Saw Dust + Glue = Wood Filler?

Before and after using saw dust and glue wood filler

Do you have a wood repair project that requires holes or cracks to be filled?

Well here’s some good news for you. I’m going to tell you how to make your own wood filler, and it’s incredibly quick and simple.

Before we get started I should mention, this filler is not recommended for very large holes or structural repairs.

Alright, let’s get on with it.

Our Project
The picture below shows a good example of where I often use sawdust and glue as a filler. This is the bottom of a chair rail that will be repaired with this technique.

Chair rail with many tack holes

This chair had been reupholstered numerous times, and many tack holes have caused the rail to become chewed up. Using this homemade wood putty will rebuild the rail for the new upholstery tacks to hold properly.

Here’s The Super-Long Materials List

  • Wood glue
  • Saw dust
  • Putty knife
  • Sandpaper
  • File or plane if you have one.

Just about any wood glue will work to make this filler. Yellow or white wood glue, hide glue and even epoxy glue if you can work fast.

Fine saw dust from sanding is ideal, were as wood shavings will be too large. I usually get my sawdust from underneath the disc sander and bandsaw. If you’re looking for a close color match, try using saw dust that is the same wood specie as what you will be filling.

**For this project I used a variety of sawdust and Titebond yellow wood glue.

Mix it Up
Pour some glue into a small pile of saw dust and mix the two together with your putty knife.

sawdust and glue mixture ready to be used as filler

There’s know particular formula other than adding a little more of either, until you get the desired consistency. You’ll be looking for a well mixed filler that will be workable enough to shape, but not runny. A dry mixture will not adhere correctly, and a runny mixture will shrink and need additional applications.

As seen below, I like to add a thin layer of glue on the surface just before applying the wood filler. Doing this strengthens the damaged wood and also helps the filler bond well.

Wood glue applied before filler

Apply the home made wood putty by repeatedly packing it into the damaged area with the putty knife, and then smooth out. This will shrink as it dries, so leave some excess to compensate. If filling deep holes or cracks, it may be best to do more than one application to avoid air pockets.

Wood filler applied onto damaged chair rail

Smooth it Out
Dry time will vary depending on which glue is used and the size of your repair. I usually let dry overnight before preparing the surface for any finishing touches.

Course texture of dried saw dust and glue filler

The filler will be very rough and sometimes jagged when it’s dry – about the texture of tree bark. A file or plane can be used if needed to get the majority of this coarseness off. Follow up with sandpaper to smooth and flush.

Once surfaced you can color, stain, finish over, or leave as is, depending on your project. This chair rail was left as seen below, since it was to be covered by upholstery.

Tack holes filled and sanded flush

Pat on The Back
That’s it, congratulations you did it!

What types of projects have you used this wood filler on?