The short answer to that question is, it depends. It depends on the type of wood you are using, its condition, and what type of finish you want to achieve.
Wood Grain Filler is used to get that smooth surface you find on quality furniture and cabinetry, like an underlayment to a fine finish. Some woods have an “open grain,” like oak and ash, that may not look smooth if just stained and top-coated and may get filled with dirt and grease.
For a painted finish, a kitchen cabinet for example, sand and clean the cabinets, apply 2-3 coats of Grain Filler with a very light sanding after each coat. Then give it a minimum of 2 coats of paint. We recommend an additional 1-2 coats of clear top coat for added protection.
If the piece is to be stained and finished with a clear top coat, apply the Grain Filler after the piece is stained, and/or a waterborne or wax-free seal coat has been applied, but before the top coat. We recommend two to three coats with a light sanding in between. Aqua Coat Wood Grain Filler can be tinted with water-soluble colorants or dyes, and can be thinned with water if desired.
Wood Putty is used to fill imperfections in the wood, like nail holes, small knots, gouges, cracks, and splits. To minimize the wood’s flaws the interior surface of the defect first needs to be as clean and as smooth as possible. Then press the putty into the hole and level the top using a putty knife. Once dry, use sandpaper to smooth the putty until even with the surrounding wood surface. Our Aqua Coat Waterborne Wood Putty is an easy-to-sand filler which can be tinted before use with Aqua Coat Waterborne Stains or Tints, or it can be stained after drying. It dries quickly, is ready to sand in 45 minutes and finish in one to two hours.
In all cases a professional wood finish first needs good surface preparation. The surface must be clean and dry (free from all dirt, oil, wax and polish), thoroughly sanded, and any dust removed with a vacuum, forced air or with a damp cloth (water).
Here’s a tip-always test your preferred finish on a sample board before using on any project. That way you can see for yourself how many coats and sandings you will need to get the finish you want.
Aqua Coat waterborne wood finishing products are all easy to use, easy to clean up, low odor and environmentally friendly.