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Is there a colored putty that dries to a hard sandable state?

5233 Views 10 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  gfadvm
Is there a wood filler/putty that either comes in ebony or that I can color to ebony that dries to a hard state that can be sanded? The stuff my local store sells is still quite soft and crumbly after days of drying.

If necessary I'd be willing to make my own if someone has a recipe.
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Is epoxy sandable/scrapable, so that you can level out the high spots and end up with a look that is not noticeably different from the surrounding wood? I have used clear epoxy before as a gap fill under a clear poly finish and was not thrilled with the result.
You can get black fresco colors (painting pigments). I
get them from Woodworkers Supply but art supply
places sell it too.

Here's an ebay seller with something like what I have:

The pigments are a fine powder and they dissolve in
water and other solvents so they can be used to make
aniline dyes.

They can also be mixed in with dry fillers like Durham's
rock hard water putty. If you try to mix pigments into
a premixed putty, the putty may get crumbly as the
pigments absorb the water and that can make it
hard to work with.

The trick, I think, to getting an exact result is to measure
precisely. You'll need a little scale to mix a given amount
of putty powder with a given amount of pigment.

The downside of Durham's is it "kicks off" like plaster
and dries fast so you have to use it. Making little packets
would be a solution so you're not blowing through more
costly artists pigments than necessary.

Durham's is real cheap. I use a spray bottle to squirt
water into a heap of putty powder in a shallow, round
tupperware container which, lacking corners, makes
it easier to work the water and the power into
a uniform paste.
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In my experience, epoxy is a great, strong filler, but will require multiple applications as it sinks into the area being filled. It also effects the surrounding area's ability to absorb stains and other finishes due to its sealing nature. If I'm trying to fill nail holes or something similar, I usually use Elmer's wood filler and give it plenty of time to dry before moving onto the next step. Sometime additional application are required, but it's worth it as it seems to take stain and other finishes well, making the repair virtually invisible with enough patience during the application process.
The best filler I have found so far is Timbermate. You can get a number of colors, but it stains well also.
"Is epoxy sandable/scrapable, so that you can level out the high spots and end up with a look that is not noticeably different from the surrounding wood?"
Yes, just hit it before it fully cures. When it's still a bit rubbery, it is easily scraped or pared with a chisel. It routs nicely too.
Harvey - I am assuming that you are using the filler as some kind of Inlay and not just filling voids?

Honestly bondo is a great filler, sands flat, and can be tinted with powdered frescoe colors.

Challenge is that the sanded color looks different than the "cured" color.

Epoxy is likely the way to go. Just get a better long cure epoxy from System Three, or West Systems.

Don't use the 5 minute stuff in syringes, it often cures a little funky for sanding well - results will vary, but 30 minute epoxy will allow bubbles to go away, and cure hard and sandable.
Another Timbermate fan here. It is water soluble so use water soluble dye. It comes in a lot of colors to match various woods but don't know if ebony is an option.
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