How to Fill Holes in Wood

How to Fill Holes in Wood

Toothpicks and Wood Glue

A common way to Fill Holes in Wood is with a dowel that’s been cut to fit the hole just below the surface of the wood. Apply glue to wood, around the edge of the hole, and press in a thin piece of a dowel. Repeat for a few plugs, and then allow them to dry.

Pros: 

-Easy to use

-Inexpensive

Cons:

-May not be strong enough for larger holes

-May not be a permanent fix

Eproxy:

For larger holes use an epoxy plug or cement filler to fill the hole. After it dries, sand it down so it’s flush with the surface of the rest of your project. You can also make plugs by carving out strips of moistened sponges, pressing them into the hole and fixing with two-part epoxy adhesive like Loctite Wood Patch if you don’t want to see the plugs.

Pros:

-Good for larger holes

-Permanent fix

Cons:

-May be more expensive than other methods

-Might required more skill to use

-May take longer to dry

If you have a deep hole to fill, consider using a wooden golf tee. Cut the tee so it’s about the same depth as the hole. Glue it in place, and then drill a shallow hole at its center so you can insert a short piece of dowel or a nail. When the glue is dry, cut off the excess tee flush with the surface of the wood.

There are many different styles of doweling jigs available. They vary in their degree of accuracy, but all will help you achieve cleaner results than by using standard dowel or biscuit joinery. I’ve had the most success with the DowelMax ($79), which uses a jig and indexing pins to make perfectly aligned holes every time.

No matter which method you use, always test the repair by drilling a pilot hole first. This will ensure that the dowel or plug fits tightly, and will prevent screws, nails or glue from seeping out of the hole.

Spackle

Spackle patching compound is a good option for filling deep, narrow gouges in wood. It’s available in a variety of colors, so you can use it to blend your repairs into the surrounding wood.

Pros:

-Good for deep, narrow holes

-Available in many colors

-Easy to use

Cons:

-May not be strong enough for larger holes

-May not be a permanent fix

-Not as strong as plugging

-Must be sanded and painted

Acrylic Caulking

A caulking gun makes quick work of filling medium-sized holes in wood. Just squeeze some into the hole, then smooth it with a putty knife.

Pros:

-Good for small holes

-Inexpensive

-Easy to use

Cons:

-May not be strong enough for larger holes

 -Not as strong as plugging

-May not be a permanent fix

-Must be sanded and painted

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