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Hi, I'm getting ready to finish a countertop project and need some advice. It's juniper, unstained, and I'll be using several coats of water-based polyurethane satin finish. But being juniper, there are lots of little knot-holes, depressions, cracks, etc. that need filling... but I still want to see the knot holes. That's what makes juniper so pretty, IMO. What would be the best filler for these depressions, under the polyurethane-- should I use clear epoxy, acrylic, or is there some other product that would work well? I need something that will fill larger spaces (1/2" X 3/4" X 1/4" deep or more) but still cure clear, and accept a polyurethane overcoat. Thanks in advance.
 

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I would use epoxy. It will be the most similar in color to the poly assuming you’re using oil based poly. I would tape off the area around the knot hole to keep the epoxy from discoloring the surrounding wood.

If the knot goes through the wood, a piece of tape on the underside will keep the epoxy from running through. After that, just slowly pour the epoxy in. As the wood absorbs it, bubbles will form in the epoxy. A heat gun will help draw the bubbles to the surface so they can pop. The slower curing epoxy, the better. I use low viscosity resin with a slow hardener.

Also, make sure the epoxy is fully cured before you sand it level. Otherwise it could shrink a bit and leave a low spot that will show in certain light.
 
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