Can you apply wood filler with your fingers?

We’re all familiar with wood putty, but that’s not the only product on the market for filling gaps in your furniture or walls.

Wood filler is another option that can be used to fill holes and cracks in wood surfaces. While it’s similar to wood putty, there are a few key differences between the two products that may influence your choice of which one to use for your project.

We’ll go over those differences as well as how to apply each product so your project looks professional!

How do you smooth wood filler?

You can smooth the wood filler by using a putty knife. Simply run it over the surface of the wood to remove any imperfections, leaving a smooth finish.

Then, wipe off excess with a damp cloth and dry it with another clean cloth until you’re happy with your work. If you want even more shine, use sanding sponges to buff the area after letting it dry for 24 hours.

Can I nail on wood filler?

  • Nail on wood filler. Yes, this is a thing! You can nail wood filler into your wood. It’s not as strong as you might think, but it’ll give you a little bit more time to get the job done.
  • Use screws with wood filler. This is another option for those of us who don’t want to mess with nails or glue—just drill some holes for your screws and screw away!
  • Glue it on with PVA or Titebond glue (or both!). These types of glue are great because they’re flexible and they don’t take too long to dry, so they won’t get stuck in place while you’re working with them.
  • Clamp the area being filled until the glue dries out fully before moving on to something else! The clamps will hold everything together until all of that moisture has evaporated away from between each layer down into nothingness.”

How do you use wood filler like a pro?

If you have a large gap that needs filling, grab a putty knife and use it like a spackle knife. If you have small gaps, use a smaller putty knife to get into the tight corners.

After filling in the area with wood filler, smooth over it with your finger or a damp rag. This will remove excess filler that’s built up on top of the wood and leave an even surface for painting or staining later!

How big of a gap can wood filler fill?

You can fill a gap as wide as 1/4″ with wood filler. For larger gaps, you would need to use something other than wood filler. But if your gaps are smaller than 1/4″, then yes! You can definitely use your fingers to apply the filler.

What’s the difference between wood putty and wood filler?

Putty and filler are both types of wood repair materials. The difference between the two is that putty is a softer material, while filler is harder. Putty has more filling power and dries much faster than filler; however, it’s also easy to sand off when you’re ready for final paint or stain.

Filler is made so that it can’t be removed easily once dried; it takes longer to dry but isn’t as likely to need re-doing after application.

Does wood filler crack?

Wood filler can crack or split if you use too little and it is not level with the wood. If you use enough, wood filler should not crack or split because the surface is even and level.

In some cases, depending on the type of wood filler you are using, it may be necessary to wait for your project to dry before sanding with fine grit sandpaper (220-240 grit) so that there are no huge gaps between the filler and surrounding surfaces.

Do you sand before using wood filler?

  • If the wood surface is uneven, you’ll want to sand it down first. Sanding will level out the surface so that your wood filler will go on smoothly and evenly.
  • Use fine-grit sandpaper (150 or 180) and sand with moderate pressure until the finish is smooth. Don’t use too much force or you could end up removing more than just scratches and gouges; check for roughness by running your hand across the surface after each pass of sandpaper.
  • Use a combination sanding block—the one with two pieces of wood connected by a handle—to get into corners and edges around trim work, moldings, etc., where it’s difficult to reach with an orbital sander alone.
  • Vacuum up any dust before moving on to Step 2!

Do I need to prime wood filler before painting?

In most cases, you don’t need to prime wood filler before you paint. However, it’s always a good idea to sand the surface first. Sanding helps remove any loose particles and smooth out the surface so that your paint will adhere well. The grit of sandpaper you use depends on the type of paint you want to use:

  • If you’re using latex-acrylic paint (like “regular” acrylic), then 150 grit is fine.
  • If you’re using an oil-based enamel or shellac finish, then 80 grit works best for this application.


In short, yes. Wood filler is a great product that will save you time and money in the long run. It’s also easy to use, so there’s no reason to not give it a try!

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Martin Flood

Martin Flood has been working in the construction industry for over 20 years as a general contractor with expertise in remodeling projects that are large or small. He has furthered his career by specializing in epoxy resin flooring, providing excellent service to both commercial and residential clients. Martin’s experience enables him to offer professional advice on how to choose the right type of project based on your needs and budget.

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