When you're a renovator, and especially a renovator in old homes, sooner or later you will come to a point where you need to fill a void where regular old wood filler just won't cut it. Whether you encounter a gap that is just a little too wide, need to fix something that has had the corner broken off of it, run into an old door knob hole or lock mortise that needs to go away, or find an old hinge mortise location that must disappear, there comes a point where regular old wood filler would just sag, crack, or shrink and fall out. The areas where a good quality two part wood epoxy is necessary are just too numerous to list.
In our projects the need for a good quality wood filler came up early and has continued to come up quite often over the years. I found a great product for this many years ago and have stuck with it through thick and thin as my epoxy wood filler of choice. I've filled doors, windows, molding, furniture, siding, dings, cuts, gouges, dings, and just about anything larger than a simple finish nail hole.
"What is this miracle product" you ask? Well, I'll tell you, it's Abatron WoodEpox. While it may not quite be a miracle, it sure isn't your run of the mill wood putty. In all of my uses for it, WoodEpox has thoroughly served my needs on any project I've used it on.
I first learned of this wood epoxy from Abatron's advertisement in Old House Journal magazine back in 2003. The project window they were restoring looked to be in similar shape (from a rot perspective) to one of ours, so I figured it was worth a shot. This was long before I even realized the benefits of a two part epoxy and that not all wood fillers were created equal. If you're reading this and you don't yet know the difference, it's time to learn.
A normal wood filler is made of a mixture wood particles and essentially a glue, but is water based. The evaporation of the water is what allows the wood filer to dry hard, but the problem is the water evaporation process also allows the wood filler to shrink and crack as it dries. This can also allow your filler or patch to fail and fall out of where you placed it. Two part epoxy, on the other hand, consists of two chemical compounds that are stable on their own, but activate when combined and thoroughly mixed. This activation of the two chemicals is what causes the epoxy to harden. What you're left with is a shrink free, sturdy, and predictable filled application that won't fail and can span large gaps.
If you place an order for the Abatron WoodEpox, you'll receive two same size tubs of part A and part B of the WoodEpox. One part has a dark tan color to it, and the other a bright white color. Abatron marks one lid with a red dot so you can easily identify which is which without opening the container.
Applying and working with WoodEpox is quite easy and straight forward. You'll need to wear latex gloves (this stuff can be seriously sticky), but otherwise nothing too special is required. Just open the two containers and pull out equal sized lumps in either gloved hand. Make sure you don't put the gloved you pulled the first lump out into the second container. If you do, you're just asking for problems. Once you have your two lumps, just mash them together in one of your hands.
Begin to knead the two lumps together to fully combine them. You will see the two distinct colors slowly turn to a mild tan color.
Keep kneading to be sure you've fully mixed everything together until the color is completely consistent.
The final step is to apply the WoodEpox to the area or areas you are trying to fill. I make sure I make a little over what I think I will need because it is much better to overfill the void than underfill. No matter how what, you can always take material away after it dries. Just work the epoxy in with your fingers and get it roughly to the shape you need it to be.
After allowing about a 24-48 hour cure time (depending on thickness and weather), the epoxy is ready to be sanded, cut, or otherwise shaped. Don't try to do it too soon or it will just gum up your sanding discs and might just pull free from the work. But as the website says, only fully cured Abatron WoodEpox can be "painted, stained, wood-grained, sawed, nailed, planed, sanded, carved, and machined like wood." In the photo below you can see how nice and smooth I was able to sand the filled hinge mortise location. That hing location was over-drilled and badly rotted, now it's as good as new.
I had a situation a few years ago where I had to use another brand of two part epoxy because I ran out of the WoodEpox and was in a time sensitive bind. The stuff I used in its place smelled horrible (we had to leave the house while it dried), was hard to sand, and still doesn't quite look like it should today. I learned my lesson and will make sure I stick with the stuff I know from this point forward.
I even used the Abatron WoodEpox to fix the baseboards over our neighbor's house after she watched Ollie and he decided to snack on a few baseboard corners. After I sanded and painted them, she said they were the best looking baseboard corner in her house.
If you're looking for a good quality two part wood epoxy to use in your projects, look no further than Abatron's WoodEpox. It should serve your needs for years to come. And if you are fixing something that has really rotted away, Abatron has companion products that work with WoodEpox that will also harden up the soft and rotted wood.
Did you enjoy reading this post? Want to learn more about our first-hand experiences with other tools, devices or items used throughout our renovation? If so, check out our complete list of product reviews in our Toolbox Tuesday section.
Note: We weren't compensated for this review. We simply want to share good products when we see them, and hope that learning from our mistakes can help save you time, money and frustration.