[continued-in-part from here]
That is the exposed woodwork I wrote about in the earlier linked post linked. I'm not yet ready to apply a finish. Look closely, and you'll see some residual white paint in the nail holes -- boogers. Of course I'd like to make these less visible, but how? An amateur thinks: carefully remove the paint without enlarging the hole; apply "wood putty" to match the wood. Thing is, I've never been impressed with wood putty. It always shows lighter or darker in the finish.
The first question a professional might ask is: What kind of finish are you going to apply? Answer: A transparent one -- not even a stain. I want a finish that shows the DF grain. It will be a finish though, probably oil or acrylic, to match the rail which will be handled and will be highly trafficked. The final, desired finish will be a "wet" look with a satin finish. My question for a professional is what kind of transparent finish can best hide blemishes?
Here's another thought: Is it possible to make a paste or putty from the sawdust itself -- mixed with a binder? That should get the color right but perhaps not the texture.