You’ve probably seen a hundred or more DIY wood filler tutorials explaining how crucial sawdust is to the wood-filler-making process. However, did you know you don’t always have to use sawdust to make wood filler? It is indeed possible, and that’s the aim. Today, WoodisWood is all about showing you how to make a wood filler without any sawdust.
The major ingredients for making wood filler without sawdust are cornstarch, petroleum jelly, and wood glue. Start by pouring the cornstarch in a mixing bowl, followed by wood glue. Once you have them in the mixing bowl in a 1:1 ratio, mix them. When mixing is complete, take the formed compound and knead it until it forms a dough-like consistency. Only then can you proceed to add petroleum jelly to remove stickiness. Finish off by wrapping this DIY filler in plastic wrap, leaving it to sit for 24hrs.
For more details on how to achieve what has been briefly explained above, read on; you’re in for the thrill of a lifetime. We’ve included a step-by-step process on not only ways you can make wood filler without sawdust. Here you’ll also find interesting discussions like making sawdust for filler, and we’ll show you several alternatives to a wood putty or filler that are sure to get that hole split in wood fixed in no time.
Step By Step Guide to Making Your Wood Filler Without Sawdust
Here is the detailed step-by-step guide to making wood filler we promised. Ensure you don’t skip any step
Required tools and materials
- Wood glue
- Corn starch
- Petroleum jelly
- Measuring cup
- Spoon for mixing
- Mixing bowl
- Paper towels
- Plastic wrapper
- Plastic protector
Step 1: Measure and pour
The first thing you want to do when making wood filler without any sawdust is to pour the right measurement of cornstarch and wood glue in the same ratio into the mixing bowl.
Ensure you measure and pour the corn starch first to avoid getting the wood glue stuck in the measuring cup. The cornstarch will serve as a replacement for the sawdust.
Step 2: Mix the measured materials
Once you have your cornstarch and wood glue inside the mixing bowl, use your mixing spoon to mix the wood glue and cornstarch. Continue mixing until it begins to look like cookie dough.
Once you are done with the mixing process, scoop out the cornstarch-wood glue mixture and let it sit on the surface of your work table.
Step 3: Start kneading
Here you’ll knead the mix like you would as if you were baking bread or turn it into a dough. Continue doing this until it stops sticking to your fingers or palm.
Step 4: Add petroleum jelly
It’s now time for petroleum jelly to come into play. Add about two teaspoons of petroleum jelly if you choose to use wood glue and corn starch in a 1:1 ratio. Adding petroleum jelly eliminates stickiness and makes it smooth.
To achieve the smooth texture you desire, work the petroleum jelly into the formed compound using your hands and occasionally check to ensure that the dough-like compound is not crumbly on the inside. Ideally, it should be able to stretch like “Taffy”.
N.B: Avoid adding excess petroleum jelly; it can delay curing.
Step 5: Wrap it in plastic and put in a plastic bag
Get out your plastic wrap and wrap the compound completely in it. After wrapping, please place it in a plastic bag and ensure that you get all the air in the plastic bag out before sealing the bag. After doing this, allow it to sit for 24hrs
Clean your tools and work area with paper towels after finishing the project. This will prevent the wood glue from drying out and being very hard to clean once it sets. Once the putty cures, take it out of the plastic bag and warm it for a bit before using it.
How to make your sawdust for filler
Sawdust is an essential component when making homemade filler for wood. Since sawdust can be made from a piece of scrap wood, you have a very good chance of matching the color of the wood.
Required tools and materials
- A mixing stick or craft stick
- A putty knife
- A piece of cardboard
- Orbital sander with dust collection bag
You’ll need a piece of scrap wood from the project you’re working on to make the sawdust. Once you have the scrap wood, use an orbital sander to sand the scrap wood. Alternatively, you can also choose to use sandpaper to sand the scrap wood, but ensure that you place cardboard under the wood to collect the sawdust.
For this project, we recommend you use 220-180 grit sandpaper; this will ensure that the sawdust particles are fine. You need the sawdust to be smooth and not coarse. Do not go below 180grit, as anything lower will only create coarse sawdust particles that will find it hard to diffuse into the binder used to create the wood filler.
After this, all that is left is to choose a suitable binder. Once you have it, mix it with the sawdust, allow it to cure and apply to the wood.
Alternatives to Wood Filler and Wood Putty
Here we’ve curated a list of products and compounds that can serve as wood filler and wood putty replacements.
Chalk Dust and Painter’s Whiting
Chalkdust and painter’s whiting are made from calcium carbonate; this makes them excellent wood putty alternatives. All you’ll need to ensure the project is successful are;
- Paint (similar color to the wood)
- Linseed oil
- Putty knife
Pour the required amount of chalk dust or painters whiting on a non-stick surface, then pour a little drop of paint into the center. Using your putty knife, mix them until you obtain a putty-like compound.
Once a putty-like compound is formed, take it up and knead into it using only your fingers. Once kneading is complete, you can use the formed putty for its intended purpose.
Using Linseed Oil
Alternatively, you can use linseed oil and chalkdust to form a filler substitute. All you need to do is pour the linseed oil into a mixing bowl, then pour the chalk dust into the same bowl. Using the putty knife stir the mixture and ensure you only add the chalk dust in parts until you achieve a putty-like consistency.
Fillers formed using chalk dust, or painters whiting are great for fixing nail holes.
Sawdust and Woodglue or Sawdust and Shellac
Once you can create a perfect wood filler replacement with sawdust and shellac or sawdust and wood glue, there will almost be no need for you to bother yourself with a commercial wood filler ever again.
All you need is scrap wood from the project and wood glue or shellac.
Choosing Wood glue
If you choose wood glue and sawdust as the wood filler alternative, you need to know that the resulting filler might be much darker than the initial wood once you finish the wood.
This is because sawdust has a larger surface area, which causes that wood area to absorb more stain than the other areas.
One solution to this difference in color is to ensure that you create shavings of a larger diameter than your sawdust, then mix them while creating the sawdust and glue mixture. This way, there will be a reduction in the sawdust’s surface area, which will also translate to a reduced stain absorption property.
Alternatively, you can also mix flour-type sawdust with chalk or gypsum; these items do not accept stains.
Not forgetting the sawdust and shellac alternative. Here, all you need is clear shellac, and the project will go smoothly. You’ll not only have any reason to worry about the filler not matching the color of the wood if you use wood from the project. Shellac also boasts of faster drying time than wood glue.
Things to note when embarking on this project are that you should never use natural shellac as it is orange and won’t match the color of your wood. Also, when mixing, aim for a cornbread consistency. It shouldn’t be too dry, nor should it be too sticky.
Using Drywall Mud
Another very effective wood filler alternative is the drywall mud compound used in the wall of homes. Here’s how to use dry mud as a wood filler for your wood project.
Required Materials and Tools
- Drywall compound
- Putty knife
- 240 grit sandpaper
- Stir stick
Step 1: Mix and Stir
Pour the desired amount of drywall compound into the bucket and mix it with water. Commercially available drywall compounds give instructions on the right amount of water to add. Stir until the mixture forms a paste.
Step 2: Apply the Mixture to the Hole and Allow to Dry Overnight
Once a paste-like compound is formed, all you have to do is use the putty knife to apply the drywall mud compound into the affected surface of the wood and spread it.
Once spread, take care to remove any excess drywall mud with a damp cloth to prevent it from drying out because when it does, it will be difficult to remove.
Step 3: Sand the Wood
Now that the drywall mud is set sand the wood using fine 240 grit sandpaper. When sanding, ensure you sand with the grain and not against the grain to prevent the formation of scratch marks on the surface of the wood. Check for high spots using your bare hands to ensure that sanding is done right.
Step 4: Paint
Once the repair and sanding are complete, you’ll need to paint over the repaired surface. Most times, you might need to go as far as giving the entire wood a whole makeover.
As you must have realized, there are several alternatives to sawdust when making filler; you won’t have to go through the rigorous process of making sawdust from scratch with the steps discussed above.