How To Fill Holes In Wood? [Basic Steps]

Even though holes are common in woods, no one wants them. And it’s not necessarily just because they hinder the aesthetics of your home.

These little gaps can be dangerous for you and your family, especially if you live in a high-risk area. If you live in an area prone to earthquakes or other natural disasters, the threat of damage may increase as the walls thin out over time.

When you see these tiny holes on your wood paneling or doors, it may help to know why they form under normal circumstances.

Filling holes on the wood might take time to do. If there are holes in your wooden structure, be it at home or elsewhere, you need to fill that in.

So, you’ll need wood fillers if there are imperfections in your wooden furniture and floor, specifically holes.

Basic Steps of Filling Holes in Wood

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If you’re too stressed out thinking about filling those holes, take time to follow these basic steps.

First Part: Prepping Craft Sticks

1. Prepare your materials

You’ll be needing various materials to complete the project. Choose a water-based wood filler, paint, or primer if you’ll do this indoors. Or you can use solvent-based primer, oil-based wood filler, and paint if you choose outdoors.

2. Get crafts sticks

Grab some craft sticks and glue them together. It will help support your wood filler. Don’t forget to check the size so that you can create a perfect fit. Give the glue time to dry. 15-20 minutes will do.

If the hole can fit 2 sticks, you can glue them together and create another set to glue at the back of the first two sticks.

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3. Place the craft stick at the back of the hole

You need to glue the surrounding border of the hole and put the craft sticks side by side. If you’re filing a hole in a cabinet, place it inside the hole.

Second Part: Applying Wood Filler

1. Mix the wood filler in a paper plate

Mix the filler on the paper plate until it turns orange-brown. It has a strong smell, so open your windows or turn on ventilation.

2. Use the craft stick to fill in the hole

After mixing, use other craft sticks to apply the wood filler in the hole. Apply evenly on the surface.

3. Smoothen it with 120-grit sandpaper

Let it dry for 1 hour, then using the right amount of pressure, sand the surface. Check if the level is the same as the wood, then let it rest.

4. Clean the wood

Use a cloth to wipe the wood and remove the dust. This is essential before you prime the wood.

Part 3: Priming and Painting

1. Lay sheets of paper

Place the recyclable paper on the top of your work area. Move all things away from it to avoid stains. You can use the painter’s hint to cover knobs and hinges if you’re painting furniture.

2. Prime the wood

Apply a reasonable amount of primer. By using this technique, the paint sticks to the wood. Moreover, if you want to paint the whole object, you need to prime it all.

3. Wait for 3 hours

You’ll need about 3 hours for the primer to dry, be patient. If you paint ahead, the object will be destroyed.

4. Apply the first coating

Get your paintbrush or roller and apply the first coating. Use a paintbrush to target surfaces and make sure to paint evenly.

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5. Leave to dry for 2-3 hours

Before you proceed with the next coat, leave it to fry for 2-3 hours. Dab a tissue on the surface to check if the paint sticks. If there are no signs of paint, you can apply the second coat.

6. Apply the second coating

Once the first is completely dry, you can apply the second coat. Check the surface properly to see if it’s even. If the color is off or does not match, you need a third coat.

Other Several Ways of Filling Holes in Wood

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There are other ways of filling holes in wood. If wood fillers are not available, you may use the following;

Using Sawdust and Glue

This is one one of the best ways of filling large holes is by using glue and sawdust. You have to put a lot of wood glue and fill the hole with sawdust.

Don’t forget to apply another layer of wood glue over the sawdust. You can also make your wood filler using these materials.

Just make sure to mix equal parts of wood glue with sawdust. Make sure to match the color of wood glue and sawdust before you apply.

Pros: Dries fast, is easy to sand, and can fit any hole.

Cons: Wood glue stains

Using Wooden Plugs

Dowels or wooden plugs can fill holes in wooden furniture, such as tables and chairs. It is best used for holes that are long and cylindrical in case you bore a large hole.

Just cut the plugs into the desired shape and size, then sand it. Apply wood glue and put it in the hole. You can use multiple dowels as one in case you need a stronghold.

Pros: Fast and easy to use. Ideal for long and cylindrical holes.

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Cons: Can shrink as it dries.

Using Toothpicks and Wood Glue

The method is similar to the ones mentioned above. Since the toothpick is slim and it can fit in holes that are only a few inches deep. However, this is great outdoors since it dries fast and is much cheaper.

It’s not advisable to use this for non-circular and large holes.

Pros: For indoor and outdoor use.

Cons: Difficult to manage.

Using Epoxy Resin

The epoxy resin is a type of filler with a very strong hold and can withstand any weather. It’s ideal to use these for wide and shallow holes because it’s thick and cannot flow on deep holes.

Pros: Can fill in the holes

Cons: Tends to go above the surface.

Using Acrylic Caulking

You can use acrylic caulking when filling in nail holes, uneven surfaces, and areas damaged by ice.

Pros: Good for the exterior.

Cons: Difficult to sand.

Hole Filling Tips and Trick

Don’t be stressed! Filling holes is easier than you think. Here are some tips and tricks you’ll find useful.

1. Sanding block to level your fill

When you’re sanding, the paper might adapt to the shape of your fingers. You’ll have to use a block to level the fill. This way, it’ll be smoother and flatter. Just be careful of the dust it may produce.

2. Overfill the hole

Don’t be afraid to overfill it. Think of it as a way to stand back, and it will give you some space if you commit any mistake.

3. Make use of a high-quality product

Don’t risk the job. Use high-quality glue so that you can get the best results. Not only the glue but the other materials as well.

4. Finish flawlessly

Make the finished product as flawless as possible. Think of it as replacing the hole like it never was damaged.

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Advantages of Using Wood Fillers in Filling Large Holes

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Wood filler is used to repair small scratches, scrapes, and holes in wooden objects. It is ideal to use this with wood that is penetrable, like oak and ash. What are the advantages of using wood filler?

1. It dries faster

Wood filler will dry within 10-20 minutes after it’s applied. This is the best option if you’re in a fast-paced project and need to get things done.

2. Perfect for porous wood

It is also ideal for porous wood. You can use it to fill surfaces with holes in them, but don’t forget to sand it after you apply.

3. Best for filling a large hole

You may have a hard time looking for a better solution, but wood fillers can top up your project. Whether it’s a big or deep hole, it will save you.


What is wood-type filler best for big holes or gaps?

For larger holes to fill in, you can start with two-part epoxy. This is common when repairing bigger holes and gaps. You may use it to repair other peripherals such as hinges, door jambs, and baseboards.

Can I use wood glue as a substitute for wood filler?

Yes, it can be used as a substitute. However, the do-it-yourself wood filler will not work the same as wood filler since the glue has different color compared to wood.

Plus, it can only fill small holes, so don’t use it for large holes and cracks.

Is wood filler durable?If the wood filler dries in the area or hole, it will become as hard as wood. Yes, it’s durable, especially outdoors. It’s used for indoor wood repair, and the results will be the same.

Is wood filler waterproof?

Wood fillers are resistant to water after it dries. But when used outdoors, it can be susceptible to rain. Too much water can still penetrate.

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So it’s not waterproof.

Are wood putty and wood filler the same?

Wood putty is used in furnished wood and expands when hardened along with the wood. It’s commonly used in minor repairs and imperfections.

While wood filler is used for the unfinished one and it doesn’t expand. It’s made with organic materials so that it won’t damage the wood.

So, they’re not the same in terms of durability and composition.

Fill in The Holes

Wood is a natural material, but it doesn’t always behave how you would like. To ensure your wood doesn’t get holes in it, follow this guide to solving the problems a wood hole can cause.

Just remember, when working on a small or big project, it helps a lot if we prepare our materials beforehand. This way, we can project if we need more items or not.

 If you need to start, start right away. There are varieties of options to choose from. Just look at what suits you best.

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