Step Preparing the Filler

buy wood filler in cans. It is neutral cream in color and very thick. Thin it with turpentine or paint thinner until it is the consistency of thick cream. Color it by adding pigments right after thinning.

Most furniture finishers like the filler to be just a shade darker than the wood stain. An unusual treatment, called the "silver fox," calls for the use of a dark stain on the wood and a white or very light colored filler. You can apply filler cither before or after you stain, depending on the result you want. If you stain afterward, you get a consistent color across the surface. If you stain before you fill, the stain will remain darker than the wood and provide an interesting texture.

Step 2: Applying the Filler After thinning and tinting the filler, brush it on the surface. Apply the first coat by brushing with the grain, and use the brush to scrub or work it into thej;revices in the surface. Now apply a second coat before the first has dried. Make this a full coat; brush across the grain, to leave a heavy coat of filler on the wood.

Step 3: Scraping Away the Excess The most difficult part of applying filler is selecting the right moment to

Wood tiller is a creamy paste which you paint over an open-grained wood to fill the grain Allow it to stand until it suddenly loses its gloss

scrape the excess filler from the surface, Wateh the filler closely. For some minutes after you stop brushing, it looks wet. Quite suddenly, it turns dull. This is your signal to start scraping, if you scrape too soon, the filler will come out of the surface. If you wait too long, the filler becomes too dry to scrape.

The scraper can be any kind of a tool with a stiff straight edge. A wide-bladed drywall knife is good. So is a stiff piece of cardboard. Work at a slight angle across the grain as you scrape, removing all of the filler you can from the surface. The idea, of course, is to leave all the filler in the rough spots on the surface.

Step 4: Burnishing the Surface When you have done all you can with the scraper, burnish the surface by rubbing across the grain with a big piece of burlap or other very rough cloth. Then allow the surface to dry overnight.

SELECTING AND No doubt about it, USING WOOD staining can be the STAINS biggest trouble maker for part-time and beginning refin-ishers. Many novices feel that there are too many kinds of stain on the market, and too many possible ways to do the job. It is difficult to know when the stain you apply is the right color, because the color changes as the stain dries. Every stain looks different on different woods. Some stains arc difficult to apply because they easily produce overlap marks; others are runny or result in uneven color when they aren't put on exactly as they should be.

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