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4thDimension 09-08-2011 01:19 PM

Help with adding custom color to wood filler
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Hello all, I have a problem which I've been trying to solve.

I'm working on a bar top for my basement. The material I'm using is parallel strand lumber (may be known to some of you as the brand Parallam).

I've got the pieces cut and sanded and ready to go but I'm having a hell of a time trying to figure out what to use to fill all the holes and gaps.....and there are ALOT of them due to the nature of the product so I will need large amounts of filler. The Parallam itself is a light oak color and I want to fill the holes with a contrasting color to match the natural dark red colors (could be the glue used) found in the strands. I haven't been able to find a wood filler with this's usually a dark walnut (too brown) or a red oak (too light). So, I started to test my own custom colored fillers. The one I found easy to color and work with was a polyurethane knife grade product used on stone repair, but sanding the small test piece proved to be difficult because it dries as hard as stone. It's a large bar top and return so this much sanding would take forever. I wasn't happy with the original wood filler I used (Elmers walnut color) because it shrunk and cracked, but at least it was easy to apply and sand.

So, I think my only choice here is to use a real wood filler I guess. What I need to know is if anyone has done this before and what products would work best. Can I use a water based wood filler (like Elmers I can pick up at Lee Valley) and then just add pigment of some sort, like what I used to color the knife grade polyurethane? Do you think the wood filler would finish better if I sanded it down and then did a second coat to fill cracks and shrinkage? Are there any other products out there anyone can recommend?

I'm in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.....we have the usual Home Depots, Lowes, Lee Valley, etc but the selection sucks at the big box stores and the little carpentry places dont seem to be able to help either.

I'm attaching a picture of my test piece with the original walnut wood filler favorite is the middle portion....on which I used an oil based polyurethane finish. It's close to what I want, it's just missing a red hue.

Thanks all!

BigJim 09-08-2011 08:41 PM

That is the first time I have seen that type of wood, it stains nicely and looks great. I personally like the darker filler instead of trying to hide it. I do know to add to most fillers will destroy it and it will not preform as intended. Sorry I can't be more help.

25thmustang 10-13-2011 10:28 AM

Do you happen to have any of the dust from cutting or sanding this wood? I have used the saw dust mixed with wood glue before and it usually matches pretty well.

Ron6519 10-13-2011 02:34 PM

I'd fill in the holes with wood. Shape it as close as you like Glue them in place. When they dry, cut them flush.
Large areas of woodfiller are never good, especially as obvious as a bar top.

yeag6154 10-14-2011 09:06 AM

I agree with Mustang. If you have enough saw dust left mix with wood glue to form a paste. When you stain it, it will match the closest but nothing is perfect. I've used this to fill nail holes on furniture and cabinets in the past. Little more time consuming than wood filler in a can but better results.

This is the first time I've seen this type of wood and I am definitely going to try and find some in my area for some of my projects. The contrasting colors in the grain are incredible.

Druidia 10-14-2011 01:46 PM

Wow, beautiful wood. Made me curious enough to google it.
Here's a beautiful parallam woodturning piece from this page

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