Minwax wood filler disaster

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Blog entry by Sprouter posted 03-14-2016 12:38 AM 1539 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

So I’m new to lumberjocks and wood working and already enjoy the hell out of it.
My first project was a toy box for my daughter and at the same time a boat bookshelf for my son, which turned out really good.
I have an incra router table but only used a biscuit jointer for the joinery, although I made some nice trim for both projects using the incra.
My problem is the minwax wood filler. I used it for nail holes and other defects. I figured I would get minwax stain and wood filler just to keep the brands the same hoping they work well together. Not the case.
After I stained the box everywhere I used the wood filler stood out like a neon sign! What a disaster! Please help! I spent many hours between the two projects and was glad to be close to finishing. I know one thing, I’m never using that stuff again for staining projects. I thank everyone in advance.

8 comments so far

View lightweightladylefty's profile


3655 posts in 4833 days

#1 posted 03-14-2016 02:29 AM

Welcome to LJs. I feel your pain. If the filler is lighter than the stain, you can purchase a brown permanent marker closest to the stain color and touch it up with that. I haven’t had a great deal of success with the stain markers sold by Minwax, etc. They work just like the stain and won’t penetrate the filler. I don’t have many options close by for buying permanent markers, but found some at a store that teaches scrapbooking and sells the materials. An art supply store would be a good place to find them.

Wishing you success,

-- “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” Benjamin Franklin -- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View DonB's profile


589 posts in 3813 days

#2 posted 03-14-2016 11:22 AM

Using dye rather than stain seems to work better than Minwax’s stain vs filler. You need patience and experimentation to get used to the dye as its not as easy as canned stain. Once mastered it works wonders and nearly eliminates blotching.

-- DonB

View DW833's profile


237 posts in 3003 days

#3 posted 03-14-2016 01:08 PM

Is painting it an option?

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

26302 posts in 4226 days

#4 posted 03-14-2016 06:55 PM

I just bought a can of Elmer’s color change wood filler. It is truly stainable.
I was surprised when I opened it the first time. It is purple and changes to natural as it dries. You can visually tell when it is all dry that way.

Give it a try!!

I always used Bix stainable powder wood filler that I mix with water but can’t find it here in Az. This was a good alternative but I always worry about premixed stuff drying out.

Cheers, Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View JoeinGa's profile


7741 posts in 3127 days

#5 posted 03-14-2016 08:30 PM

I’ve never had much luck with staining wood filler. It never seems to match the color of the wood surrounding it.
I might try the Elmers that Jim Jakosh is suggesting and see if that works.

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View pintodeluxe's profile


6411 posts in 3934 days

#6 posted 03-14-2016 08:35 PM

For filling small nail holes, here is a recipe for success…
1. Build and stain the piece, then topcoat it.
2. Now use Color Putty to match the finish. Blend two colors if needed to get a good match.
3. Use a Q-Tip to dab a little topcoat on the putty.

Step 3 seals the filler, and keeps it from lightening in color over time.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View Sprouter's profile


2 posts in 1925 days

#7 posted 03-14-2016 09:15 PM

Thank you all for your help. I definitely will consider all of your suggestions. Going forward I’ve learned what not to do and what I should do.
My only problem is the boat book shelf. I haven’t stained it yet. Should I use dye or markers first or just paint it as you all have suggested. I really don’t want to paint my work. I would love to show off the beauty of the wood and work.
Anyone ever have any experience applying gel stain over regular stain?
Thanks again.

View BikerDad's profile


347 posts in 4722 days

#8 posted 03-14-2016 09:41 PM

In the future, skip the brad for trim. Brads are handy for attaching trim because they make doing so faster and simplify clamping, but they aren’t necessary. No brads, no nail holes to fill.

-- I'm happier than a tornado in a trailer park! Grace & Peace.

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