Filling Spot Pinholes

Finishers suggest products and methods for spot filling of pinholes in paint-grade cabinet finishing. February 17, 2014

Finishing some new cabinets, going into paint. After a coat of white sealer, I notice a few pin holes, etc. need filled. Any recommendations for fillers?

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor M:
I like using a product called TIMBER MATE. It's a water based putty, soft enough to fill very small holes. You can also add a very small amount of water and make it even thinner. Dries quick, easy clean up, and sands very nice.

From contributor J:
We use interior/exterior patching plaster/spackle.

From contributor A:
The best products for small defects like pinholes are spackle compounds. Most are now vinyl based like DAP. Avoid these. They may telegraph. Original spackle made by Muralo is very good. The best I've found. It dries hard as primer and the powder they use is super fine. It's more like a super thick sandable paint. You can't see any particles in it. It is good enough that I would order it if it's not available locally. You will smile ear to ear the first time you use it.

From contributor R:
Just like to second contributor A's suggestion on using the Muralo spackle. I fell out of favor with the automotive spot putties once I switched over to the Muralo. Another one I liked but can't seem to find anymore was the white Duratite putty. It's solvent based and works well on post or pre-catalyzed coatings, be they a primer or color coat. It dries real quick and sands well and won't leave a telegraphed pattern mark.

From the original questioner:
I will look into suggested products. Has anyone used the Evercoat polyester that is readily available? I will have to order the other. I used to use DAP spackle years ago. Worked great. Tried some yesterday and it didn't work out like contributor A indicated.

From contributor R:
Sure have. That's another option for you ponder. Don't pile it on though. Fill what needs filling. It will lessen your sanding time doing it this way. Use a dead flat and hard sanding block to level it.

From contributor A:
You may not notice the difference until you topcoat it. They add vinyl to other brands of spackle like DAP to help prevent cracking when someone uses it to fill a wide, deep gouge in sheetrock. The Muralo spackle has no vinyl and does not telegraph through the topcoat. It sands just like the primer.

Polyester fillers (Bondo, Evercoat Formula 27, etc.) do not stick well to painted surfaces. They stick to wood and metal. I only use auto filler on bare wood. If I have a repair I scrape back the paint beyond the damage, then fill it.

The other problem of using the polyester is it is generally much harder than the primer, so you will see the difference in the topcoat.

From contributor Q:
Automotive glazing putty. Only apply to fill, no excess and will save sanding time. Doesn't shrink and adheres very well.

From contributor K:
I second the above post. Use a small amount of Nitrostan spot glazing putty on a razor blade.

From contributor L:
For the small holes I still use the Mohawk crayons. No dry time and fills well. Fill the hole, scrape it with a plastic card scraper and go over it with a light scuff sanding. Works very well with solvent base. Not sure on waterborne, never tried it.

From contributor Y:
3rd vote for automotive glazing putty. 3M makes 3 different colors. The blue and green are lighter and easier to cover than the red.

From contributor B:
Ditto on the 3M spot putties. We keep green and red in the shop - haven't seen the blue. They sand great, and dry in minutes, and can be applied over finish. Squeezing the green out of the tube is a pain in the butt sometimes, so we kerfed a stick and use it like an old fashioned toothpaste tube roller.

From contributor V:
Nitro-Stan has the glazing putty in white, which has really helped me.