What’s the best way to hide small screw holes in wood?

There are several ways to fill these holes, but the best I know of involves a small, inexpensive Canadian tool called the Plugger (www.leevalley.com; 800-267-8767). It’s a tapered drill bit that creates a hole exactly the same angle as made by a pencil sharpener. Designed for creating holes for grafting branches onto fruit trees, the Plugger is also ideal for preparing holes in woodwork for filling with wooden plugs. Make each of the screw holes you’ve got tapered, force a small amount of wood glue into the holes, then sharpen a length of 1/4” diameter dowel in a pencil sharpener and tap it into the hole. Leave the dowel slightly longer than needed until the glue dries, then trim it flush with the stairs and apply a stain to match the rest of the stair treads. The old screw holes won’t be completely hidden this way, but they will look like traditional dowels used in construction.

Posted on February 8th, 2013

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