How Long Does Wood Putty Take to Dry? (& Does It Harden?)

How Long Does Wood Putty Take to Dry? (& Does It Harden?)

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Even the best woodworkers make mistakes, but they know how to get over these missteps and still finish their desired project.

But what can you do to fix your mistakes? In some circumstances, wood putty is the perfect solution. This article will talk all about wood putty, so keep on reading to find out how your project could be saved next time.

How Long Does Wood Putty Take to Dry?

Different putties take different amounts of time to dry. Alongside this, there are a lot of factors that can impact drying time – we’ll discuss these more later in this article. Also, if you want to try and speed up the drying time of your putty, there are some tips in this article as well.

With this in mind, on average the drying time of this substance is between 2 – 8 hours to completely dry. The curing time can be a lot longer.

Sample Wood Putty Drying Times

In this table, we’ve laid out the drying times of some of the most popular and widely used wood putty products.

BrandDrying / Curing Time
Ever Build – Linseed Oil PuttyCures in 2 – 4 days
Osmo Wood Putty30 – 60 minutes
Evo-Stik Natural Oil PuttyCures in 7 -21 days
Soudal PuttyCures in 14 – 21 days

How Long Should You Wait for Wood Putty to Dry Before Painting Over It?

Once your putty is completely dry and cured, it is fine to paint. You don’t want to paint this substance before it’s cured because it might still have moisture within it and it will still need to complete its transformation into a stable material.

Painting before this substance has cured can cause paint to bubble and blister. Alongside this, if the putty is not ready to be painted, the finish might not be as crisp because the paint won’t apply to it as the manufacturer intended.

There is a difference between when a product has dried and when it has cured. When the moisture has left a putty it has dried. When the product has fully completed its chemical reactions, it has cured, which can take a significantly larger amount of time.

Does Wood Putty Harden?

Wood putty doesn’t harden, and this is one of the main reasons people use it. Wood changes shape over time and moves depending on temperature and humidity. Because this substance doesn’t form a completely rigid shape, it can move, expand, and contract with the changing shape of the wood. For this reason, it’s great to use on outdoor projects.

Most wood putties are oil-based, this prevents some moisture from getting completely removed and allows the putty to retain some flexibility.

4 Things Affecting Wood Putty Drying Time

The drying time for wood putty is not always exactly the same. If you had a stopwatch and timed the substance from application to completely dried, the times could be drastically different. The varying drying times are caused by a few different factors, we’ve explained the four most important ones in this section.

1. Thickness of Putty

The amount of putty you apply will play a big role in its drying time. The more you apply, the longer it will take to dry. If you have a deep hole or gap that needs filling, the putty will take longer to dry because only a small amount is in contact with the air. In this situation, more of the filler is beneath the surface, meaning that the moisture that needs to leave it must pass through the product rather than straight into the air. If a lot of putty is applied in a thin layer, drying time is not impacted too drastically.

2. Temperature

The environmental temperature will also impact drying time significantly. The warmer the environment, the faster it will dry. However, it’s important that some putties don’t dry too quickly, because this could cause them to crack.

3. Moisture Levels

Additionally, the amount of moisture in the air and in the wood will change drying times. If there is a lot of moisture in the wood or air, the moisture within the putty will not release as quickly as in a dry environment.

4. Air Flow and Ventilation

A well-ventilated room and airflow over the putty create a good environment for things to dry. The airflow moves moisture away from the surface, allowing more moisture to escape.

5. Type Of Putty

In some countries, the terms putty and filler are used interchangeably. They are very similar but technically different products. Whichever substance you buy, it’s important to use one that is suited for the task at hand. For example, an interior water-based putty will not dry well outside, or if exposed to moisture.

How to Speed Up Wood Putty Drying Time

Sometimes we are in a rush and want to speed up wood putty drying time. Keep in mind, increasing the drying speed is not always recommended, as it can compromise the product, causing cracking and shrinking. However, if carefully done, the tips explained in this section can reduce the time you need to wait for the putty to dry.

1. Apply the Putty in Stages

With a large hole, it’s usually better to apply the product in a few stages instead of all at once. This might seem counterintuitive, especially if you are in a rush. However, as we explained in an earlier section, large amounts of putty take a long time to dry. The surface of the product might appear to dry, but the putty deeper down can still be wet. If it doesn’t dry properly, this substance can fall out and you will have to start again. Instead, apply the putty bit by bit, let it dry, and apply another layer until you’ve filled the hole.

2. Apply Direct Heat With A Heat Gun

This tip must be approached with caution because it can cause some problems for the putty. If you only need to dry a small amount of product, you can speed up the drying process with a heat gun. Using your heat gun, carefully direct the heat over the putty and keep it moving. If you stay in one spot for too long, you can scorch the timber. The danger of this technique is drying the substance too quickly, causing it to crack.

3. Increase Room Temperature

As we explained in an earlier section, higher environmental temperatures will speed up the drying process. If you have a thermostat, consider turning it up. Or if you have another heat source, like a blow heater or oil radiator, place it near the putty.

4. Use Fast-Drying Putty

These products dry at varying speeds. Some putties will take a long time to dry, others will dry quickly. When purchasing putty, look at the product information, here it will tell you the average drying time.

5. Increase Air Flow

As mentioned above, airflow is very important for drying. Use a fan or place the substance near an open window to help air pass over the putty. This will move moisture away from the surface and allow more to escape.


Wood putty is great for fixing our mistakes. Once you understand how it works, this substance is easy to use, but there are some factors to be conscious of. Make sure you use a product suitable for the situation, for instance, if the wood will be outside, make sure the putty is suitable for outdoor applications.

To increase drying time, pay careful attention to the environment and don’t rush it too much.

You might also want to learn how long Bondo takes to dry and how long wood filler takes to dry.