for Using Birchwood Casey Tru Oil

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