Wood Putty vs. Wood Filler vs. Spackle: What’s The Difference?

Last Updated on March 20, 2023 by Kimberly Crawford

Do you have a wood project that needs repairing? If so, you may be wondering whether to use putty or filler. Both of these substances can be used to fix small cracks and holes in wood, but they have different properties. In this blog post, we will discuss the pros and cons of each substance so that you can make the best decision for your project!

What is wood putty?

wood putty

Wood putty is a type of filler material used for filling in minor gaps, holes, and cracks. It is usually made from wood flour, a finely-ground wood powder, combined with a binder such as linseed oil or polyurethane.

The mixture has the consistency of dough or clay when it’s applied, but can be sanded down and painted once it has dried.

Wood putty is a great way to fill in small imperfections in wood surfaces, and can also be used for repairing and strengthening joints between two pieces of wood.

It is available in different colors so that it can match the color of the wood you are working with.

What is wood putty used for?

Wood putty is a versatile and easy-to-use material that can be used for a variety of wood repair projects. It can be used to fill in cracks, blemishes and holes in wooden surfaces, such as furniture, cabinets, trim and doors.

Wood putty is also useful for concealing nail and screw heads. When dried, the putty can be sanded, stained, painted and finished to match the surrounding wood.

The pros and cons of wood putty.


  • Wood putty can be used to fill in holes, cracks, and other defects in wood surfaces.
  • It is a relatively inexpensive material that can be used for quick repairs.
  • Wood putty comes in many different colors so it can be easily matched to the existing color of the wood surface.
  • The putty can be sanded down to create a smooth surface that blends in seamlessly with the rest of the wood.


  • Wood putty doesn’t always adhere well to certain surfaces and may not last as long as other repair methods.
  • It is difficult to remove wood putty once it has hardened, so it must be applied correctly.
  • If not applied correctly, wood putty can be difficult to sand down and may leave bumps and dips in the surface of the wood.
  • Wood putty is not suitable for all types of wood repair jobs; some projects may require more specialized materials such as epoxy or resin.

What is the best wood putty?

The best wood putty depends on your specific project needs. If you are looking for a high-quality filler that is easy to apply and blends into the natural grain of the wood, then epoxy putty may be the best option for you.

It can be used to fill in gaps and cracks, hide screw holes, and repair broken wood. If you need a putty that can be sanded and painted, then acrylic latex caulk or spackling may be better suited for your project.

These types of putties are commonly used to fill holes in drywall, but they can also work for filling smaller gaps and cracks in wooden surfaces.

Finally, if you prefer an oil-based putty, then a stainable wood filler is the way to go. This type of filler is designed to match the color and grain of different types of wood, making it perfect for repairs and touch-ups.

How to use wood putty.

Wood putty is a great material to use for filling in cracks or holes in wood surfaces. It comes in various colors and can be used on furniture, cabinets, floors, doors, trim work, picture frames and more. Here are the steps for properly using wood putty:

  1. Start by cleaning the area around the crack or hole with a damp cloth and allow it to dry completely.
  2. Use sandpaper to smooth out the area around the crack or hole and remove any debris or dust that may be present.
  3. Apply wood putty with a putty knife, spreading it evenly over the entire affected area. Press firmly on the putty to ensure it fills in all the cracks and holes.
  4. Allow the putty to dry for several hours or overnight, depending on product instructions.
  5. Once the putty is completely dry, use sandpaper to gently smooth out any bumps or uneven surfaces created by applying the wood putty.

When To Use Wood Putty?

Wood putty is a versatile material that can be used for a variety of tasks. It can be used to fill gaps and cracks in wood, repair small dents or gouges, cover screws and nail holes, and even seal knots in wood.

Wood putty is also great for creating unique designs on wooden surfaces. It can be used to create raised designs or textures, and it can even be used as a base for painting.

Wood putty comes in many different colors and formulations, so you can choose the one that is best suited to your project.

What is wood filler?

wood filler

Wood filler is a type of material used to fill and repair minor scratches, dings, and holes in wood. It is applied by pressing it into the damaged area and then sanding it smooth once it has dried.

The color of wood filler varies depending on the type you buy, but generally they are light or dark shades that match the existing color of the wood. Wood filler can be used on furniture, cabinets, trim and molding, floors, or any other wooden surface.

It is an essential tool in any home improvement project to help make repairs faster and easier. Wood filler is a great way to fix small damages without having to completely replace the entire piece of wood.

What is wood filler used for?

Wood filler is an important tool for repairing, restoring, and maintaining wood products.

It can be used to fill gaps between boards in flooring, repair broken furniture legs or frames, patch dents and cracks in wood surfaces, reinforce joints, and even give a smooth finish to projects like picture frames and trim work.

Wood filler can also be used to hide blemishes, seal knots in wood, and protect the surface of wood from water damage.

Depending on your needs, there are many different types of wood filler available for purchase. Some products are designed for interior use only, while others can be used both indoors and outdoors.

The pros and cons of wood filler.

The pros of wood filler include its ability to fill in gaps, cracks, and holes in wood surfaces, as well as its cost-effectiveness. It can also be used for a variety of woodworking applications, including repairing furniture or even creating decorative accents.

Wood filler is available in a range of colors, allowing you to match it with the existing wood in your project. It is easy to apply and can be sanded, stained, and painted so that it blends seamlessly with the surrounding wood.

The cons of using wood fillerinclude its limited durability; it may not last as long as other types of fillers, and it may require frequent re-application over time.

Additionally, wood filler does not offer the same strength and stability as a conventional wood joint and may be more prone to shrinkage or cracking.

It is also important to note that wood filler should not be used on structural elements such as beams and joists as it may not provide adequate support. Finally, using high-quality wood filler can often be quite costly.

Overall, wood filler can be a great way to quickly and affordably repair wood surfaces, but it is important to weigh the pros and cons carefully and consider all other options first before utilizing this product.

What is the best wood filler?

The best wood filler depends on the type of wood and the job you are trying to do. For general projects, Elmer’s Carpenter’s Wood Filler is a popular option that can be sanded, stained and painted.

This water-based formula works well for filling large gaps in softwood or hardwoods like oak, mahogany and walnut.

For heavier duty jobs, Gorilla Wood Glue is a great option. It provides a strong bond and can be used to fill cracks and holes in all types of wood.

If you are looking for something specifically designed to fill nail holes or small imperfections, DAP Plastic Wood is an excellent choice. This interior/exterior grade filler is easy to sand and can be used on any type of wood.

How to use wood filler.

Wood filler is a great way to repair and fill in any gaps, cracks or holes you may have in your woodwork. It’s easy to use and can be found in most home improvement stores.

First, you’ll need to prepare the area for the wood filler. If the area is raw wood, it should be sanded down with fine-grit sandpaper before applying wood filler. Apply a thin layer of wood glue to the area and let it dry completely before applying the wood filler.

Once the area is prepared, you can begin using the wood filler. If you are using a canned product, shake or stir the contents thoroughly before using. If you are using a dry powder, mix it with water until it is the consistency of putty.

Apply the wood filler to the area with a putty knife or trowel. Push down firmly and make sure that all edges and corners of the hole are filled in completely. If necessary, you can use your fingers to shape any excess wood filler.

Allow the wood filler to dry completely before beginning any sanding or staining. If you want a smooth finish, lightly sand the area with a fine-grit sandpaper. Once you are satisfied with the result, you can stain or paint the area as desired.

When To Use Wood Filler?

Wood filler can be used in a variety of ways, depending on the desired effect. It is most commonly used to fill in cracks and holes in wood furniture or cabinetry. It is also frequently used to seal knots or other imperfections that have appeared over time.

Wood filler can also be used as an adhesive to glue together two pieces of wood. Additionally, it can be used to create a smooth surface finish on a piece of furniture or cabinetry.

Finally, wood filler can be used for decorative purposes such as creating patterns in the grain of the wood or to fill in scratches and dents that have occurred over time.

Wood putty vs wood filler.

Wood putty and wood filler are two common materials used to fill in cracks, nail holes, or other cosmetic imperfections in wood. Although both materials can be used for patching up small issues in wood surfaces, they have key differences that make them better suited for different applications.

Wood Putty is a pliable substance made of a combination of sawdust, wood fibers and a binder. It is typically available in colors to make it easier to match the existing finish in the wood surface.

Wood Putty is great for filling up small holes, gouges and cracks since its malleability makes it easy to spread over larger surfaces or contour into intricate shapes. However, because it is malleable, Wood Putty can shrink over time or become discolored if exposed to prolonged heat or moisture.

Wood Filler consists of a combination of sawdust and synthetic resin; the resin helps the filler harden and bond with the wood surface. It is typically available in shades that match different types of wood, making it easier to get an invisible repair.

Once applied, Wood Filler dries quickly and forms a hard surface that won’t shrink or change color over time. It is great for filling up small holes and cracks but not recommended for contouring into intricate shapes since it doesn’t have the same malleability as Wood Putty.

What is spackle?


Spackle is a type of lightweight, premixed paste that is used as a filler and sealer to repair cracks and holes in walls. It is made from gypsum dust or other similar substances mixed with glue or other adhesives.

It can be applied over drywall, plaster, wood, brick, and metal surfaces. Spackle typically comes in a powder that must be mixed with water before being applied. It dries quickly and can be sanded down for a smooth finish.

What is spackle used for?

Spackle is a lightweight spackling compound used in drywall and plaster repairs. It can be used to fill cracks, gouges, nail holes, and other imperfections in walls and ceilings.

It is also an excellent choice for patching larger damaged areas before painting or wallpapering over them.

Spackle creates a smooth finish that can easily be sanded down to a level surface. It is available in both premixed and dry powder forms, and it typically takes 1-2 hours to dry completely. Spackle can also be mixed with paint or primer for custom colors and textures.

The pros and cons of spackle.


  • Spackle is a great product for filling small holes and other imperfections in walls or ceilings. It can be used to fill nail holes, repair cracks, hide joint lines and level out uneven surfaces.

Spackle is also an easy product to use and clean up. It comes ready to use with minimal preparation, and cleanup is simple with just water.

  • Spackle can be painted over, making it a great choice for small repairs that you don’t want to stand out.


  • Spackle may not always be the best choice for large areas of repair, as it may require multiple applications or additional materials to achieve a level surface.
  • Spackle also has a limited shelf life, meaning that any material left over needs to be used quickly or discarded.
  • Spackle is not waterproof, so it should not be used in areas where there may be exposure to water. Additionally, it can crack or crumble with age or exposure to moisture.

How to use spackle.

Spackle is a great tool to fill in cracks, holes and other imperfections in walls. To use spackle, you will need a putty knife, sandpaper, primer and paint.

  1. Prepare the area: Remove any loose debris from the hole or crack and wipe down with a damp cloth or rag to clean the area.
  2. Apply spackle: With a putty knife, spread an even layer of spackle onto the hole or crack. Make sure to cover the entire area and fill any gaps. Allow the spackle to dry completely before continuing.
  3. Sand down: Once the spackle is completely dry, use sandpaper to lightly sand down the area. This will ensure a smooth and even surface.
  4. Prime: Applying primer is an important step before painting, as it will help the paint stick to the spackle better. Cover the entire area with one coat of primer and allow ample time for it to dry completely.
  5. Paint: Once the primer is dry, you can begin painting your wall. You may need to apply two or more coats of paint for a smooth finish. Allow each coat to dry completely before continuing.

When to use spackle?

Spackle is a versatile material that can be used in a variety of projects. It can be used to repair cracks and gaps in drywall, fill holes left by wall anchors or screws, even out uneven surfaces prior to painting, and provide texture for faux finish walls.

It is also commonly used to cover up nail holes when hanging pictures or other wall decorations. Spackle is easy to use, and when applied and sanded properly it can provide a smooth surface for painting or staining.

It is important to note that spackle should not be used as an adhesive for heavier objects like shelves or mirrors. A stronger material such as construction adhesive should be used for these projects instead. Spackle should also not be used for sealing any type of cracks in the foundation of a building, as it is not designed to handle these types of stress.

Spackle vs wood filler.

Wood filler is a great option for filling in small cracks and holes in wood. It typically comes in a paste form that can be easily applied with a putty knife or spatula, and it’s easy to sand down when dry.

Wood filler is usually made of sawdust mixed with resin, which helps it bind together and provide a strong hold. Wood filler is great for filling in minor cracks and holes, but it won’t work as well when dealing with large gaps or significant structural damage.

Spackle is a compound that is primarily used to fill in small cracks and holes in walls, ceilings, baseboards, and other surfaces. It’s easy to apply with a putty knife and usually comes in a dry powder form that needs to be mixed with water.

After it dries, spackle is sanded down to create a smooth finish. Unlike wood filler, spackle is not made of sawdust so it won’t bond as well and may need additional reinforcement or extra layers for sturdier repairs.

Spackle is also not ideal for filling in major cracks or large holes, but it can still be used for minor repairs and cosmetic touch-ups.


Should I use wood putty or wood filler?

Both wood putty and wood filler can be used to fill in gaps, cracks, and other imperfections in wood. Wood putty is a paste-like substance made from sawdust or wood flour mixed with a binder such as linseed oil, varnish, glue, or shellac. It’s easy to shape and sand, and can be used to fill deep cracks. However, it doesn’t adhere well to some types of wood, such as oily woods like teak, and may not last as long as other fillers.
Wood filler is a thicker material made from sawdust or wood flour mixed with an adhesive. It’s ideal for filling in small gaps and cracks, as it’s easier to shape and sand than wood putty. It also bonds better with some types of wood, such as teak, making it a better choice for long-term use. However, wood filler may not be suitable for deeper cracks or gaps.
The best choice depends on the type of repair you are making. Both wood putty and wood filler can be used to repair minor imperfections in wooden surfaces, but they both have different qualities that may make one better suited for your project than the other.

Does wood putty strengthen wood?

Yes, wood putty can help to strengthen wood. It helps to fill in any gaps or cracks in the wood, which helps prevent moisture from entering and weakening the material. Additionally, it provides a protective seal that can help protect the underlying wood from further damage. Wood putty is not a substitute for using high quality lumber, but it can be a great addition to help protect and strengthen the wood. It is important to follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer when using wood putty, as improper use may result in further damage to the wood.

Is wood filler permanent?

Wood filler is a permanent solution for some types of repairs. It can be used to fill in cracks and gaps, repair small holes in wood surfaces, or even replace broken pieces. When properly applied, it provides a strong bond that will last a long time. However, its permanence depends on the type of wood filler used as well as the conditions under which it was applied. Some types of wood filler are designed for temporary repairs and won’t hold up to regular wear and tear over time. Additionally, improper application can lead to a weakened bond that may not last as long as desired.

Is spackle the same as joint compound?

No, spackle and joint compound are not the same. Joint compound is a thicker material used for filling in uneven surfaces or gaps between drywall panels. It is also used to create a smooth surface for taping and painting. Spackle on the other hand is a much thinner material that is typically used to fill small holes and cracks in walls. It is not usually used for larger areas as it does not have the same strength or adhesion of joint compound. Joint compound can be sanded and textured to create a more finished look, while spackle cannot. Therefore, spackle is best suited for small repairs and patching, while joint compound is better for larger gaps and uneven surfaces.

Can you use caulk to fill nail holes?

Yes, you can use caulk to fill small nail holes. To do this, simply apply the caulk into the hole, filling it completely and then smooth out the surface with a damp cloth or finger. Once dry, if necessary you may need to paint over the area to match the existing wall color or texture. For larger nail holes, you may need to use a spackle compound for more extensive coverage.