Review Of DAP Plastic Wood Professional Wood Filler

by Darwin Hall

DAP Plastic Wood Professional Wood Filler

I’d thought I’d talk to you today about a product I began using after my normal wood filler I use on projects was unavailable.

Like most people, I stick to a product if I like it well enough!

With that said, the job I’m working on is filling a bunch of door jamb strike areas that have been mortised out, then sanding them, and finally chiseling out correct mortises to match the door knobs and installing new strike plates.

The doors are basically custom fitted to the old jambs in the house.  A few of the door knob strikes are higher than the actual strike plate holes.  So I need to fill the old holes and redo all the latch strikes so all doors close properly.

I’ve had decent experience with other fillers, but most of them get hard if you purchase them in a plastic tube.  It’s like, once the tip hits the air, the tube is done if you don’t use all!

Most wood fillers on the market all claim that their products can be sanded (true), drilled (sometimes true), and is strong enough that it will hold nails and screws (usually not true).

So I looked around the paint aisle, and found DAP Plastic Wood in a natural color.  The first thing I noticed was that the label was upside-down.  I just figured the guy at the plant forgot to get coffee and breakfast that morning, while half sleep, hungry, and put the labels in the wrong way.

Once I got home, I took another look at the label see see the specs on application, temp, etc.  You’re supposed to store the can upside-down!  The label is in the correct position 😉 .  I then imagined the reasoning for the flip-flop.

The heavier ingredients of the filler sink to the bottom of the can, and thus, the folks at DAP want you to mix everything together thoroughly to get the best out of their product.  Yeah, that’s the ticket!

See also:  Review of DAP DRYDEX Joint Compound

Rest-assured; the directions are also printed upside down for easy reference while you’re working.  The manufacturer recommends you test the filler on a small, inconspicuous area before going H.A.M. — if you plan on staining it.

There are about seven door latch strikes I’m going to use this on.  This project will really test this wood filler out — After it dries, I’ll be sanding it, chiseling it, drilling through it, and painting it.

I began by stirring the product.  I threw on my rubber gloves and used a simple wood shim to mix things up a bit.  I taped off the area I’m working on with blue painter’s tape.

I then applied DAP’s wood plastic with a 1 ½-inch metal putty knife.  The main thing to remember is to start in the middle of the deepest hole — in this case, the latch strike hole and old screw holes.  I gave it a hard press of filler in these areas, then let I it dry.

taped off door strike

I taped the area off first

Applying wood filler to hole

First layer of wood filler in door jamb

First layer of wood filler

Second layer of wood filler added

Second layer added

A good idea at this point is cleaning off excess putty from the putty knife.  It’s better to do this as soon as you finish because the stuff will harden, making it difficult to clean.  Put the lid back on so the fumes won’t be so over-powering, and so the product won’t dry out.  If it does become dry or stiff, you can thin it by adding a small amount of acetone.

The directions say to let the filler dry for 20 minutes, but for the size of the holes I covered, its more like an hour and 20 minutes between applications.  After it dried, I added another coat of wood filler and also let it dry.  What I want to do is build up the filler; adding material slightly above the surface of the wood for sanding it down later.

You need to open a few nearby windows because the smell is very strong; if it makes you feel dizzy, get more outside air in the work area.

Sanding, chiseling, and drilling the wood filler

I ended up letting the plastic wood harden overnight.

Now, it’s time to put this product to the test.  The first thing I do is sand the area down, leaving the painter’s tape intact.  When sanding, I concentrated on the high spots, letting the sand paper do it’s job.

sanding door jamb latch mortise

I periodically felt the patch to see if it was getting level with the rest of the door jamb surface.  Once it was level and the tape started to get sanded off, I stopped to check the work again.  Satisfied, I began to tear the tape off.

I was pleasantly surprised at how easily the tape came off without taking chunks of wood filler off, too.  After removing all the tape from the latch strikes, there was slightly high areas under the previously taped surfaces.

I then sanded those parts flush with the surface of the jamb, down to bare wood.  Next, I taped off the area again to prime it with latex-based primer.  Primer is a precaution I use just in case the Plastic Wood starts to fragment as I’m chiseling and drilling through it.

sanded wood filler

sanded door jamb

chiseling a door strike

It curls, just like real wood!

door jamb wood and filler combo

I marked the jamb with a pencil outline of the strike plate.  I then used a medium width chisel to remove material.  I have to say when I was working the chisel, I noticed that the wood filler acted almost just like wood.  The shavings curled in the same way wood does.  I also like the fact that you don’t have to go in the direction of grain.

black door latchI did notice if you place deep gouges in the putty, it isn’t dry in the middle (after a full day of drying!).  The filler stays malleable — which is a good thing — because it needs flex in it, for the way wood expands and contracts.  “Drilling into it is the same as wood, too” I thought as I pre-drilled pilot holes for the latch screws.

The product isn’t gritty, just as it is described, reminds you of plastic or clay when working with it.  Plus, it can be stained or painted, adding to it’s usefulness.  This is a great product.  I recommend it.

I give DAP’s Professional Wood Filler a 4 out of 5 stars, only because it wasn’t completely dry in the middle of the strike… could be from humidity, etc.

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