Cellulose fibre filler - cure for stripped screw holes in wood


I always jam wooden match sticks into the hole and break them off. Maybe a little glue if it’s handy. I call it ‘cellulose fiber filler’.


yup. I’ve got a box of toothpicks on my bench for the same thing. couple blobs of yella glue, stuff the hole with a couple toothpicks and replace the screw.


My favorite trick. Works a treat.

I have bought this stuff, but often end up tossing the hardened tubes because I don’t use them that frequently.

My alternative: Make a paste out of slow-cure (30 minute) epoxy and balsa dust (which I regularly have to brush out of my sander).

There is an important adjunct to filler: Wood hardener. My first publication in MAKE (issue one!) was a review of Minwax High Performance Wood Hardener. It’s a really thin, penetrating liquid plastic you brush on dodgy, soft wood . . . such as a door frame compromised by leaks. It kind of fossilizes the stuff, making it hard and sandable and drillable. If you squirt that in the stripped screw holes, you harden the whole volume of the surrounding wood.


folks have mentioned matchsticks-- but had to share that wooden golf tees are pretty handy this way. Basically a little wood glue (which keeps better than the filler)-- hammer tee into hole & snap off-- makes solid surface for new screw (esp good for dealing with hinges which need to get good bite).
:smile: (all props go to friend who fixed hanging door this way for us)

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A rolled up scrap of sandpaper works wonders, also (good for holes in concrete as well. Shit’s grippy). Or rawl plugs, of course.

Golf tees are the only accessory for hanging doors. I’m not waiting for a tube of goop to dry, I’ve got things to do.


I always used a mix of a task-suitable glue and wooden fillings. Cotton balls soaked with glue also work; anything that will hold the adhesive/binder in place and provide bulk will do the job.

that’s what I do, toothpicks with woodglue. Works like the dickens.

Count me among the toothpick, matchstick, golf-tee, and chopstick masses. Ttiebond glue!

That said, any opinions on whether this (or another product) would be more suitable for solidbody guitars in terms of maintaining or solidifying the resonance of the hunk of wood?

tl:dr: Does Monster Cables make a Guitar Filler?

PlasticWood is masterful and simple and cheap; forget matchsticks and toothpicks and golf tees and all that fussing around with cutting them to the right length, and so on and so on. PW dries fast and is solid. Works great for filling small holes left in wood when countersinking small nail holes. Sands and accepts paint readily. Then you get to peel it off your fingertips when it dries.

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I was taught at school to use a mixture of wood glue and sawdust- still do, it works very well. I think ‘Plastic Wood’ etc is much the same.

As an aside, my woodwork teacher had a glass eye, which he would frequently remove to show us his gooey socket. He also had a non-consensual knife-throwing act involving chisels.

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PlasticWood also apparently comes in tubes that are liable to be found rock-solid and dried when you need it. It may be pretty convenient when you have a good tube around. However, that convenience has to be weighted against the inconvenience of making one’s own batch using the adhesive/binder that’s available on-hand versus the inconvenience of the trip to a shop.

If the hole has become too big and nothing works, then you can always try this: Drill into the existing hole with a much larger drill bit (e.g. 8 mm or so) and glue a piece of tight fitting dowel into it. Then you can drill a new pilot hole and refix the screw in its original position.

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Also works for metals. Drill a big hole, cut thread, put in a bolt with predrilled hole, seal thread with epoxy (or lick with a welder, or braze or whatever), grind off the bolt head (or use just a stub with a precut screwdriver slot and live with the slot), cut thread (if you did not precut it to the predrilled hole, which may or may not be an advantage to do in advance).

An alternative to the slot is cutting the thread in the bolt’s hole, and using a smaller bolt as a head to screw the epoxy-coated (or, if you’re hardcore, brazing paste coated) stub in. The long “coupling nut” on a somewhat longer screw is ideal here, as it gives you a distance from the workpiece for more comfortable work and better grip with the tools when removing the helper screw.

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If you’re fixing a stripped screw hole so you can tighten a loose connection, there’s no “cutting to the right length” You cover your tee/match/toothpicks with glue, bang them in the hole and break them off flush.

HOWEVER, filling holes or linear cracks in wood and capping a countersunk brad or screw and then sanding smooth and painting/dyeing is a different use case altogether.

The problem isn’t the product, it’s the cool tools reviewers’ incorrect use of the product. FWIW - if you have a REALLY big problem (filling a doorknob hole in a solid door), use bondo. Unlike most wood filler products it doesn’t shrink when it dries, can’t be stained, but it will take paint.


“What is a bookshelf from Big Lots?”


Yep. Son of a carpenter here. Wood glue and toothpicks are the best option. Break a bunch of toothpicks in half, not the round ones, but the cheap flat ones, swirl them in glue, jam them in the hole, screw in the screw, and let it dry. Much faster, and works fine.

Durham’s Water Putty. It’s a powder, you only mix it up with water to make whatever amount your project needs. I think there may be generic (dry powder) versions of this. Check your local paint store for details.

Stain or paint the patch if using this water putty outside. It’s certainly more durable than white glue and sawdust for outdoor applications. Still like sawdust-glue paste as much cheaper solution for the indoor work, though.

@frauenfelder --check that label design!

Classic! Hope they never change it.

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