How to fill a hole in wood – best tips for repairing and redrilling

For a variety of reasons, holes or cracks in the wood can appear. Often this happens due to excessive internal stress, seasonal shrinkage, mechanical damage, and also due to other factors. To eliminate them, a large arsenal of tools is now used – sealants, putties, adhesives and other solutions that are focused on one or another type of defect.

How to fill a hole in wood and repair defects in general?

We propose to consider in this article the most effective ways to fill wood holes, as well as how to remove cracks – from a small chip to complex longitudinal cracking.

So, how to fill a hole in wood? How to screw holes in filled portion? How to fill large holes and which wood filler to choose? All these questions shall be answered in our article.

How to fill a hole in wood - best tips for repairing and redrilling

How To Fill A Hole in Wood And Redrill?

Method 1: Use a wood filler

Screw holes are very common. You can also find cracks from transportation and other accidents. We described these are the most common types of damage to wood furniture. You can repair holes in wood or cracks easily using Wood Filler. This is great for small holes in wood. For larger holes a wood plug would be more suitable.

There are a lot of wood fillers in the hardware stores. They are all quite effective, with little difference in drying time, preparation, and results.

How to fill a hole in wood - best tips for repairing and redrilling

Step 1: Scraper

Take a scraper and sand off excess dirt or paint. Clean around the hole properly with a damp cloth.

Step 2: Fill the hole

After cleaning, fill wood holes with wood filler. Take the chosen option and properly fill a hole in wood.


Use your finger or putty knife to compress the wood filler into the wood hole. Use a little more wood filler than necessary because it can shrink as it dries.

After filling holes, let dry completely. The time required may vary by type of wood filler and wood.

Take the putty knife and spread the wood filler evenly in the hole. Apply some pressure.


Step 3: Polish up

After the wood filler has dried properly, smooth the excess filler with the wood surface with sandpaper. Check again to make sure the hole in wood is properly filled with wood fillers. Add a little more if needed. Ensure the flat surface.

How to fill a hole in wood - best tips for repairing and redrilling

Step 4: Redrill

Now that the hole is filled up and polished adequately, you can redrill the wood as you need and make it usable again.

Method 2: Use Wood Plug

Wood plugs are cylindrical bars that can be bought at any hardware store. They are usually used as guiding elements for butt jointing boards. It is a great way to fill large holes.

Step 1: Select wood plug

Decide what kind of hole you are dealing with and choose the right kind of wood plug that will fit properly.

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Step 2: Glue the holes

Take wood glue and spread it on the outside and inside the hole.

Step 3: Insert the plug to fill a hole

Insert wood plugs into holes and continue to press the plug into the hole using a hammer or other tools.

Step 4: Ensure strong fit

Push in until the plug sits securely inside the hole.

Step 5: Dry

Completely dry the glue, give it some time. Be sure to firmly insert wood plugs into holes.

Step 6: Final polishing

Cut off the excess plug and polish with sandpaper.

These are often used to fill large wood holes that are more profound and straight than the usual holes.


Method 3: Sawdust and wood glue

In those places where the wood putty will sooner or later begin to crack due to seasonal fluctuations and other factors, a do-it-yourself adhesive filler is able to adequately withstand the test of time.

Making homemade wood filler may be a bit tricky for you if you have no previous experience. Remember to wear hand gloves and a face mask while making wood filler from sawdust and glue. Now, find out the steps to fill holes using Sawdust and Glue.

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  1. It should be used to seal gaps along the joinery, fix cracks in wood doors and other places where loads will fall on the seam.
  2. The adhesive composition is best mixed with fine wood dust, which is obtained from sanding wood.
  3. When dry, such a composition will shrink greatly, and for this reason, when filling holes, it should be applied in excess, so that the wood filler even protrudes slightly above the surface.
  4. After the mass dries, the excess can be carefully removed with a sharp chisel, and the area to be repaired should be sanded with a fine-grained abrasive.

How to Redrill After Filling the Holes in Wood

After successfully filling the holes, you may again need to make holes in the same place in order to insert a new screw or nail. If not done correctly, you can increase the chances of cracking.

To prevent cracks, take some precautions when drilling filled portion of wood. Follow the next steps:

Step 1: Add some toothpicks or matchsticks

To increase the strength of the filling, use matches or wooden toothpicks in the newly filled hole before re-drilling it

Step 2: Make a bit larger hole

Make a bigger hole to use a wood plug and drill them. This way the hole becomes more predictable and can be filled easily. And thus polishing the surface will be easier

Step 3:  Mark the position

Using a pencil, mark the drilling area before starting work. This will make the process easier for you

Step 4: Redrill the hole

Take a drill and place the tip on the marked point in the surface of the wood. Start drilling slowly.

There is no need to rush, otherwise you can spoil the filled holes. Drill at the right angle and don’t go too deep

Step 5: Use a wider screw diameter

Use screws with a wider diameter if you are going to insert new ones. This way you avoid cracks

Step 6: Clean it up

Clear the surrounding area. Polish the drilled area


How to cover holes in wood with wood putty

The basic principles of working on wood with putty are shown by the example of how to close up cracks in a walnut saw cut of a large crack. So, the compositions should be applied with a spatula, and tightly fill the crack cavity.

All putties gain strength after drying, but their hardness will not be compensated by sufficient elasticity. With large fluctuations in the size of the wood, which are caused by swelling or shrinkage, the puttied seams will begin to crack after a while.

For this reason, this method of sealing holes and cracks will be more effective only for interior work, where temperature and humidity changes are not so intense.


Prepare the wood hole for filling

Prepare the wood before reseal with pulpwood it is a step that should not be overlooked. Obviously, it is not possible to repair a material that is not healthy enough beforehand.

  1. Control humidity
  2. Eliminate rotten wood
  3. Degrease the surface
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Wax Concealers

Special hard wax sticks are a convenient and easy solution for cosmetic repairs of small chips, dents, cracks, deep scratches and other types of defects. Wax proofreaders have become very popular for redecorating wood products and other furniture that is used indoors and is not subject to heavy wear.

Wax craft sticks are offered in colors that mimic different types of wood. Colors can be easily mixed to achieve the desired shade. Before starting work, the area that you plan to restore should be prepared – cleaned of dirt and dust, removed chipped notches.

Wax correctors can be used at temperatures not lower than +10 degrees. The repair site should be treated with a soft and lint-free cloth. Then it remains to apply wax with force to the damaged area, and carefully hammer it into all cavities.

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Butterfly dowels to stabilize cracks

How to seal holes in a wooden worktop if the cracks are very large? Large holes can be not only a headache, but also a natural decoration for your project. To a greater extent, this will apply to products that are made of slabs – massive wood saw cuts, from which table tops, bench seats and other elements are made.

In such furniture, large cracks will retain the philosophy of one of the styles, for which the characteristic features are the minimum interference with the natural forms of wood. But in order for the crack to cease to be defects and become a real decoration, it should be stabilized.

Otherwise, it will continue to expand and, after a while, will split the wood piece in half. In order to perform stabilization, decorative and functional elements called butterfly dowels are usually used. They should be glued into pre-milled grooves.

The standard key thickness is half an inch. The number of butterflies to be cut and their size is an individual matter, and much will depend on the nature of the crack and the dimensions of the part. For a beautiful decorative effect, stabilizing inserts are made from wood in a contrasting color.


Epoxy Resin

The use of epoxy resin is the most reliable method for sealing holes and cracks. Two-component resins, which consisted of a resin and a hardener, can be easily modified to an adhesive filler.

With their help, you can easily obtain a composition of the desired color and viscosity, which will perfectly fill cracks, dents, chips and provide excellent and durable bonding.

After the epoxy resin hardens, it will gain strength, which will exceed the strength of wood, and due to its fluidity and excellent adhesion, it will fall into all cavities, and thus will be able to restore the integrity of the structure of the wood product, and will also prevent further crack growth.

This method is often used during work with solid wood massifs, where, due to the high internal stress, cracking problems will be especially acute. Once the epoxy has completely cured, it will turn into a safe and inert plastic with a high degree of strength.

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More tips

  • Flat surfaces are you best friends. They ensure even filling and do not let you spill anything
  • For smaller hole pick wood putty, wood glue. When the work is done you may want to add second coat and even third coat to make the colors match to your desire.
  • Filling large holes would require wood plugs
  • For very large holes or deep holes, you’ll want to use a two-part epoxy kit
  • You can close the hole by dipping a toothpick in PVA glue and inserting it into the hole. Let the glue dry and smooth the surface with putty knife.
  • On top of the nails, add a thin layer of putty to hide them. Let dry. Remove excess putty, when completely dried.
  • For larger holes, you can try mixing sawdust or wood shavings to create a paste.

What can I use to fill a hole in wood?

You can use wood plugs. To seal a hole with this method, it is necessary to drill it to the diameter of the plug, this is usually 1/3 inch. Then we moisten the plug with carpentry glue and hammer it into the hole, after which we cut off the remnants with a hacksaw for wood.

Can you fill holes in wood with wood glue?

As a material for wood filling holes and cracks, you can use a mixture of carpentry adhesive and fine wood shavings. This method is not suitable for fixing wide depressions and leveling large surfaces, but you will have a more reliable alternative to wood filler during local repairs.

Unlike the wood putty, which, with many of its advantages, fills the recesses, the filler, which is made from wood glue and shavings, additionally helps to ensure strong bonding.

How do you repair and fill a hole in wood?

The use of epoxy is the most reliable crack repair method. A two-part epoxy consisting of resin and hardener are easily modified into an adhesive wood filler.

With their help, you can get a composition of the desired viscosity and color, which will fill cracks, chips, potholes well and provide strong bonding. This method is often used when working with solid wood, where, due to the high internal stress, crack problems will be especially serious.

Do cracks in timber need to be patched? Closing holes and cracks in log cabins is not just a matter of beauty, but along with interventional insulation, their sealing will be an important technological step in the construction of houses.

Closed cracks will reduce the level of heat loss of the building, and are also able to prevent the accumulation of moisture and the appearance of biological activity inside the logs, which significantly extends the service life.

How to seal cracks on the outside? For insulation between crowns and sealing cracks, a material such as special sealants is used. They have a wide range of operational advantages – resistance to frost, vapor permeability, resistance to UV rays, biological activity and more.

But the main feature is a high degree of elasticity, due to which the insulating joint will deform along with the wood, it will not break and crack.

How to properly seal cracks? The sealing technology will be identical to how to seal interventional gaps. Inside the crack with a spatula, a special cord from foamed polyethylene should be laid.

Depending on the size of the split, the required diameter of the insulation cord should be selected. For reliable fixation in the cavity of the crack, it should shrink by about ¼ of the original diameter.


You will need patience and determination to be successful in this job.

We hope that we’ve answered you questions of how to fill a hole in wood surface. You can easily fill holes yourself just following our recommendations.

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