Woodworking is an interesting craft that has a wide range of things that needs to be understood by professionals, beginners, and DIY enthusiasts’ when embarking on any project. Having the technique and skills, right tools, and the ability to saw, smoothen, and shape wooden materials bring about a lot of satisfaction.

Wood filler and wood glue are some of the things that you will come across when dealing with wood projects. They are vital elements in woodworking thus the need to understand when and where to use them. Most people tend to confuse the two and are likely to use them interchangeably without knowing the distinction between the wood filler and wood glue.

Wood filler

A wood filler is a material used to repair scratches and gouges in wood surfaces before finishing. It is designed to be used indoors as it does expand along with the wood when it is exposed to the elements on the outside. The wood filler is made from fibers and sawdust that are well blended in a wood binder. The nature of the wood filler and consistency allows it to harden. However, it tends to crack, shrink, and dry up easily when exposed to the sun.

Wood fillers are available in different ranges. The water-based fillers are applied after staining and meant for indoor use only. Given that they are not resilient and very strong, they are not recommended for use in high traffic areas. The solvent-based wood fillers help in repairing any kind of wood damage. This type of wood filler is applicable for both indoors and outdoors use but will require to refinish the material once it is applied.

It is very easy to use a wood filler. First, it is recommended that the surface being repaired is well cleaned with no loose particles. Sanding the surface as well and removing the dust is also advisable. When enough wood filler is pressed in the affected areas, the excess can be scrapped, although it is ideal to leave a little extra to avoid making the surface very smooth.

Woodworkers should understand that the wood filler does not act as a structural material replacement. Depending on the extent of the wood damage, there are instances where the wood filler cannot help especially when the integrity of the wood structure is compromised. With such cases, replacement of the broken materials should be done.

Water-based filler
– Applied after staining and meant for indoor use only
– Not recommended for use in high traffic areas.

Solvent-based wood filler
– Helps in repairing any kind of wood damage
– Applicable for both indoors and outdoors use
– Requires to refinish the material once it is applied.

Wood glue

Wood glue is an adhesive that adheres to the wood and helps in creating bonds between wood pieces. It is worth noting that not all kinds of glue can perfectly perform this function, thus the need to get the right wood glue.

The wood glue is used in places of nails due to its easy application and requires no extra use of tools and effort such as hammers. It does not also require painting to cover up like in the cases where nails and screws are used.

Wood glue

Wood glue is multifunctional and can be used for a wide range of activities from repairing cracks to joining joints. There are various types of wood glue available in the industry where you can choose whichever suits the project and the activity at hand. Wood glue can be used outdoors without any problems.

As much the wood glue is safe to use, it is important to stay cautious and be on the lookout for toxicity reports. Also, ensuring that the area where the activities are being conducted is well ventilated, is ideal to prevent inhalation of dangerous fumes.

It is further important to note that the wood glue is not well-favored in an extremely hot climate. In any case, you are working at an extremely hot temperature, there is a need to cover the wood glue with something that is weather-resistant for it to be effective.

Comparison between the wood filler and wood glue

Although the wood filler and wood glue perform the same tasks, there are notable differences between the two items.

Wood filler Wood glue
Made from a blend of sawdust and fibers An adhesive made from epoxy
Suitable for indoor useSuitable for both indoors and outdoor use            
Requires seal on top of it Does not necessarily require a seal as it is adhesive
Suitable for all environments and temperatures Does not sit well in hot temperature areas and requires cover for it to be effective
It does not expand and tends to break when the wood expands or contracts Expands along with the wood when exposed to elements
Does not have an odor and requires no masking of the odor Easily detected by the strong odor which might not be suitable for everyone. Masking is required by some people.
It is not waterproof hence higher chances of shrinking and cracking when exposed It is waterproof thus no chances of shrinking or cracking when exposed
Dries fast Takes a little longer to dry

The wood filler and wood glue can easily be used indoors without a hassle as the latter works indoors and outdoors as well. The two items also come in different ranges where the user can choose between various variants for their projects or the activities at hand.


As a woodworker, be either professional, beginner, or DIYers, it is crucial to have wood fillers and wood glue in your cabinet. It is also important to understand the differences between the two and to know when and where to use them. As outlined in the article, both the wood filler and wood glue perform the same basic function but differs in features and uses.

The wood filler works best indoors while the wood glue can be used for both indoors and outdoor purposes. Other aspects such as expansion, drying time, need for a finish or not, odor, nature of the holes, scratches, and places to be repaired determine whether to use the wood filler or wood glue. The greatest achievement in woodworking is knowing the differences between the two and knowing when and where to use either.