That is something I never seem to use. I do all of my repairs/fillers with the dust from the same wood I am patching and glue mix. I do not paint items I build or work on either but I have a small tub of the stuff in case I do need it.
This is a great topic. Like you Derek, I cannot remember the last time I used a commercial filler.
Not having used any fillers for years, I am out of touch with what is out there and what is good to use.
In the past I have found most of these fillers when you color match them and use them for fill, either they dry up and fall out over time, or, even worse, the wood around them often darkens with age, like most woods do, and the filler remains a lighter color and now they stick out like a sore thumb.
I would love to know what others use and if these products have been improved and what is out there.
That's cool. I make a bunch of outdoor pieces and other items for craft fairs along with the furniture and indoor items such as butcher blocks and picture frames. I go through a lot of filler on nail holes and joints to make them smooth. I am curious as to the ratio of dust to glue that you use Derek to make your filler.
It's really straight forward with the big requirement being very fine wood dust from each species you commonly use on hand. The wood dust must be more like a powder for best results from my experience.
To manufacture the type of wood dust I need I either take it directly from the project during the sanding process or I take a scrap piece of the same species, drill a bunch of forstener bit holes into it and sand it allowing the dust to collect in the forstener holes. The later of the two methods only works when sanded using a sheet sander that does not have dust collection holes punched out of the sanding sheet. It is also the least effective and the most time consuming approach.
I use the sanding opportunities during a project to collect a good sized hoard of wood dust and add it to my collection whenever practical. I make it part of my sanding process every chance I get and it only takes a few seconds to clean my dust bag with the vacuum and know that everything collected after that is clean to that species or individual board if that is whats needed. Tap the dust bag out on a clean surface an into a plastic bag.
Mixing the dust and glue is a bit of an art but you will learn this quickly enough as you work with it. There is no perfect ratio of glue to wood dust but if I have to give one it would be sixty/forty wood dust/glue. If you remember my book on wood glue I wrote a few posts ago...... white glue is the best to use for this as it dries quickly and is opaque when cured and blends with the color of the wood better than a yellow glue. I hope this helps you out and try it on nail holes on scrap first to get a feel to it before trying it on an actual project.