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I've used Billy book selves from Ikea to create a built-in unit along a wall. I am going to put the shelves up inline, then I need to fill the rest of the holes which are in the sides. After the holes are filled, it will be painted.

What would work better in this case to fill the holes? Painter's caulk or joint compound. I'm heavily leaning towards joint compound because it is sandable. I just want to ensure I'm not doing the wrong thing.

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    wood filler is made for filling holes in wood – OrganicLawnDIY Nov 14 '15 at 19:13
  • @OrganicLawnDIY - Thanks for the thought. I wasn't planning on using wood putty for three reasons: 1) the units will be painted anyway, which would cover up any wood putty; 2) the shelves aren't made of wood; 3) I don't have any wood putty. – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Nov 14 '15 at 19:15
  • Caulk would be my least preferred. Joint compound is probably okay if you're willing to do a few coats (it'll shrink). Best would be bondo. (Note that you can catch bondo at a point in its curing cycle when it's firm but pliable and easily cut flush with a sharp chisel/blade. Practice makes perfect on that one.) Texture of any filling you use versus the texture of the billy will be an issue, so you might consider rollering paint on to get an orange peel effect. And to your other question, if the sides are hidden, I'd put screws through. Maybe pocket screws for exposed sides. – Aloysius Defenestrate Nov 14 '15 at 19:28
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    The particles in particleboard are wood particles. Wood filler/putty isn't just used to match color but to match the physical properties of wood. Gun to my head if I had to choose between the two I'd choose joint compound, preferably a setting type you mix yourself. Honestly though, I'd do everything different. Particle board sucks, would never use in built ins. Melamine is difficult to paint. I think you would have saved a lot of time, money and frustration building yourself out of plywood or even MDF even if you needed to buy tools and learn simple woodworking. – OrganicLawnDIY Nov 14 '15 at 19:36
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    You might need to ignore my rambling about the minwax product... I just looked and saw that you're a car guy, so you probably have a 5 gal drum of bondo in your garage... – Aloysius Defenestrate Nov 14 '15 at 19:50
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Caulk would be my least preferred. (One can't sand it.) Joint compound is probably okay if you're willing to do a few coats (it'll shrink). Best would be bondo -- the car body filler. (Note that you can catch bondo at a point in its curing cycle when it's firm but pliable and easily cut flush with a sharp chisel/blade. Practice makes perfect on that one.) Texture of any filling you use versus the texture of the billy will be an issue, so you might consider rollering paint on to get an orange peel effect. I'm pretty sure Billy shelves are covered in melamine, so would strongly suggest a melamine primer. (It bonds better than normal primer.)

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