Wood Putty Vs Wood Filler: [In-depth Head to Head Comparison]

When making or repairing furniture or any wood item, most of the time small holes appear on the wood and that hampers the look of the item. Not only that, but it can damage the wood as well. To prevent that and to fill the hole woodworker uses wood putty or wood filler. Though both serve the same purpose but they are quite different from each other.

They come with their own set of advantages and disadvantages. And that is exactly why it is extremely important for a woodworker to know the difference so that they can make the best use of them. If you are a beginner who just stepped into the woodworking industry and want to know about it, then this wood putty vs wood filler guide would be enough for you.

I have compared both this thoroughly covering their pros and cons so that you know clearly which one to use when. Let’s get started.

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Wood Putty

A lot of woodworkers call it Plastic wood, some call wood putty. It is a widely used compound for wood hole filling and it is widely available as well. This filler is applied after varnishing or staining the wood workpiece because wood putty contains some chemicals and ingredients that are extremely harmful to the raw wood.

Having that said, the chemical and ingredients vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. Not every manufacturer uses the same chemical or ingredient to make the wood putty. But there are a few ingredients that most manufacturer uses such as calcium carbonate, universal colorant, and boiled linseed oil.

Wood putty will resemble a plastic resin and will turn soft clay if added some water. You will get a stiff dough texture of the putty. And for applying that you will require a putty knife, you can do that with the hand as well but it wouldn’t be perfect. So better use a putty knife.

When wood putty gets dried, it gets really hard like wood. That being said, it takes a lot of time for wood putty to get dried properly. There is some putty that requires some hardened chemicals, you need to mix them up so that they can gain the expected hardness. On the other hand, some get dried and harden properly on their own, doesn’t require any chemical or anything.

They come in different colors that make it pretty versatile. If you are working on wood workpieces that needs to look beautiful, colorful wood putty will help in that. You can find color matching wood putty for the wood you will be filling.

This filling compound in highly used in outdoor furniture since it is shrinkage, water, and sun ray-resistant. These cannot harm wood putty, so it remains strong. If we talk about the price, wood putty is affordable. And it lasts very long, plus, easy to apply as well.

However, one flaw of wood putty is longer drying time. This is why some people don’t go for this filling compound. But once dried, it because really hard and the bond gets extremely strong that even rain, sun, cannot break it off.

Why Should You Choose Wood Putty?

There is a bunch of reasons why you should choose wood putty, below mentioned the most important reasons.

  • It is an affordable wood filling compound. Even a small container of this would last for very long. The best part is, if anyhow this filler gets dried inside the bottle, you can restore it easily with acetone.
  • Wood putty contains some adhesive properties that allow the putty to make a strong bond, they don’t require sealing always. However, this works only for oil-based finishes. In normal woods, the adhesive properties don’t work much.
  • When the wood putty is fully dried and hard like wood, neither the rain nor the sun can harm it. Plus, this filler doesn’t shrink as well. And that is why this filling compound is best for outdoor furniture.
  • Wood putty lasts very long, it is highly durable. If applied and dried properly, it will last for years.

What is the Downside of Wood Putty?

Along with a lot of advantages, wood putty comes with a disadvantage as well. It takes a really long time to get dried properly. And the worst part is, during the drying time the putty can collect dust and gets darken.

Wood Filler

It is also known as Woodgrain filler. Like wood putty, wood filler is also a popular filler compound. Actually, these two things have a different fan base. Wood filler is added before staining or varnishing the wood since it doesn’t harm the wood.

It doesn’t contain any chemical or ingredient that harms raw wood. The manufacturer’s use Polyurethane, Lacquer, Clay, Epoxy, materials like these in the making of wood filler.

Like wood putty, the wood filler doesn’t come with colors, it comes in only one color. But to make that match with the wood, you can dye or tints. Some woodworkers even use sawdust to make the filler look like wood. When it comes down to filling large holes, wood filler comes first in mind, they are best for it. Better than wood putty.

There are different types of wood filler, such as Latex filler, epoxy filler, polyurethane filler, etc. Latex filler is the most common, it is a water-based compound that mixes up with dye pretty well. It works incredibly in sealing big cracks and holes.

The epoxy filler is also used but they are used only in unfinished wood pieces since they need to be sanded. Wood fillers don’t come with adhesive properties, so they require sealing. And the best part of this filler is, it dries pretty faster, way too faster than wood putty. It gets dried properly within 24 hours, where putty requires days.

Why Should You Choose Wood Filler?

  • Wood filler dries extremely fast, way too faster than wood putty. It starts drying right after 10 minutes of applying and within 24 hours it dries properly.
  • There are different types of wood fillers such as latex, Polyurethane, Epoxy, etc. So you can choose the one that suits your work.
  • They are best for indoor uses, and best for filling large holes and cracks.

What are the Downsides of Wood Filler?

  • This filler compound doesn’t come with any adhesive properties, so sealing on the top is required.
  • Wood fillers don’t expand, if tried they can be broken and they are not for outdoor furniture or wood pieces.


Among these Wood putty vs Wood Filler, which one should you choose that depends on the task you have in hand. If you are to repair outdoor furniture and fill small holes and cracks, wood putty would be the best.

On the other hand, for filling large cracks and holes wood fillers are the best. And they are suitable for only indoor use since they cannot withstand extreme weather conditions like wood putty.