How Long Does It Take For Wood Putty To Dry?

Wood can decay and develop cracks due to factors like rain, temperature fluctuations, UV radiation, humidity, and insects. Therefore, you should use wood putty to fix these issues in your wooden furniture.

But how long does it take for wood putty to dry? Well, different types of wood putty dry at different rates. Nitrocellulose-based wood putty typically dries in 10-30 minutes. Oil-based wood putty takes about 240 to 360 minutes. However, a water-based wood putty needs 60- 180 minutes to dry.

In this article, we’ll discuss the time range within which wood putty dries completely. Additionally, we will talk about the properties, uses, and proper application of wood putty. So, let’s dive in!

Wood Putty: Composition and Properties

Wood Putty

Wood putty is a thick, paste-like substance that you can use to fix cracks or dents in wooden things like furniture. Wood putty is a blend of various elements like.

  • Polyvinyl alcohol
  • An emulsifying liquid
  • An initiator
  • pH adjusting agent
  • A binder
  • A filler
  • Deionized water
  • Mixing monomers.

According to a research paper, wood putty contains different types of polyethylene, such as polypropylene and polyvinyl chloride. The polyethylene in wood putty makes it resistant to atmospheric and biological agents.

Basic Reasons Wood Can Develop Cracks

Basic Reasons Wood Can Develop Cracks

Wood can develop cracks and deformations over time due to various environmental factors such as:

  1. Rainfall
  2. Humidity
  3. Fungal growth
  4. Algae infestation
  5. UV rays
  6. Temperature changes
  7. Activity of wood-boring insects.

Thus, you should use high-quality wood putty. Wood putty can help you fix the cracks on wooden surfaces and increase its durability due to its versatile characteristics.

Below, we have listed the multiple benefits of using wood putty.

  1. Wood putty expands as the wood contracts and contracts as the wood expands.
  2. It is resistant to weathering and leaching.
  3. It is not toxic.
  4. Wood putty is easily removable.
  5. Once it dries, you can easily paint over it.
  6. You don’t need to use additional protectors or sealants.
  7. Wood putty is easy to spread and apply.
  8. It sticks well to gaps and creates a strong bond with the wood.

Wood Putty Drying Time: How Long Does It Take To Dry Properly?

Once you have applied wood putty, it is important to let it dry properly. Afterward, you can go ahead and sand, stain, or paint over it. If you try to work on wood putty that hasn’t dried completely, it can lead to more defects.

Wood Putty Drying Time

According to a study, sanding wet wood putty can actually uncover small natural imperfections like wormholes or edges. So, you will need to do more work to fix them.

The drying time for wood putty can vary. Research performed by a student from Western Carolina University claims that the time it takes for wood putty to dry depends on various factors:

  • Temperature
  • The specific type of putty
  • Humidity

The Specific Type Of Putty

There are three types of wood putty available in the market. Let’s have a look at each of them in a nutshell.

Specific Type Of Putty

1. Wood putty made from a nitrocellulose binder.

This wood putty is composed of nitrocellulose, synthetic resins, solvents, plasticizers, and additives. Nitrocellulose-based putty can dry within 10 to 30 minutes under normal conditions. However, if you apply a thin, even layer of nitrocellulose-based putty, it will dry within 10 minutes.

2. Wood putty is made with water as the main solvent

This type of wood putty is user-friendly, spreads smoothly, and effectively fills imperfections without shrinking. It dries quickly compared to wood putty made with oil binders. Plus, it provides you with a smooth, hard finish.

However, it requires a bit more time to dry compared to nitrocellulose-based putty. Generally, water-based wood putty dries within 60 to 180 minutes.

3. Wood putty made from oil binders

It is the most common type of putty used on high-end furniture. The time it takes for wood putty containing oil to dry completely depends on how much linseed oil is mixed in with the varnish.

If there is a higher proportion of linseed oil, it will take more time to dry. Typically, you can expect it to dry fully in about 240 to 360 minutes.

How Can You Quicken The Drying Process Of Wood Putty?

If you have applied oil-based or water-based wood putty to your wooden furniture, it is best to let it dry for a minimum of 120 to 360 minutes. However, if you don’t want to wait that long, you can try the tips we have provided below.

How Can You Quicken The Drying Process Of Wood Putty

You Should Work In A Warm Place

Higher temperatures can help increase the drying process of wood putty. Therefore, you should work in a warm place or under natural sunlight while working with this substance.

Use A Heat Gun

Wood putty dries faster in warmer conditions. So, you can use a heat gun to reduce the time it takes for wood putty to dry.

However, you should ensure that the heat does not damage the surface of the wood. To do this, set the heat gun at 120- 130 degrees Fahrenheit and move it in a circular motion over the putty from a safe distance.

Avoid Overfilling The Holes

Don’t use too much wood putty to cover the holes, gaps, or cracks on wood surfaces. If you overfill, it will take longer for the putty to dry. Therefore, you should apply thin and even layers of wood putty so that it dries faster.

Put Thin And Even Layers Of Wood Putty

You should spread the wood putty in even layers to cover the gaps or defects on the wooden surface.

When you do this, the consistency of the putty remains the same across the entire wooden surface. This consistency is important because wood putty dries as its solvent evaporates.

If you use a large amount of putty to fix a crack, it will take a longer time to dry. Additionally, an even coat of wood putty will stick to the wooden surfaces for a long time compared to a thick coating.

Sand The Area Gently

You can use sandpaper to lightly sand the surface of the wood after spreading a thin coating of wood putty on the wooden surface. This lets more air reach the outer layer of putty and helps it to dry more quickly.

Use A Dehumidifier

When there is a lot of moisture in the air, wood putty tends to dry more slowly. Thus, you can use a dehumidifier to keep the humidity levels low in the drying area. As a result, the wood putty will dry faster.

How Can You Apply Wood Putty Properly?

How Can You Apply Wood Putty Properly

Check out the step-by-step instructions we have provided below to learn how to apply wood putty properly so that it dries quickly.

  • Step 1: Make sure the wood surface is completely clean, dry, and free from grease, dirt, or loose wood fibers.
  • Step 2: Buy a wood putty that is appropriate for your project.
  • ●     Step 3: If the wood has small holes, you should use a narrow putty knife. For larger cracks, you should use a wider putty knife.
  • Step 4: Initially, apply the wood putty generously with the metal knife or putty knife. You can remove the excess wood putty later. This way, it is easier to sand it once it dries.
  • Step 5: If the cracks or holes are deep, you should apply multiple thin coats of wood putty. Do not apply one heavy coating of wood putty.
  • Step 6: Let the wood putty dry completely. You can also use a heat gun to decrease the time it takes to dry completely.
  • Step 7: Once the putty is fully dry, gently sand the area with P60 grit sandpaper for about 15 minutes. You must not use high-speed sanders.
  • Step 8: Use a microfiber towel to clean the sanded area.
  • Step 9: Afterward, use a high-quality brush to paint the patched area.
  • Step 10: If you use water-based paint, wait for an hour for it to dry. For oil-based paint, wait for a maximum of 22-24 hours.
  • Step 11: To protect the wooden surface and make it durable, apply a clear varnish or polyurethane using a roller.

For more information, you can watch this YouTube video.


Check out the frequently asked questions we have added below for more information on the drying times of wood putty.

Q: What should I do if the wood putty doesn’t dry properly?

If the wood putty doesn’t dry properly, it could be due to high humidity or improper application. In such cases, remove the putty and reapply it.

Q: Can I apply wood putty to cover larger cracks or dents in wood?

Wood putty is generally suitable for covering small to medium-sized dents or holes. You should use epoxy-based products or wood fillers to repair large cracks in wood.

Final Words

In conclusion, wood putty is a substance used to cover dents or small gaps in wooden surfaces. There are three main types of wood putty available, and each one of them has different drying times.

Nitrocellulose-based wood putty dries in 10-30 minutes. In contrast, water-based wood putty takes 240 to 360 minutes to dry completely. Wood putty made from an oil binder tends to dry approximately within 60 to 180 minutes.

Typically, it is advised to let wood putty dry for a whole day to ensure proper drying.