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Wood Putty or Not?? Making Stairtreads??5/27/15
When we make stairtreads, in the past we usually putty the nail holes and a little on the return if needed. Then sand and they look great. But we've only made them in Oaks.
So now we have a order for Maple treads. Should we putty them or let the installer/finisher do this. We don't mind doing it, but the finisher may have his own formula or recipt or own way to do it.
What say yall??
Ask the company you're selling them too. If they are going natural then the putty will stick out like a sore thumb.
To minimize the contrast consider making some putty using epoxy and maple sawdust- very fine dust. Apply carefully to avoid excess around the hole as it is hard to clean up the excess. Of course, epoxy cures quickly so move fast.
Another option is to use a blunt nail, which will tear the wood fibers and then add a drop or two of water to the hole after countersinking. The torn fibers will swell and close the hole-partly or totally. It is still a hole, however, so varnish topcoats may show the hole. Another option is to use maple toothpick to plug the hole, with a little water-based glue to secure and swell the hole.
The reason why the wood dust trick doesn't really work well has nothing to do with epoxy or glue. It always looks darker than the thing you are puttying because the filler is face grain mixed with end grain(which is always darker than face grain). This is really obvious on a light wood like maple.
Let the finisher do it. If you want it to look good.
After all these years. I finally figured out that the best way is to put down a sealer coat which wets the face grain. Find/make a putty that matches it. Then topcoat it. Rather than putty before finish or color putty after its finished.
I like the Zar brand of wood filler best if you are buying off the shelf. I also like their stains.
Obviously it all depends upon what the project demands or your own standards.
why are you creating nail holes in stair treads in the 1st place!? I've seen some horrific installations where trim carps go "Machinegun Kelly" blasting nails everywhere, but during manufacture of the parts???? I dont get it?!
as for filler, as a finisher, I don't want anyone else applying anything into holes/defects. material & method of application has a great effect on how much scrsping / sanding is req'd to remove the mess