Filler for Mouldings

Moulding installers discuss patching and hole-filling products. July 3, 2006

From time to time I need a filler that performs as follows:
-Spreads like drywall compound
-Does not crack or shrink
-Sands easily
-Can be painted

What hasn't worked so far:
-Drywall compound
-Plastic wood

Are there any proven ideas out there?

Forum Responses
(Architectural Woodworking Forum)

From contributor A:
Bondo is readily available and fairly cheap. Be careful mixing it too hot or it will crack. We prefer Abatron. Itís pricey and you have to order, itís a two part epoxy. One word of advice - clean your hands constantly, every 5 minutes.

From contributor B:
You might try Durhams Rock Hard Water Putty. Very low tech and cheap so it would be worth a try. It dries fast and sands easy, and is very strong. It can be found most anywhere.

From contributor C:
Try Plaster of Paris. All feelings toward France aside, this old product saves my derriere. It's dirt cheap, mixes quick, sets up hard, and best of all, is fast. I actually keep it mostly for installation emergencies when I have smashed a wall corner or poked a hole in the drywall. The other night I filled a fist sized boo-boo with two quick applications that hardened in 20 minutes. A quick scrape and a wet sand with a damp paper towel, then some more of the painters latex applied with a paper towel, and I was out of there. The next day, you could not find the fix. As for nail holes, it's great but do small batches as it sets up quicker than Bondo.

From contributor D:
I use Durabond 90 for these situations. Durabond is a joint compound type of product that is often used on the 1st and 2nd coats of drywall installations. It is a powder mix and comes in various drying rate formulas. Durabond 90 dries in 90 minutes, and other variations are faster and slower drying. Durabond is like shellac in that it sticks to almost anything and almost anything sticks to it. It is non-shrinking and sandable (although not easily unless you purchase the "easy sand" version).

From contributor E:
Try Redi-Patch. It sands much easier that Bondo or Durham's, about like joint compound, but has just enough flexibility and binder to not crack in wood, even if feathered somewhat. I usually apply Plaster-Weld or another bonding agent first if I'm filling a large hole, feathering, or for example filling depressions left by scraping of loose paint on a largely intact area.