DIY Home Improvement, Remodeling & Repair Forum > DIY Home Improvement > Carpentry and Woodworking > Who should fill the nail holes?

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Old 12-09-2007, 10:31 AM  
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Default Who should fill the nail holes?

This came up during a conversation with a fellow carpenter and, without disclosing my point of view just yet, I'd like to know what you think. Some carpenters insist on filling nail holes with wood putty before calling the job complete, while others don't consider that a part of their job at all. Of course, some will fill the nail holes if you want them to.

Do you think it's should be the carpenter's job or should it be left to the painter or wood finisher?

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Old 12-09-2007, 05:29 PM  
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Default OOOOOOOhhh....

Tough question....hmmmm.....
If it will be painted...I let the painter do it. If it will be stained....I let the painter do it.
I already trust my you.
That should be the question.
I always caulk my trim to the wall or ceiling if it is to be painted. It makes the job look much better when you have a wavy wall. Usually let the painter finish up after things have settled a bit.
The painter always tells me which caulk they will be using, or supplies me with it. Always check the dates on your caulk also, the big box stores have some pretty out of date stuff sometimes.
This can have a problem later with adhesion.

I am a wood worker, not a painter. I tend to let the professionals be responsible for their part of the job. I would not want to be responsible for the finish if there is a problem. I once had a guy use silicone caulk for paint-able finish.. ..any questions.

We let him go when he searched the trailer for the board stretcher. You know...the red one with the pulley.

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Old 12-09-2007, 09:07 PM  
Daryl in Nanoose
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Let the painter do it so it's done right. I do all my own finishing work and painting and even if the home owner is going to paint I still do my own filling and caulking but in most new homes around here the painter takes care of it.
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Old 12-11-2007, 10:30 PM  
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Educator wins the prize (if there was one ). It should be decided between the carpenter and the contractee, and written into the contract.

If the wood is to be stained and varnished, the finisher most likely has his own method and preferred material. I, for instance, get all but the last coat of varnish on before using wax sticks to fill the nail holes. I've also used spackle before sanding and staining. Unlike most wood putties (despite their claims), spackle really does stain just like wood!

If the wood is to be painted it's more a matter of distribution of labor - i.e. who gets paid to do it. Whether the painter or the carpenter agrees to fill the nail holes, it should be agreed upon in the contract and priced accordingly. After all, it does take time to fill all those little nail holes.

As for making sure all the nails are properly set, any good carpenter should make sure every nail is at least 1/16" below the surface, like I always do.
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Old 02-06-2008, 11:49 AM  
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Default Carpenters shouldn't paint, painters shouldn't do carpentry.

My experience is mostly in high end construction in the Midwest. Maybe it's different depending on the location, but generally, the carpenter is making a good deal more per hour than a painter. This axom holds true for the apprentices and laborers who would be given this work on a job site. The more skilled labor should be devoted to tasks that promote profitability, especially in today's competetive marketplace.
I can already hear all of the decorators nationwide complaining that I just called their profession unskilled, so let me clarify. I know full well the gambit of knowledge that is required for fine finishes. If a decorator is skilled in, say, faux finishes or wall paper application, chances are his/her boss will not set him to filling nail holes, sanding, stripping, or other labor intensive task that doesn't require a vast amount of experience to be done well.
Furthermore, on natural wood finishes, good decorators will first stain the wood, then fill the holes with a putty that matches the color, not hope that whatever putty he uses will stain the same as the wood, and then apply the varnish. This work then clearly falls within the realm of the painter as no carpenter should accept the liability of damaging the finish already applied to the wood.
Any carpenter should realize the importance of a good decorator on his site. They have been enhancing the appearance of our workmanship for centuries. It just so happens that filling nail holes falls squarely in the category of a fine FINISH. A carpenter shouldn't apply finishes anymore than a painter should do carpentry.

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