She was already putty in his hands.
Most women were putty in the old man's hands, but Claire Quincy had pushed all the wrong buttons and short-circuited his good nature.
For example, chips and holes can be filled with wood putty, decaying areas can be treated with fungicides, and traditional waterproofing techniques (such as the use of linseed oil) can be used.
By the time they reached the ground floor, she was putty.
Putty contains drying oils which are necessary in order for the compound to remain pliable.