Filling holes in pre-finished moulding

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What to use for filling nail holes after pre-finished trim in installed. June 6, 2001

We are getting requests for pre-finished trim for commercial millwork jobs, and are having problems filling nail holes after pre-finished trim is installed. We usually use a custom stain. Any suggestions?

Forum Responses
I've seen lots of moulds glue-applied with a panel adhesive type of product. Doing so with baseboard is especially simple.

Aside from that, you've got the color crayon or filler route. Crayons can match color pretty well if you go to someone like Mohawk (if I remember the name correctly). They make all kinds of advanced touch-up tools, mainly for furniture makers, but good for high-end installations, too. If you're not aware of a company like this, contact your finishing source. He or she will know who to call locally.

We pre-finish our mouldings, then take a scrap piece and punch a lot of holes in it with a nail set. We get a couple cans of color putty at SW. We get one color to match the open grain (on oak, for example) and a color to match the solid part. The two can be mixed if neither matches exactly. We keep a small ball of a blended putty for those odd places.

I've used a lot of color putty for pre-finished trim, and there are two items I'd like to bring up:

1) You can mix different colors together, and if you're patient (and not color blind), you'll get a damn near perfect match.

2) Denatured alcohol is what I've used to wipe the filled spots down. I use a liberal amount so the "haze" doesn't stick around.

We have pretty good luck with mixing and matching with colored putties, but try to avoid big holes. If we are not getting a real good match, we go for the colored felt pens from Mohawk or Minwax to spot in the putty.