How to Choose a Wood Filler for nail holes, small knots, etc. (video)

bench with nail holes

What kind of wood filler do you need for your current woodworking project? If you’re not sure, here’s how to figure out exactly what kind you need and why it’s the best choice for you!

The two basic categories of wood filler for nail holes, small knots, and similar small gaps in wood are non-hardening fillers and hardening fillers (if you’re looking for something that handles filling much bigger gaps, holes, cracks, rot, or other damage, consider using Abatron WoodEpox instead)

Non-Hardening Wood Fillers

Non-hardening fillers like FastCap SoftWax are perfect for use on finished wood. The great thing about non-hardening fillers like this SoftWax is that they come in so many different colors. This makes it pretty easy to match it to your stained wood, and you can even melt different colors together to get an even closer match if you need to. You‘ll be able to make those nail holes, nicks, and small gaps almost invisible if you use the right shade. Non-hardening fillers are convenient to use, too, because there’s no need to wait for it to dry or harden after you use it.

softwax wood filler non hardening

Hardening Wood Fillers

Hardening wood fillers like Famowood filler, on the other hand, are great for filling a hole or knot that’s too large for something like SoftWax. They’re also good to use anytime a project is going to be stained or painted—just fill all holes with your wood filler, let it dry overnight, then sand it smooth before staining or painting.  Just remember that hardening filler will not always accept stain the same way that wood does.

wood fillerwood filler

Now you know the basics of hardening and non-hardening wood fillers, and when to use each of them in your projects! Just remember that these are just general tips regarding wood fillers; it’s best to read up on the specific product you’re using and try it out on a piece of scrap wood to be safe!