How to Repair & Fill Holes in Wood

By David Sandoval

Holes can weaken a piece of wood, or can simply be an eyesore on the overall appearance of a piece of wood. Depending upon how the piece of wood is used, you can repair a hole by using spackling paste, a dowel, a wood block or some combination of the three. Dowels and wood blocks can be used to strengthen a damaged piece of wood, whereas spackling paste can be used to cover up small holes and blemishes.

List of Items Needed

  • Wood dowel
  • Pencil
  • Toothpick
  • Wood glue
  • Coping saw
  • Handheld rotary tool
  • Small wood block
  • Small paintbrush
  • Rubber mallet (optional)
  • Spackling paste
  • Putty knife

    Small Circular Holes

  1. Dry-fit the dowel to the diameter of the hole. Use the pencil to mark the dowel to the length where the dowel should be cut.

  2. Remove the dowel from the hole. Use the coping saw to cut the dowel to the length marked in the previous step. Use the toothpick to apply a thin coating of glue to the walls of the hole, and then reinsert insert the dowel into the hole. Allow the glue to cure.

  3. Use a sanding accessory with the handheld rotary tool to sand the dowel edges flush with the surface of the piece of wood.

    Large Holes

  1. Use the coping saw to cut a small wood block to fit inside the hole. Dry-fit the reshaped wood block into the hole to ensure that the block will fit into the hole without protruding.

  2. Remove the reshaped wood block from the hole. Use the paintbrush to apply a thin coating of wood glue to the walls of the hole. Reinsert the reshaped wood block into the hole. If necessary, tap the wood block gently into the hole with a rubber mallet.

  3. Allow the wood glue to cure. Apply a thin coating of spackling paste to the surface of the wood block to fill in any gaps between the block and the walls of the hole. Ensure that the spackling paste is applied evenly across the hole so that it provides a flat surface across the wood piece. Allow the spackling paste to cure completely.

    Cracks and Small Holes

  1. Use the putty knife to apply spackling paste to the hole or crack. Apply as thin a coat of spackling paste as needed to fill the hole or crack.

  2. Scrape any excess spackling paste off the edge of the putty knife and dispose of this paste. Run the edge of the putty knife across the spackled hole to create a flat surface.

  3. Allow the spackling paste to cure completely.

Tips and Warnings

  • If the wood surface will be in an area that is readily visible, you may choose to paint the repaired wood surface to conceal the repair. A repair that has been made using a wood dowel may also be stained to match the rest of the wood piece, if necessary.

© Demand Media 2011