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Filler for Natural Wood?


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Probably not the best title but I couldn't think of anything better :D I'm planking my Arrow hull now - the 2nd planking is walnut. This will be my first build where I will not be painting the hull. The wood is a nice color so if I do stain it I will use a natural stain, matte varnish on top of that. I'm taking my time with the planks but am still ending up with hairline gaps in places, poor cutting in others. In other words, for a nice smoothly finished hull, I have some gaps to fill.

 

So what do you use as a filler that will match the color of the sticks I'm using to plank with?

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Mark is correct, if you can save your sanding dust and do what Mark said you will be Ok.

If you did not save the dust, just get some off cuts from the planking you used, hold the plank over a bowl and sand it down the dust will just fall into the bowl.

 

Hope that helps you.

 

Denis.

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Mark, Dennis - Thank you. Sounds like the only real choice. I tried that on something else one time and it didn't work too well but I did not dilute the glue and the mixture came out the consistency of Play-Dough. 50/50 sounds like the ticket. Unfortunately the planks are so thin there is very little dust when I attempt to sand them.

 

I do have some other sticks in the kit that I can sand down. Sounds like a job for the new Foredom belt sander I got recently. It'll turn wood to dust in seconds :)

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53 minutes ago, mikiek said:

.I do have some other sticks in the kit that I can sand down. Sounds like a job for the new Foredom belt sander I got recently. It'll turn wood to dust in seconds :)

Yeah but remember the point is to collect it :) Although if you're creative you could probably sort of aim the belt sander at a little cup full of thinned glue, if you try that make sure someone records it and post it to Youtube. For educational purposes of course.

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Put a coffee filter on the end of the hose from a vacuum cleaner using a rubber band.  Preferably not a shop vac as it's too powerful.  Fire up the vacuum (hoover to our Brit friends) and then sand while sucking up all the dust.  It'll collect in the coffee filter.  Turn off the vac and dump the collection into a small container.  

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Thinking outside the box for a sec. I think we all agree that trying to stain wood that has some filler  (any type) on it could result in inconsistent coloration. So what if you stained first and then filled? That would mean the filler color would have to match the wood. What I just tried might only work on walnut but it might be a start. And walnut is a popular wood for planking.

 

I bought this product to try to dye white linen material for sails. It did a pretty good job but it has been sitting on a shelf since then.

 

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On the left started out as Elmers 50/50 with water. Then pinch by pinch I added the crystals until the color of the mixture matched the wood. It didn't take much. I painted it on a plank. This is still wet.

 

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This is dry.

 

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I could have but did not add some walnut dust from sanding. That would have thickened up the mixture some and allowed it to fill a crack better. But it is a start. And like I said this would go on after the staining.

 

I'm going to stay with this effort. We'll see where it goes.

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If you're only filling "hairline" or other minor holes, why worry about exact matches.  Wood, especially after it is worked, has numerous variations in texture and color which will be emphasized by staining.  The point of NOT painting is to show the natural character of the wood.  You do want to fill nicely, but exact matches are really not required.

 

Chazz

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Chazz - it turns out on my current build that the stern post and stem are not installed until after the hull planking. For a variety of reasons I ended up going against that and installed those parts about half way through planking. There is also no rabbet called for in the plans so the planks (while glued) just lay on the stem and stern post and there is a bit of a gap there. Plus the plank edges look a little rough. I've been considering whether to live with it or try to fill it. If I do fill I think it would call for a layer of filler starting at the plank ends and going back maybe 1/4". So that's where I am headed with these last few posts.

 

Also, I probably should have been clearer in my OP. When I stain I normally don't try to color the wood. I use a natural stain to enhance whatever color the wood happens to be. So while many fillers claim to be stainable, with the natural stain if the filler dries to a white, it will still be fairly white after the natural stain is applied.

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Another one folks may not be aware of are universal tints, as the name implies they can be used to tint lacquer and water based finishes and fillers. However since they're pigment-based they are most commonly used to tint fillers and you can often get a closer match tinting a neutral filler than you can with the glue/sawdust method which (in my experience) tends to come out a bit dark.

 

Universal tints at LMI

 

DYESUniversalTintTubes400.jpg

 

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Working off vossiewulf's suggestion I am using the same old filler I always use and adding the walnut crystals to that. I also add a splash of water to thin out the filler - it ends up about the consistency of a milkshake. I then use a paint brush and paint it on. This works well as I can apply a thin layer or pile it on where it needs it.

 

My first attempt at coloring looked good mixed up and wet on the hull, but it lightened up when it dried. After sanding, I went ahead and rubbed on a pre-stain and then the natural stain. Sadly it came out like I figured - the lighter colored filler was lighter colored after the stain.

 

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I decided to give it another shot, this time making the mix darker. This one is still drying in the garage but it looks like it might be a success. You can compare the color of the mixing jar. The first attempt looked like coffe & cream. The second more like milk chocolate.

 

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Poor Arrow is becoming a testing ground. I guess if I can learn something it will be worth it. Besides the hull below the waterline is supposed to be painted white. That will cover up some of the evil.

 

In the end, I think this method for a walnut hull with the walnut crystals can work. Not sure about woods with a different tint. Maybe the universal tints vossiewulf mentions could work.

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I now wish I'd mentioned that as you've found out, the only valid test of a filler color is dried :( And if at all possible you use test pieces off the main work. People will also say test in a small corner but if you use a small unnoticed corner chances are it's hard enough to see that your judgment of the color is going to involve a degree of luck.

 

You can get the color you need with universal tints, guitar makers use them every day, as long as your filler is considerably lighter than the color you need so you can add more filler if you go too dark.

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I will file those away for future use. My next few kits are either painted hulls or walnut. For walnut I believe I will stay with the crystals.

 

It appears that there is a defined set of colors for the universal tints? Went to 2 sites and both had the same colors but different brands.

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On ‎3‎/‎4‎/‎2017 at 10:29 PM, mikiek said:

I do have some other sticks in the kit that I can sand down. Sounds like a job for the new Foredom belt sander I got recently. It'll turn wood to dust in seconds :)

 

Be careful not to press too hard on the wood to sand faster.  It is easy to get the dust too hot and it will look a darker color than the original. 

 

Bob

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