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I'm refinishing a wood slab table that I bought from someone on Craigslist. The slab itself was coated with some awful opaque varnish that hid the beautiful grain of the wood (I think it's redwood but could be wrong -- the bare wood has a reddish tinge that doesn't come through in the photo).

Unfortunately, upon sanding the varnish away, I found that someone had filled in places in the wood with a white-colored wood filler (which might be why they used an opaque varnish). See the picture for detail -- note that I'm still in the process of sanding.

How should I approach this? Somehow stain the filler to try to match the wood grain? I don't want to stain the wood itself. In any case, any advice would be appreciated; this is my first refinishing project. Thanks!

P.S.: Once I have the whole thing sanded down to the grain I'll repost to see if there's a consensus on the type of wood it might be.
 

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Gary beat me to it. That stuff isn't normally too hard and can be dug out fairly easily. If you have a good Dremel and a base for it, routing it out and sanding away the residue would be a simple but time consuming process.
Possibly, you might not need to rout it out to it's full depth. Just maybe a 1/4" or 3/8" deep. Then, try staining the remainder and pouring clear (or tinted) epoxy.
 

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Unless you are finishing very close to the same color it's not a good practice to sand a finish off. It should be stripped off with a chemical remover. As far as the putty I would just work with it. You can color the putty the color of the light part of the wood and apply a fake grain with a darker color pigment with a coarse brush or they make graining pens you can draw the grain on it.
 
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