I have been tasked with repairing the leg of an oak coffee table, which
was originally held together with both screws and glue inside of a
1-1/2" tall apron. The leg was damaged during a move, revealing a
couple of somewhat stripped screw holes, and an original lack of glue in
If it was up to me I would just glue it properly, but I have been asked
to also use fasteners, so that is what I will be doing.
I was originally planning on going up from the original size 10 wood
screws to a size 12, but now I am wondering if I could instead repair
the stripped out screw holes and still use the size 10 screws; this
would keep me from having to redrill/resink the legs.
I have seen holes in softwoods repaired by mashing pieces of wood into
the hole, but would something like that work in oak?
Is there any way to repair a stripped out screw hole in oak, or should I
just plan on going to a larger screw?
Thanks for any suggestions,
I don't know if this would work for your particular situation but there
is a technique where you drill out a hole and fill the hole with the
same sized dowel.
Drill out the bad wood with whatever sized bit matches the dowel you'll
use to plug it. Insert the dowel with glue. Once the glue dries, drill
and insert the new screw. This works particularly well if you can cut
your own dowels using the same type of wood and match the direction of
the grain when inserting the dowel.
"Playing is not something I do at night, it's my function in life"
On Tuesday, August 25, 2015 at 11:57:23 PM UTC-5, -MIKE- wrote:
If he is replacing a screw used to connect the table legs, odds are no one
will see it (going by the counter sink description) so grain orientation is
a nicety but not necessity.
I use the process you describe above often and have for about 40 years now.
The harder the wood, the softer the plug wood is the better you can plug
and re-thread your hole.
I use this technique when replacing old hardware, reattaching old connector
s, resetting hinges, etc. I always keep a couple of sharp knives in my poc
ket, and I take a piece of soft wood, say a large splinter from a 2x4, and
simply shave a round, tapered plug to use. It literally takes seconds and
I leave the splinter long so I can tightly fit the plug to the hole. I get
the plug to the right size and taper, then fill the screw hole with glue a
nd a bit more in the plug. Put the plug in the hole and then tap it tight
with a couple of shots from a hammer.
The plug should fit tight enough that you can cut off the waste from your p
lug with a sharp chisel and then wipe off any excess glue. If it is a smal
l screw such as for door hinges, I immediately trim the waste and re-drill.
If it is a larger hole I am filling, I cut the waste away, the allow the
glue to penetrate the plug and the existing hole. I wait about 30 minutes
and re-drill. It isn't unusual for me to replace door hinges in a great ol
d wood door and have to do that to all the hinge holes.
I have never had a screw fail when the hole is filled with a soft, tapered
plug. I was shown that in my first year of construction not as a repair, b
ut as a way to cover up a mistake I made when I drilled the hole in the wro
On 8/26/15 2:27 AM, email@example.com wrote:
The more I thought about it while reading your post... if you don't have
to match the wood for appearance sake, then a softer wood is definitely
a better choice. The risk of a hard wood plug that small splitting is
"Playing is not something I do at night, it's my function in life"
On Wednesday, August 26, 2015 at 9:55:39 AM UTC-5, -MIKE- wrote:
It is. Just as important, a hardwood plug will not lend itself to having it
s wood fibers pushed into the hole's cracks and old screw threads like a gl
ue covered soft plug will. Properly applied, meaning plugged, pilot drille
d while the glue is wet and then immediately installing the screw is the ti
cket. Between the soft wood fibers and the glue, it makes a perfect fittin
g, easy to make plug. Ideal for the repair he is doing to the underside of
Again, never seen that fail. I use that technique a lot in hard and soft w
Yet another technique is to coat the screw with wax, put
some epoxy in the hole, and run the screw in. The wax
stops the epoxy adhereing to the screw, so you can get it
back out, but it builds up and strengthens the threads in
the wood. You end up with almost a tapped hole.
Personally, since these screws are hidden, I'd go with
Mike Marlow's suggestion of a couple of wood slivers.
the way you go depends on how much wood there is to work with
the dowel is the best if there's enough wood
if there is not a lot of wood then i make a batch of small wood chips
mixed with wood glue and fill in the hole then glue the joint and put in
the screws and clamp it
wood glue always surprises me how well it holds
sometimes i feel like i am pushing my luck the way i use it
i use it for metal also and plastic and paper and paper mache
i glued a piece of sheet metal to particle board then i drilled through the
center of the sheet metal and glued a plastic tube to the sheet metal and
the particle board
it was quite ugly and i laughed while doing thinking it just was not going
few days later the outside of the glue mass was clear and i could see the
undried yellowish glue underneath
many days later it was all clear and i was surprised how strong it all was
it was regular titebond glue
seems like you got your med dosage right
On Tuesday, August 25, 2015 at 7:50:53 PM UTC-5, Jon Danniken wrote:
ALWAYS repair, never replace with a larger screw. The problem is that the
wood fibers have been compressed and worn, using a larger screw just enhanc
es the damage already done, unless you go really big when you up size. If
you are going that route, you need to redrill the hole. However, usually t
he piece does not give you the option of going that much oversize. Even if
it does, repair with a shot of glue and either a bamboo skewer from your l
ocal Chinese restaurant or a wood sliver trimmed to fit the hole. The good
news is, you can run the replacement screw in immediately after the repair
and the screw will actually force the glue and new wood fibers into the vo
id left by the old screw.
Without disputing the general truth of your comment, I'll note
that when refastening a wooden boat, it's common practice to go
one size larger (e.g. from a #10 to #12) if a new screw of the
same size won't go tightly into the hole.
Boats are a bit of a special case, tho, since the unavoidable
exposure to water swells the wood fibers.
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