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I worked in the exhibits/conservation department of a major eastern museum system for many years and I've worked on restoring antique furniture. For 30 years I've owned an antique auto restoration company part of which is restoring decrative and stuctural wood work in cars so that the repairs match the original aged wood and are not noticable.

If you want to hide the filled holes as much as possable, using saw dust and glue as a filler works as a filler, but it will always be darker that the non-saw dust/glue area surounding the filled areas.

The rust stains Nail Gun pointed out are exactly what he said, the natural tanic acid in hardwoods reacting with steel, will cause black stains. They will always show as dark bullseyes around whatever you fill the holes with and wood stain will not hide them.

If you want the holes to disappear as much as your able to do,...

1. Use Oxolic acid and Q-tips to bleech the rust stains out. You can get it at many hardware stores, or order on-line. Follow the instructions that come with it carefully. Let the areas dry compleatly after rinsing to neutralize the oxalic acid.

2. Since beech is a "blond wood", use a light wood paste filler. Over-fill each hole and carefully sand level, using a sanding block, after the filler compleatly dries (at least 24 hours).

3. Stain the stock to whatever color you've picked. Once the stain has dried,...

Now comes the part where the artist in you and what time/effort you are willing to put in, will determin how good the final job looks.

Unless you buy alot of proffesional wood refinishing supplies, whatever is used for wood filler will not perfectly match the wood grain (unless you get very lucky). Sometimes the touch-up sticks you can get in the local hardware store will be close, but when stained and coated with a clear finish, they can look totally different than they did. They are meant more to be use as a quick touch-up on already finished wood such as a scratch on a piece of funiture.

If the filled holes are lighter than the surounding wood, using a small artist brush dab additional stain on just the filled areas and let dry. Wet the areas with your finger dabbed in water to see how close the color matches.

If however the filled holes come out darker, gently rub/scrape some of the stain off the filled holes until it color matches the surounding area.

When your satisfied with the color match, wait at least 24 hours for the stains to dry before appling a finish, or you might get some color lifting.

Good luck

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