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Old 12-26-2008, 09:17 AM   #1
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Default Filling nail holes

Years ago, I got tired of filling nail holes, and having to sand them down before priming/painting. We would fill them with spackle using a small putty knife. If the wall had any sort of texture, the spackle would obviously leave a "halo" around the filled hole. And if there were a lot of holes (picture a teenage girls room) it sucked. So I started trying to fill them by hand, using a finger to push the spackle in, and wiping it right back off. And it worked. The patches needed a spot prime, or at least 2 finish coats to stop the flashing, but no sanding. So check it out and let the bashing begin:

[YOUTUBE]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D7rkWYOLL4Y[/YOUTUBE]
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Old 12-26-2008, 09:33 AM   #2
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PWG

This technique can work pretty well. As with other of lifes situations, sometimes your finger is the best tool. It seems that with textured walls this would be the best approach maybe, because if you try to knife it, the knife chatters over the texture leaving more of a film than you want around the hole, then when you sand you are creating a large smooth spot in an otherwise textured area.

I think the biggest thing I would add to this technique is that usually when the nails are removed, there is a mini tear out around the hole that you can actually compress down into the hole as you fill. Depending on the situation, that can reduce the diameter of the hole, or act as a slight backer for the fill you add, which reduces the likelihood of dimpling. In any case, spot priming is really important because the spackle will definitely absorb paint at a different rate than the surrounding wall. No bashing here, but I am sure you won't be let down!



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Old 12-26-2008, 09:47 AM   #3
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I've been filling nail holes that way for over 20 years. Why would anyone use a knife other than a homeowner who wanted to "help" before I got there....and don't use regulars spackle either, just any of the spackle light type products that have been around since the early '80's. Thanks for the pics, but I'd have to guess that most of us do it that way.(especially with toothpaste). pd
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Old 12-26-2008, 09:50 AM   #4
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When doing new construction, at times we are dealing with thousands of holes in newly installed trim, most of which gets filled twice. At that point, the fingers take a beating and would not be the preferred tool. Also, its hard to get a clean skim on smooth surfaces with the finger method. For small scale residential repaints, fingers work just fine in alot of cases. Like most everything, its different for everyone depending on your situation.



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Old 12-26-2008, 10:22 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vermontpainter View Post
When doing new construction, at times we are dealing with thousands of holes in newly installed trim, most of which gets filled twice. At that point, the fingers take a beating and would not be the preferred tool. Also, its hard to get a clean skim on smooth surfaces with the finger method. For small scale residential repaints, fingers work just fine in alot of cases. Like most everything, its different for everyone depending on your situation.
Have you ever tried cutting a mirror profile of the trim out of a small piece of wood?

The new construction stuff I was helping on had the same trim in every house. We would have one guy go along and fill the holes in a sloppy and fast manner, and someone else would come behind with the reverse profile piece running right along the trim.

Smoothed the patching out nearly perfect.
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Old 12-26-2008, 10:29 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by dragula View Post
Have you ever tried cutting a mirror profile of the trim out of a small piece of wood?

The new construction stuff I was helping on had the same trim in every house. We would have one guy go along and fill the holes in a sloppy and fast manner, and someone else would come behind with the reverse profile piece running right along the trim.

Smoothed the patching out nearly perfect.
That would probably work well on some profiles. You would probably have to keep it fairly clean to avoid smearing it around though, and I'd guess there would still be a final sand? Interesting concept.

Most of the trim packages we see are three piece casings: flat stock, inner bead and backband, all applied seperately with different types of fasteners. In other words, the flat stock might have trim head screws that we bondo then skim, the inner bead might have tiny brads and the backband finish nails. Its hard to streamline, but I am always looking for ways...



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Old 12-26-2008, 10:38 AM   #7
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Yeah with the big fancy stuff that design wouldn't be ideal.

A final sand is still necessary with just the wood piece. I have also toyed with cutting an autobody spreader to fit the profile and attaching it behind the wood, and that worked so well that sanding wasn't necessary. The main caveat to that design is that it loaded up about every 15-20 holes, but the end result was much faster overall.

I'll try and post a pic of it.

Last edited by dragula; 12-26-2008 at 10:39 AM.. Reason: would=wood
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Old 12-26-2008, 02:15 PM   #8
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I stopped using a putty knife years ago for this.Go down and buy you a plastic bondo spreader they come in all diff sizes. I usually leave one stuck inside and ontop of my Synko spackle container.The soft plastic contours to the wall scraping the halo effect off for the most part, then use a damp tile spong that has a good flat bottom and lightly get the rest of the halo effect off.You can use the spong right after appling or you can wait until it skims over. the good thing about the plastic over the metal is that the metal tends to drag too much of the putty out of the hole as you scrape over it.
Also on spackle. There is only one make of spackle that I will use and that is Synko it cost about 22.00 per gall but well worth it, it has the finest grind that I have seen.The worst I have seen is SW, I't kind of like gritty.
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Old 12-26-2008, 02:57 PM   #9
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I use the Red Devil Lite-Weight Non-Shrinking vinyl spackle.

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Old 12-26-2008, 05:45 PM   #10
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Exactly...non shrinking lite type spackle(not really spackle). As for your finger getting sore, get some calouses. Do you paint with gloves on? Or, on your new contruction share the load. I haven't done much new const' in years but I've done 50 unit apt. buildings, but I guess us old guys had rougher hands back in the old days.
either way, sorry for the meaness of my post, but in reality the finger method is the best and quickest. Don't forget to wet you finger occasionally , it'll help glide the filler .....spit, the universal lubricant. gl, pd
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Old 12-26-2008, 06:04 PM   #11
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Exactly...non shrinking lite type spackle(not really spackle). As for your finger getting sore, get some calouses. Do you paint with gloves on? Or, on your new contruction share the load. I haven't done much new const' in years but I've done 50 unit apt. buildings, but I guess us old guys had rougher hands back in the old days.
either way, sorry for the meaness of my post, but in reality the finger method is the best and quickest. Don't forget to wet you finger occasionally , it'll help glide the filler .....spit, the universal lubricant. gl, pd
pd

To each his own. I prefer not to go through layers of skin each week and I dont ask my employees to either. The load is shared by plenty of us, and we all go home at the end of the day without fingers torn up. Its just something that we all value. And I am as old as anyone here, except Archibald!



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Old 12-26-2008, 06:18 PM   #12
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Nobody is as old as Archibald.
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Old 12-26-2008, 09:35 PM   #13
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Nobody is as old as Archibald.
EH? WHAT? Who's bold ?


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Old 12-26-2008, 09:46 PM   #14
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pd

To each his own. I prefer not to go through layers of skin each week and I dont ask my employees to either. The load is shared by plenty of us, and we all go home at the end of the day without fingers torn up. Its just something that we all value. And I am as old as anyone here, except Archibald!
But seriously,

Trim was always filled with fingers, but that was before I found Elmer's Wood filler, when we used putty. With a spackle or other similar filler, I would use a knife on a flat but still the molded shapes would be finger filled. Nothing conforms to odd shapes like skin, and old habits die hard.

We have smooth walls around these parts, so a semi flex knife is good on them. Tim's method on a texture wall is spot on.



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Old 12-26-2008, 09:55 PM   #15
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PWG

This technique can work pretty well. As with other of lifes situations, sometimes your finger is the best tool.
Do you mean your finger is your biggest tool?

I still prefer to sand the area. Build that hole up and knock it back down perfect, spot prime and paint.

As far as NC trim packs we like to putty with the same light weight spackle smooth, prime, putty again with elmers ..orange wood filler, sand and prime again. With fingers. Depending on the price of the job of course. Sometime we wont prime for the second time and shoot semi twice instead.

Last edited by NEPS.US; 12-26-2008 at 10:03 PM..
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Old 12-26-2008, 10:00 PM   #16
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Alway been a fingerer ....I like to be touch with my wood.
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Old 12-26-2008, 10:02 PM   #17
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But seriously,

Trim was always filled with fingers, but that was before I found Elmer's Wood filler, when we used putty. With a spackle or other similar filler, I would use a knife on a flat but still the molded shapes would be finger filled. Nothing conforms to odd shapes like skin, and old habits die hard.

We have smooth walls around these parts, so a semi flex knife is good on them. Tim's method on a texture wall is spot on.
Well, you know I am hesitant to reveal much proprietary information of any import in the open forum anymore, but this is can be an exception since it is a good discussion.

We are doing a rather large scale new home now that has a combination of natural fir trim elements and paint grade (S.I.) trim. We often get to do paint grade and stain grade in the same house. On paint grade we use the knives and I can tell you that it is significantly faster, I will refrain from offering a percentage because I dont want to tempt any "going rate" stragglers from plugging the numbers into their estimating as production rates, but I will say there is a significant difference between the paint grade knife work and the clear grade finger filling. Granted, the clear grade filling has many variables that the paint grade does not, but even removing those degrees of difficulty, as a straight filling exercise, we are much faster with the knives. By that I only mean that we are much faster than ourselves without the knives. In either case, we are slow, like a herd of turtles. I am trying to be very clear in my choice of words here because I do not want to ruffle any feathers with this contribution, which is intended to be meaningful. Anyone who would like to know our l.f. rates for paint v stain grade, please hesitate to ask.



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Old 12-26-2008, 10:07 PM   #18
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Well, you know I am hesitant to reveal much proprietary information of any import in the open forum anymore, but this is can be an exception since it is a good discussion.

We are doing a rather large scale new home now that has a combination of natural fir trim elements and paint grade (S.I.) trim. We often get to do paint grade and stain grade in the same house. On paint grade we use the knives and I can tell you that it is significantly faster, I will refrain from offering a percentage because I dont want to tempt any "going rate" stragglers from plugging the numbers into their estimating as production rates, but I will say there is a significant difference between the paint grade knife work and the clear grade finger filling. Granted, the clear grade filling has many variables that the paint grade does not, but even removing those degrees of difficulty, as a straight filling exercise, we are much faster with the knives. By that I only mean that we are much faster than ourselves without the knives. In either case, we are slow, like a herd of turtles. I am trying to be very clear in my choice of words here because I do not want to ruffle any feathers with this contribution, which is intended to be meaningful. Anyone who would like to know our l.f. rates for paint v stain grade, please hesitate to ask.
Should I price per hole? And how do I price for deeper holes? What about setting nails and then filling holes? Do you have a shallow hole price and a deep hole price? Who counts to holes and what do you use to measure the hole?
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Old 12-26-2008, 10:12 PM   #19
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NEPS, you should know by now that none of that matters. The going rate $0.0825/sq. ft. of floor space for filling and sanding nail holes. If the GC finds out that you are just filling and not sanding, then it is $0.0656/ sq. ft.
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Old 12-26-2008, 10:22 PM   #20
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Should I price per hole? And how do I price for deeper holes? What about setting nails and then filling holes? Do you have a shallow hole price and a deep hole price? Who counts to holes and what do you use to measure the hole?

Well hello NEPS. Welcome back, I see you finally broke the code on the parental restrictions your mom put on your computer lately.

Since you asked, as soon as the carpentry is done in a nc, we digitally photograph every trim element in the entire house and then download them into a compression automator program (c.a.p. tm) that is peripheral to our estimating software package that houses the original "from prints" estimate. It essentially counts the holes for us and spits out a fat prep number. It does catch unset nails, double shots and blanks so we are paid for everything. With this estimating method, the only error is of the human variety, i.e. we miss something in the photography. We carry a prep line item from the original prints and then compare to what the c.a.p. produces when carpentry is complete and then we submit a c.o. for any variation. This is how we are covered for those situations where "oops guys you were suppose to blind nail that 4000 l.f. of t&g..." Its funny, I am a real dinosaur in some ways but then pretty techie in other ways. I know you know I am not kidding about this. It is a proprietary program but I know there are guys here who can figure out how to write that code and then spend a few years debugging it before rolling it out on stage.



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