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Repair of old timber

Discussion in 'Wood / Woodwork / Carpentry' started by RobFJ, 13 Oct 2016.

  1. RobFJ

    RobFJ

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    Hi,

    I've salvaged a great piece of very old elm and sanded it down to make a feature of it. Unfortunately there are a few nail holes that now look quite unsightly.

    They're no more than about 5mm in diameter and are clean (ie no rust staining).

    What is the best way to fill them so they'll be much more difficult to see after the whole lot has been oiled.

    Thanks

    Rob
     
  2. Dave54

    Dave54

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    Nice! Where you are I expect it's a nice red colour as well, I had some lovely elm from up near Chideock some time back. Assuming it's going inside I'd use coloured wax to fill small holes. Something like that made by Liberon. Aim for very slightly darker rather than lighter of the finished wood colour. It doesn't show as much.
     
  3. Tigercubrider

    Tigercubrider

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    Did you save the sawdust after sanding?
     
  4. RobFJ

    RobFJ

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    Yes, I've got some of the sawdust as well as some large splinters of different colours. Needless to say some of the holes cross the growth rings which go from light red to quite dark.
     
  5. Dave54

    Dave54

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    I'm not a big fan of sawdust and glue filler myself. Particularly with darker timber, the glue stops the finish being absorbed the same as the rest of the surface and you end up with a lighter spot.
    TBH if the elm is a feature piece, why not just leave the holes in it?
     
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  6. JobAndKnock

    JobAndKnock

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    I'm with Dave. The sawdust and glue trick just doesn't work. Similarly coloured fillers aren't really that good either - they will always show, so his suggestion of coloured waxes (see Liberon, Konig or Myland brands) to fill the holes after the wood has been lacquered/oiled is probably the best way to make a near invisible repair that yoiu can get
     
  7. RobFJ

    RobFJ

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    Thanks guys for all the advice. The holes seem to be pretty recent and they're too neat to look as though they're are part of the history of the timber otherwise I would have left them (should have been less careful taking the nails out - it might have looked a bit older:) ).

    I'll test out on one of them by distressing the edges slightly with some 120 grade and then reoil; I've got some liberon coloured waxes so I'll do the test on the one that matches best.

    Just a thought - has anyone tried mixing the wax with the sawdust to try to get an even better match ?
     
  8. Gerrydelasel

    Gerrydelasel

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    Maybe you could turn them into a feature by inlaying a little star or something in a complementary veneer...
     
  9. Chud

    Chud

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    You could fill them with a stained epoxy (west system 105 etc), either to blend in our to stand out?
     
  10. JobAndKnock

    JobAndKnock

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    Not a viable idea at all. Forget it. The way you get a match with wax is to flake one or more wax filling crayons and mix them into a small pellet in your hand (the heat from your hand will help melt them together). It is easy to get a pretty close match that way. Starting with a light pine crayon you can get a white beech by adding white, or a steamed (pink) beech by adding red mahogany. For a colder pink, add walnut as well, or even instead. It's simple and cheap, unlike coloured epoxies or other nostrums, and is something that professional wood finishers and polishers have been using for generations. Application is either by hand or with a thin, flexible stopping knife which has had the sharp corners rounded off on a stone. In cold weather I dump my wax sticks in a beaker of hot water for a few minutes before use to make them softer and easier to work
     
  11. foxhole

    foxhole

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    I would use wax, have a small tool with a blade that heats up and melts the wax into place, or trim off a shaving place in holes and apply gentle heat with a hair-dryer.
     
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