Best product for crack filling on cherry under an oil finish?

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Forum topic by HarveyDunn posted 03-27-2014 02:44 PM 1227 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View HarveyDunn's profile


417 posts in 2810 days

03-27-2014 02:44 PM

I’m building a keepsake box from cherry. I’m going to use a natural oil finish.

There is a little crack on one of the faces, and a little gap between the base and one inside face. I’d like to fill them.

But I am fearful of how the repair might look when all is said and done – sometimes the “repair” ends up looking worse than the original problem.

I’ve seen “shop made putties” made by mixing sawdust with glue, CA glue or shellac. And I’ve seen various kinds of putties on the shelves of my local big box store. These are meant for application under the finish.

I’ve also seen sticks of colored wax that are meant to go on after the finish, before the final topcoat. You mix them together to get the right shade.

Any advice?

8 replies so far

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

6974 posts in 3572 days

#1 posted 03-27-2014 03:25 PM

Any of the remedies will be visible, on a small keepsake box I’d skip them. One thing that might work on the crack is to “slurry sand” it, which would be more or less like filling grain on woods like oak. The method uses an BLO/varnish mix (danish oil), or just thinned varnish, and wet/dry paper/ You apply the mix, and sand it until the slurry builds and fills the crack. Since it’s colored with the finish that is also now on the wood, it does quite well, but it won’t work on the gap between the base and face, and it may not work on the crack if it’s very large, lastly: it also may not be your idea of an oil finish. But I thought I’d mention it.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View sarahss's profile


258 posts in 3728 days

#2 posted 03-27-2014 03:29 PM

Have you given any thought to making the cracks a “design opportunity”? You could consider inlace or some other type of colorful fill material. It will show, but will look like you designed it to show. Also, since inlace is epoxy based, it should hold tight for a very long time. Not sure if the finish will go on that or not—probably not—but it wouldn’t matter, as epoxy needs no finish anyway.

View woodshopmike's profile


226 posts in 2742 days

#3 posted 03-27-2014 03:40 PM

Those are both to great ideas. I like to accent cracks on turnings but shy away from it on instruments or furniture.

Oil will not soak into epoxy. If you end up buffing/polishing the piece the epoxy will shine more than the other areas. You can get a consistent sheen with an epoxied area, you just have to be aware that the epoxy will shine up faster than the other areas.

Good luck! Lets see a picture when you’re done too!


View redSLED's profile


790 posts in 2971 days

#4 posted 03-27-2014 03:42 PM

Mix a bit of your cherry sawdust with wood glue – that is your filler. If possible carefully and lightly sand in the crack and do filler – then refinish the whole face again. Oh yeah – remember to collect your cherry sawdust beforehand.

Or leave the crack alone – there is no such thing as perfection.

-- Perfection is the difference between too much and not enough.

View HarveyDunn's profile


417 posts in 2810 days

#5 posted 03-27-2014 03:49 PM

I do have the sawdust from the piece. Which glue should I use for best results under a finish consisting of Watco Danish oil and a top coat of rattle can nitro lacquer?

View MisterBill's profile


411 posts in 3330 days

#6 posted 03-27-2014 06:49 PM


Can you post pictures of the crack and gap that you are trying to fill? You know what they say about a picture be worth a thousand words.


View redSLED's profile


790 posts in 2971 days

#7 posted 03-27-2014 10:49 PM

Some others’ responses regarding ‘which glue dries the clearest?’:

-- Perfection is the difference between too much and not enough.

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 3769 days

#8 posted 03-28-2014 12:32 AM

All the glue/sawdust and shellac/sawdust fills I have done turned out REALLY dark (almost black) which is OK as a design feature. If you want to match the wood, I would use Timbermate Cherry grain filler.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

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