Some wood patching jobs are too tough or too big for ordinary wood putty, and those tasks are best addressed with epoxy. Applying epoxy is a more involved process than is the case for wood putty or spackling paste, and in some instances (such as rot or termite damage) the cause of the damage must be addressed before the repair is made. The end result is a lasting repair that can be blended into the existing woodwork.
Examine the damaged area you intend to repair with epoxy. If the damage is due to rot or insects, probe the damaged wood with an awl or similar tool to determine the extent of the rot. Any wood you can easily penetrate must be removed.
Drill holes spaced 1 inch apart around the damaged area, using a 1/4-inch drill bit if possible. Drill the holes deeply, but not so deeply that you risk penetrating the other side of the wood or compromise the object's structure.
Mix epoxy as directed by the manufacturer, and fill the damaged area with it. Sculpt the epoxy with a putty knife.
Wait as directed by the instructions for the epoxy to dry. This is usually about half an hour, but the length of time might differ depending on the manufacturer and weather. Check the hardness of the epoxy by pressing it with your fingernail. If you can't leave much of an impression, the epoxy is hard enough to work with.
Shape and refine the epoxy with woodworking tools. Use a plane or a rasp to remove large amounts of epoxy, and files for fine shaping. Smooth out the epoxy's finish to match the surrounding wood with a hand sanding block and medium- and fine-grit sandpaper.
Return the next day to fill in the drill holes from Step 3 with wood putty. Scrape off the top of the hole with the putty knife, wait for the putty to harden, and then sand it to match the surrounding wood with the hand sanding block and sandpaper.
Tips & Warnings
- To fully blend the epoxy into the repair, you may need to repaint or otherwise refinish the wood object after the epoxy patch has been made.
Things You'll Need:
- Handheld rotary tool with abrasive brush accessory
- Drill, preferably with 1/4-inch wood bit
- Putty knife
- Woodworking files
- Hand sanding block with medium- and fine-grit sandpaper
- Wood putty
- The Family Handyman: How to Use Epoxy on Wood for Repairs
- Popular Mechanics: Home How To; Albert Jackson, et al.
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