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Thread: Seeking a product to fill holes in cedar that I am restoring

  1. #1
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    Seeking a product to fill holes in cedar that I am restoring

    I am just now getting around to restoring the deck that I partly destroyed last year in order to build my shop.

    The old (about 25 year old) western red cedar 2x6s have (mostly) stood up very well and I can re-use most of them. Right now, I am sanding them down, then I will use Sikkens deck stain on them. But, I am encountering a few places where rot has resulted in some holes (see the attached picture). It possible, I would like to plug these holes an re-ruse the wood. In most of these places, the repars can go on the down side of the board so no one will see them so something that is ugly (e.g tar) is probably OK. I would just go ahead and use roofing tar, but I thought that there might be something better and less ugly.
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  2. #2
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    Frank
    I would try using polly glue (Gorilla). It will expand to fill the gaps and can then be sanded flat. I've used poly glue on many outdoor cedar projects and it holds up great.
    To fill gaps, just dampen the wood and apply a small amount to the bottom of the hole.
    Remember to ware gloves as this stuff is impossible to get off skin.
    Hope this helps
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  3. #3
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    Frank,

    You need to use epoxy to fill gaps any bigger than 1/8" or so. You could even color match the epoxy by adding sawdust to the epoxy (or wood flour...literally powdered wood).

    I know you probably don't want to go to much trouble for this but if you do, I suggest ordering up some stuff from www.raka.com (in Florida unfortunately for you) as they have very good prices. Maple flour would be a decent color match (turns chocolate brown when mixed with epoxy) but pine flour might be better (turns tan).
    Crown Molding: cut, cope, cuss, caulk, chill....

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  4. #4
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    Thanks David. The hole is about 1/2 inch wide, 5 inches long, and about 1 inch deep. Wouldn't that take a great deal of glue. If I did use the glue, could it be done in one application?
    Last edited by Frank Pellow; 06-17-2005 at 1:03 PM.

  5. #5
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    Frank,

    Also look at the similar threads section below.
    Crown Molding: cut, cope, cuss, caulk, chill....

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  6. #6
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    Thanks for pointing the threads out Chris. Sounds like epoxy might be the answer. I have never used it.

    But, my requirement might be different than those covered in the threads. I am much more interested in preservng the wood than I am in match the surounding wodd and beauty.

    Someone in one of the threads mentioned the use of epoxy for boatbuilding and that makes me think that it will stand up well when used outside. I hope that this assumption is correct.

  7. #7
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    Frank, I agree with Chris on this. Use epoxy filled with wood flour or you could even use wheat flour if color match isn't important.

    If you have through holes to patch like where the knot was in that photo, cover the opposite side with plastic, i.e. packing tape, polyethylene, or even part of a blister pack type of packaging. The epoxy will relase from the plastic when it cures and leave you with a smooth surface.

    On blind holes, fill with thickened epoxy, cover with plastic and press it flat. Leave it overnight and voila! No sanding required.

    If there are small holes that thickened epoxy won't fill easily, just run straight epoxy in.

    Epoxy will stand up to exterior applications however it has no UV blocking ability. For filling these holes it would be the perfect material. Epoxy is actually very easy to use. Just don't mix large quantities of it at a time. If you do you'll find it gets quite warm. You can use if straight (just resin and hardener) or thickened to any consistency you need such as mayonnais or peanut butter.

    Raka is a good source. I buy my epoxy from them. I like the mix ratio and have never had a problem with it. They offer a couple of different hardners. Fast is good in low temp situations but you'll definitely want the slow stuff in the summer.
    Last edited by Dave Richards; 06-17-2005 at 1:16 PM.
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  8. #8
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    Frank
    One application should work fine. Poly glue foams and expands as it cures so I wouldn't fill the gap more than about 1/3 full and it will expand to fill the entire void.
    Those who sense the winds of change should build windmills, not windbreaks.

    Dave Wilson

  9. #9
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    West System or System III epoxy, tinted if you prefer and use the "micro balloons" to make it stiffer since it's a filler.
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  10. #10
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    You might consider plugging it with wood. Use a router to excavate a flat-bottomed hole which covers the defect. Make a piece of wood which fits into the hole. Glue it in, plane to flush, and you're done. Use a waterproof glue like Titebond III.

    For a tight fit, you can do it the other way 'round. Make the plug first. Scribe around it. Remove most of the wood with the router (so you get a nice flat surface to glue to), and use a chisel to cut to the scribe line.

    You can do this almost as fast as you can play around with epoxy and microballoons and such, and it'll look much nicer.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jamie Buxton
    You might consider plugging it with wood. Use a router to excavate a flat-bottomed hole which covers the defect. Make a piece of wood which fits into the hole. Glue it in, plane to flush, and you're done. Use a waterproof glue like Titebond III.

    For a tight fit, you can do it the other way 'round. Make the plug first. Scribe around it. Remove most of the wood with the router (so you get a nice flat surface to glue to), and use a chisel to cut to the scribe line.

    You can do this almost as fast as you can play around with epoxy and microballoons and such, and it'll look much nicer.
    Hey Jamie, that is so obvious, I wonder why I didn't think of it. Also, I have now priced epoxy, and this way is a LOT cheaper. I certainly will try it before I resort to epoxy.

  12. #12
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    I forgot to ask about the nail holes

    As Jamie suggsted, I will take a crack at plkugging the big holes with wood. But, that still leaves several small nail holes (see photo). I expect that I should use either polly glue or epoxy for these. Is one of these likely to be better fthan the other for this?
    Attached Images Attached Images

  13. #13
    Frank,

    Fill them with cedar, cut dutchmen for the holes and damaged areas, or even plugs. For dutchmen there are router kits that use a bearing and sleeve so you can route out the damaged section and then route a filler piece that fits perfect. Bowties are traditional, but any shape works (ovals, squares, triangles, etc...). Use an all weather glue and the repair will out last the deck. Once sanded the repair will blend and add a nice character. I might even use a contrasting wood such as teak and add a little more character. Filling with epoxy would work, but it would look like a filled hole, unless you are painting the deck, and then in that case simple wood bondo would work as well and be easier to use and finish.

    John

  14. #14
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    John, I figure that there are at least 500 nail holes to fill. Plugs would simply take too much time. What is "wood bondo"?

    By the way, I will be staining the deck with a clear stain (Sikkens).

  15. #15
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    Frank,

    500 holes is quite a bit but some bamboo skewers could make it go decently fast...maybe....
    Crown Molding: cut, cope, cuss, caulk, chill....

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