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Thread: what pore filler do you use?

  1. #1
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    what pore filler do you use?

    I'm helping my son make a dining room table that he gave his wife for Christmas (at least we had the top mostly done by then so she saw more than a pile of sticks). He is making it out of red oak. He would like to use a pore filler on the table. I've never used a pore filler as I haven't worked with oak in over 20 years.

    What are folks' favorite pore fillers? He's trying to decide whether to go with a color matched filler or a color contrasting filler. My sense is that he and his wife will land on the second as she tends to like bold grain patterns.

    btw, I've read many articles about finishing walnut, but I haven't found many about finishing oak. A few on fumed finishes for craftsman/stickely stuff.

  2. #2
    I used Wunderfill, available from Rockler, on my last red oak table. It is a water base product, and seemed to work well enough. Picture of the table is below. I used walnut Wunderfill as a filler, Walnut Watco as a stain, and then a coat of SealCoat shellac, and then Minwax fast dry stain poly.

    IMG_6123.jpgIMG_6124.jpg
    Last edited by Andrew Seemann; 01-08-2021 at 2:03 PM.

  3. #3
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    I just used Z-poxy finishing resin on a walnut counter top and was very pleased with it. It was recommended here. Several Luthiers use it. You can find some application demos on You tube. You essentially squeegee a relatively thick finish into the grain. It cures with a very high gloss that you knock down with 220 grit sanding. A little of it goes a long way. This pic is after a couple of hours. It was ready to sand down after 24 hours. I applied two coats, but I think that was over kill.
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    Last edited by Joe A Faulkner; 01-08-2021 at 9:24 PM.

  4. #4
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    Wunderfill, as mentioned above, or Timbermate (available at Woodcraft) are very similar, water based, quick drying fillers. I’ve also used Pore-O-Pac from Behlens. They all come is various wood tones. Behlens is oil based and takes considerably longer to dry. Plan to do a couple of applications for a complete fill. I also apply a wash coat of SealCoat shellac first just to minimize any potential for color creep into the wood.

    I’m intrigued by the product Joe used. Thanks for posting that Joe. May give that a try on a future project.

  5. #5
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    I've had great results using Timbermate. It stinks like the dickens tho.
    Please help support the Creek.

    When I was a kid I wanted to be older...this is not what I expected.

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  6. #6
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    I just finished watching a demo of Aqua Coat, a clear, water-based filler. The presenter finishes three boards, clear coat walnut, painted red oak, and stained red oak. He preps each board with a coat of dewaxed shellac. Then 3 coats of filler. I have enough Z poly on hand to last for several more projects, but I may give the Aqua Coat a try down the road some day. The odor of the Zpoxy is not too bad. Reminds me of the odor of new bicycle inner tubes. As you can see I used my well ventilated finishing room for my project. Thankfully we have a couple of similar rooms in the house :^).

  7. #7
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    i have usually used oil based filler - either behlens or woodperfect (woodkote) - natural color b- each seem to accept stains easily - but they're time consuming and messy. last big project i used aqua coat - clear filler - it's water based so clean up is a lot easier - but aqua coat needed at least 3 coats - i think there was one section needed an additional coat but that could have been operator error. but i am willing to try it again
    jerry
    jerry

  8. #8
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    I have only done pore filling on a couple projects, but in both cases I used Jeff Jewitt’s method of using pumice and mineral oil. It doesn’t change the color of the wood which is what I wanted and is a fairly simple method.
    There is a very fine line between “hobby” and “mental illness.” - Dave Barry

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Bain View Post
    I have only done pore filling on a couple projects, but in both cases I used Jeff Jewitt’s method of using pumice and mineral oil. It doesn’t change the color of the wood which is what I wanted and is a fairly simple method.
    I've not tried on a large, high-use, surface like a table or desk but on some test pieces and a few small boxes, plane old Plaster of Paris worked pretty well on ash.

    Sand and prep ash, seal, fill, color (plaster took on some color), seal and topcoat.

    With just an oil finish on top the plaster disappears just like the pumice does.

    But I have no idea if this would be suitable for a desktop or table top.
    Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe A Faulkner View Post
    I just finished watching a demo of Aqua Coat, a clear, water-based filler. ...:^).
    Is the demo online or was it in person. If online, I'd be interested in seeing it.

  11. #11
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    It was on-line. Search you tube and a couple will show up

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe A Faulkner View Post
    .............As you can see I used my well ventilated finishing room for my project. Thankfully we have a couple of similar rooms in the house :^).
    I've used timbermate a few times and it worked well. And I would never get away with usingTHAT room for finishing. When we were first married I set up my darkroom in our single bathroom and after 40 years I'm almost forgiven. almost.
    You know, the worst ain't so bad when it finally happens.
    Not half as bad as you figure it'll be before it's happened.
    - Bob Curtin

  13. #13
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    I've used both Timbermate and Aquacoat. I've used the Aquacoat as its sold (clear) and with dye (Transtint) added to create a contrast - be sure if you want to dye the filler to first seal the wood. Both work well, but I tend to lean to the Aquacoat the most. It's fast, no odor, easy, dries clear and creates a mirror like surface. I've used it on everything from boxes to large tabletops. If you use it on a larger surface, work in small sections - it dries very quickly and if you don't get the excess off in time, you will have more work in trying to sand it off. I use an old credit card to push the filler into the pores and to scrape up the excess - both take multiple applications to fully fill the pores. If using on dark wood, and filling deep pores, I would recommend adding a little color to the Aquacoat. Otherwise, deep pores, where there is lots of product, may show up as white spots. Add a little Transtint to it, and you will be fine. With Walnut, you should be fine without color, its the darker Rosewoods, Wenge or Ebony that can cause problems.

    Timbermate is easy and fast as well, it just doesn't seem to reveal your progress as well or create the 'mirror' finish. After a couple of coats, I will usually seal it with some 1lb shellac to see where I stand. For Timbermate, add some water to the product to create a slurry, then spread that on the surface, let it dry and sand it off. It's a lot messier than the Aquacoat - but overall, probably a little easier to use.

    Rosewood and Maple burl with Timbermate and Aquacoat...
    20200626_165035.jpg

    Ebony and Eucalyptus with Aquacoat...
    20201111_132108.jpg

    Sapele with Aquacoat...
    20181218_223811.jpg

    Fumed Eucalyptus with Aquacoat...
    20201222_133857.jpg

    Walnut with Aquacoat...
    20210120_115837.jpg


    Hope this helps.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  14. #14
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    Thanks for that input Brian. Definitely on my try list.

  15. #15
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    I've used Aquacoat a couple of times. No odor to speak of which is very nice. If you don't seal the surface first it tends to leave streaks and they are really hard to remove without a lot of sanding, which puts you back to square one. Practice on scrap until you have a sequence worked out; once you do it works very well.

    When using an oil finish an easy way to fill the grain is to sand in the first coat or two. Danish Oil, for example, just apply a liberal amount and sand it into a slurry on the work, then squeegee off the excess just like you were using filler. This method works great on walnut.

    John

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