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My dog absolutely trashed my garden doors and took some pretty sizeable chunks out of the wood.

I've filled and sanded the area and I've started staining it (one coat so far). Picture showing repair attempt

While the stain seems to match the rest of the door quite nicely, in areas that were sanded but not massively filled, the areas that had a lot more filler look absolutely awful.

I'm not expecting miracles, I know it won't be perfect, I just don't want it to be the first thing you notice on entering the room.

Is this just a case of "add more coats", or am I SOoL here?

Figured I'd ask before wasting all the stain and time.

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    Real wood and filler will stain differently. Would try to get a filler that more closely matches the wood colour. While I like real wood colour, this might require a solid stain or paint. A metal(brass, brushed steel) protection plate might be another idea to cover the damage, also prevent having to redo in the future.
    – crip659
    Jan 10, 2023 at 23:44
  • So sand it down and try again with a darker filler? Jan 11, 2023 at 0:09
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    With the dog, think the plates might be better. Nice brass should look good with that wood.
    – crip659
    Jan 11, 2023 at 0:17
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    You can get brass plates cut to size pretty easily. Or just paint the door. Jan 11, 2023 at 1:43
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    Filler and wood take up stain way differently. At this point I would just go ahead and paint it brown.
    – Huesmann
    Jan 12, 2023 at 14:52

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You just need to find the right putty. Find one that says stainable. Solvent base would be better. Putty color not critical as it won’t match the wood anyways. Put some putty on scrap board to practice the stain matching process. Start lighter in color. You can mix colors as most likely off the shelf won’t match your existing. I like to mask off the surrounding area to keep the putty contained to as small an area as possible. Sand with 80 grit, then 100, then 120 on your practice piece. Test the stain colors.

Matching wood finishes is truly an art. It takes years of practice and experience with different woods and colors. You’ll have to accept the limitations of your inexperience.

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