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I have been up and down the internet looking for a solution for this.

I have a bit of spalted maple that I want to finish in oil. It has some critter holes and a split that need to be filled. I would like to fill them with black filler but am having an issue finding something that will fill it and not seep into the surrounding wood pores.

I have tried coffee and CA glue, but it seemed coarse to me, and it spills over into the other parts of the piece. Grinding the grinds to make them mades the CA flow all over the surface of the work. PC-Woody, which might take some colours well did not take black mica or charcoal without needing way too much.

Does anyone know a good black filler I can use that wont run into the rest of my project? I'm not looking for much here just a clean demarcation from the wood to the black filler; shiny or matte does not matter.

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Probably the best all-around filler is epoxy. Most epoxies will dry to an off-white color but they can be tinted to better match the wood. Depending on the texture you are going for, there are a variety of additives that can be mixed in to change the texture and composition.

West System epoxies are pretty common and a lot of woodworkers use them, though any two-part epoxy will do the job.

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Very related previous Question: Large hole filler products, what is available. I think my answer there should be all you need to move forward with testing out epoxy for your application.

Epoxy will seep into adjacent areas at any sort of liquid consistency. You can mix it up thicker as mentioned in the link above, to any consistency from peanut butter to a thick paste, but the thicker you make it the harder it is to ensure you have no voids or pockets within the material or at the edges, which can be revealed when you plane, pare or sand the filler flush with the surrounding wood.

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  • Of course, if finishing reveals a void, you can simply mix up more epoxy and fill the new void. – FreeMan Jul 5 '16 at 19:14
  • @FreeMan, that's true, but I've found it hard to always ensure the filler-in-filler is seamless (depends on how fussy you are how important this is, and if you're varnishing it's less critical as it won't be visible afterward). Another issue is you run the risk of over-sanding in that one spot to get it flush, while this can be worked around I think this is a good case for where prevention is better than cure. – Graphus Jul 6 '16 at 9:32
  • "prevention is better than cure" - always a true mantra. However, the illness shouldn't be fatal in this case. A pain to deal with, perhaps, but not fatal to the project. – FreeMan Jul 6 '16 at 14:14
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Apply a thin coat of clear to the edges. This will seal it, then apply the thicker coats. You can use 5 minute epoxy or mix the sealer layer a bit hot. Very thin, but enough to coat the surface.

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