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Home » Sanding & Finishing » fill nail holes in reclaimed wood flooring?

Anything related to sanding or finishing.
4/20/2012 12:18:59 AM

steve e
steve e
Posts: 22
We are about to finish some mixed red/white oak flooring milled from (dry, this time) reclaimed lumber. There are some nail holes from the original beams that are black around the edges. We'll be finishing with Loba Impact Oil in a 50/50 mix of white and transparent. The nail holes add character and tend to be in clusters. When the flooring went in we worked with the installer to get a good distribution of these--not too dense.

We have a few options-- leave them un-filled, fill with wood filler (installer uses Zar), fill with a clear epoxy, or fill with a died epoxy (like System 3).

I'm a bit concerned about leaving them un-filled because of the potential for collecting dirt.

I did a test on a board with some of the Zar and it takes the Loba pretty well--but I wonder what it will look like inside a black ring.

Dark or clear epoxy might be best but it could be pretty labor intensive to fill them all.

Any thoughts?

Thanks!
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4/20/2012 1:11:19 AM

petesfloors
petesfloors
Posts: 99
Have you tried coloring the wood patch with different pigments? Universal tinting colors can be mixed to make a good match.
I think the holes should be filled,too. We have used epoxy, also. We use epoxy mixed with wood flour to thicken it and color with epoxy resin color. Wood flour is just edger dust made by sanding with 80 or 100 grit sandpaper. You may get an acceptable color using oak wood flour mixed with epoxy with no color added. Mix twice as much of the oak flour as the volume of the epoxy so it is like peanut butter. You can use 5 minute epoxy or slow hardening epoxy, just mix small batches.The problem with epoxy is that you will get shiny spots with the oil type finish.

The problem a wood patch like Zar is that it takes a long time to dry when the nail hole is deep and a large diameter. Most water based fillers shrink when drying, epoxy doesn't. Because of this you may need to fill the large nail holes twice. It takes more work to fill reclaimed lumber.
Since we like to protect the wood with a hard film like Glitsa, the epoxy doesn't look shiny, the satining agent of the final coat evens out the gloss over the whole floor, whether you like satin or matte. Pete
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4/20/2012 10:05:00 AM

steve e
steve e
Posts: 22
Haven't tried tinting the patch (yet). Yes I'd rather these holes be filled black than oak color per se. Good point about epoxy and shine. I've got plenty of scrap pieces to experiment on.

Thanks for your help.
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4/20/2012 10:49:34 AM

johannes
johannes
Posts: 417
Steve,

The idea with reclaimed flooring is that you don't mask imperfections. You rather accentuate/enhance them, so using black filler/patch will just do that. Right choice!
Wood colored patch looks poor in a black iron stained nail-hole. Don't use epoxy, too shiny with penetrating oil.

Johannes.
edited by johannes on 4/20/2012
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4/20/2012 11:06:46 AM

David Harrison
David Harrison
Moderator
Posts: 447
I have always thought that filling any of these imperfections in reclaimed wood with 3M clear epoxy does not take away or add any additional unknown visuals.......the clear epoxy simply enhances the beauty of these imperfections......
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4/20/2012 11:31:04 AM

steve e
steve e
Posts: 22
Since we're finishing it with oil and not polyurethane or wax, I am somewhat concerned about the final sheen. I saw a post about someone using coffee grounds mixed with epoxy. Anyone done something like that?

http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?112154-Reclaimed-Wood-amp-Nail-Holes
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4/20/2012 12:48:30 PM

TDMAC
TDMAC
Posts: 1349
Filling with Wood Wise black powder ( water mix ) might be the best bet!! It dries nice and sands great!! We filled some open knots on a walnut floor and looked super!
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4/20/2012 12:51:23 PM

Cort Dunlap
Cort Dunlap
Moderator
Posts: 59
That stuff is like black concrete! Looks great on Walnut and any other rustic floors with nice black knots. The knot brown, is a little light colored though.

TDMAC wrote:
Filling with Wood Wise black powder ( water mix ) might be the best bet!! It dries nice and sands great!! We filled some open knots on a walnut floor and looked super!
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4/20/2012 3:33:35 PM

steve e
steve e
Posts: 22
Woodwise (mineral streak black) looks like it would be great for nail holes. Do you think it would be too dark for the occasional oak knot? They also make "knot brown" color but there really aren't that many knots to be filled. Just nail holes. Is there much of a shine to the woodwise or is it pretty matte? (my preference, since the floors will be matte)
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4/20/2012 5:16:50 PM

steve e
steve e
Posts: 22
Unfortunately Gallaher's (that carries woodwise) doesn't carry black--just oak, maple and cherry. The local hardware store suggested Devcon expoxy that comes in black. ??
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4/21/2012 2:58:05 PM

Jason Vivash
Jason Vivash
Posts: 113
I've been experimenting with this same thing for a few years and have been using the hardwax oils as well. One thing I have found is that when we use a lighter colored filler and rely on the oil to color it, eventually the color washes or wears from the filler (several months) and fades or returns to original color. So I like to use a filler colored close to desired end result. Ive tried many fillers and always go back to Bondo. The best system I ever had was the Puddy Buddy kit I bought in Denver 2006 Show. Unfortunately that guy disappeared. He had a dozen pigments you could add to bondo to colour it. Now I use the black pigment additive used in the epoxy system to color bondo. You can play with different colored bondo (gold, grey) and different colored hardener (blue red clear) to achieve different variations of black. I have finally ordered some samples of the Mohalk Blendall powders that apparently can be added to Bondo to color it, I'm hoping it works. Bondo is inexpensive, dries in 20 min, bonds to anything including urethane. Sand and scrapes great. Gotta try it guys!!!
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4/21/2012 3:01:09 PM

Jason Vivash
Jason Vivash
Posts: 113
Here is a link to Tinting body filler
http://www.woodweb.com/knowledge_base/Tinting_body_filler.html
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4/21/2012 4:01:21 PM

steve e
steve e
Posts: 22
I got a small container of woodwise patch in ebony, and compared it with the woodwise filler in walnut that my installer has. Tried them both on some nail holes, sanded down, and added some oil. We like the black better, but can't find it in sufficient quantity soon enough for this install. So we'll try tinting the walnut filler with black transtint dye. Installer planning to apply this after the first / rough sanding.

Transtint web page says its incompatible with linseed oil but can be added to the wood first, and then linseed oil applied after drying so I guess we'll be ok.
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4/21/2012 5:43:57 PM

Jeff
Jeff
Posts: 314
I wonder how linseed oil will react with the Loba Oil?
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4/21/2012 6:03:40 PM

steve e
steve e
Posts: 22
From what I can tell (and smell) loba has linseed oil in it.
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4/22/2012 1:11:57 PM

Jason Vivash
Jason Vivash
Posts: 113
Linseed oil is the main component of Loba Oil. I attended a Loba Seminar a few months ago.
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4/23/2012 12:40:46 PM

Scott Tarpinian
Scott Tarpinian
Posts: 35
I prefer not to fill nail holes in reclaimed, and all my customers so far have agreed. It's why they wanted that wood in the first place, so they could see all the character. None have complained about dirt getting in the hail holes over time, and I haven't seen that either when I've gone back after a few years.
If you have to fill, I've used Cal-Tint, a universal tinting colorant, added to Woodwise walnut filler, to fill black knot holes. It looks great.
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4/26/2012 1:50:27 AM

steve e
steve e
Posts: 22
FWIW we ended up filling most of the nail holes with black-tinted walnut filler, the knots with walnut, and a few spots where boards met and had slight gaps or cracks with the oak filler. Oiled it with 2 parts transparent and 1 part white, and it worked out great. If anything, the filled nail holes look a bit like nails, as the are a dark gray but not totally black and slightly different sheen from the blackened area surrounding it. Just finished this afternoon, but really liking what we're seeing! My wife actually did a cartwheel on it a couple hours ago. Understandable given the ordeal we went through to get decent reclaimed wood flooring.
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