How to fill holes in veneer project?

Ronn W

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The attached picuture is a practice veneer piece.  The goal for this finish ( ARS) is a high gloss smooth surface.  But you can wee in the pics that the wood surface has som little holes that 7 coats of ARS app;ied with a sponge brush would not fill.  I am looking for a filler that will dry clear.  A colored filler is not acceptable because, while this pattern is all one species, it could be contrasting colors and the holes tne to be at the intersection of the pieces.

I have tried Aqua Coat - it shrink  so much that it does little more that the ARS.  I could try epoxy but since I only need one drop per hole I would have a lot of waste. Don't know how small of a batch of epoxy one can mix a still get the proportions right.  I Also tried thick super glue - A little more fill but still would take lots applications. I guess I am looking for something like a putty that will dry clear.

Anyone have any ideas or products that might work?? Thanks.1454444959_IMG_20220108_1432330011.thumb.jpg.e95129123d02fccf435ed93b4a4b3546.jpg

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I mix epoxy in the nominal batch and use a plastic syringe for small repairs quite often. Yes, this wastes a bit, but I am not weighing out micro portions, but counting pumps. Time is money too. You can search here for some experiments others have done to find the most clear formulations 

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Update.  I bought some Devon 5 minute clear epoxy.  It comes with a long mixing nozzle which leaves a lot of epoxy wasted inside the nozzle and the bottle really is q uite small. so I leaft the mixing nozzle off and I Could still squeeze out equal parts of resin and hardner.  Mixed it on a piece of white paper and applied it to a practice piece (pics at the top of this tread) that already had several coats of ARS on it.  It took about 4 ours to harden.  As desired, it did not shrink.  When I tried to sand it down it let go from the finish.  Actually I found that I could snap the bubble of epoxy off with my fingernail.  I guess I should not be surprised. OK so I learned that it does not work on top of a finish.  I just now glued and clamped a piece of burl veneer to a piece of plywood and, when that is ready, I will try the epoxy on bare wood.

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I did a test on some burl.  Yes, it smoothed the surface nicely to the touch.  I am putting some finish on it to see how it looks when finished.  The next a part of the problem is to do something about the fact that I can see the substrate and/or veneer glue through some of the larger holes.  So i have to figure out how to change the color of what I see.  I could dye the subtrate with transtint - but will the veneer glue (PVA) still work properly?  Can I add dye to the epoxy? if so, what type of dye? Try to push a little Timber Mate fille in the hole before the epoxy?  Use a felt tip pen or a pencil to darken the bottom of the hole?

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I think I'd use dye, paint, or a marker to make the bottom of the hole darker before the epoxy. Dyeing the epoxy would work as well but that could stain the burl veneer. My thought would be to make the hole almost black so it appears to look like a bark inclusion.

I think you could dye the substrate before applying the veneer and the pva glue would stick to it just fine. The trouble is you'd likely see the glue on top of the dyed substrate.

Could you try and cut a tiny piece of veneer and fill the hole with that? With the nature of burl I doubt filling the hole with some veneer would be noticeable.

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Woodturners use epoxy to fill larger defects pretty frequently.  As Ross suggests dry coffee grounds (expended or fresh) is one possible mix in.  Sawdust is also frequently used.  You can add color with dye as well, and ground material like turquoise is also popular for turned pieces.  

I did this once on a piece with a 2" knot hole.  I went with expended coffee grounds.  One observation I made is that while the epoxy will sand smooth, the bits of coffee grounds poking up did not.  But I was sanding a 2" spot to p1200, so the difference might not be striking on a tiny spot sanded to p220.

You can also color the bottom and fill with clear epoxy.  When viewed from above the fill will look colored, but if the fill is deep/wide enough to be viewed at an angle I think you will see that there is a layer of clear material on top of something colored.

When I did my one fill I don't think the finish really formed that much of a film on the epoxy (Osmo Polyx).  But the result looks fine.

My suggestion is dye to make it look like a pitch pocket or something.  But keep in mind my limited personal experience.

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