How To Repair Nail Holes In Wood That is Reclaimed

If you’re fortunate enough to salvage old boards, especially those that are made with material such as red wood, the wood can be repurposed into something new or fresh. However, one of the biggest challenges you might face is repairing any nail holes that might be present. Some wood workers might choose the easy route and simply leave them as is, but this comes at the risk of bugs, ice or rain entering the wood and causing real damage. Below are some ways to repair these holes for good.

Bore The Holes Out

The first thing you’ll want to do is bore the holes out so that they are perfectly round. Once this is done, plug them up using wooden dowels. The best tool for boring is a spiral bit that is appropriately sized, one that is slightly smaller in comparison to the dowel plug. Redwood is soft so by making your holes moderately undersized the fit will be tighter. Clamp a scrap wood piece onto the board’s side to avoid blowout while you fix the hole near its edge. It is also recommended to place a scrap wood piece beneath the board because it allows for an exit which is cleaner within the hole of the drill.

Once the hole reaming is complete, you will want to coat the dowel plugs with a glue that is waterproof and then pound them inside the holes using a mallet. Make sure the color of the dowels matches that of the wood they are being placed in.

Cut The Dowels

Wait for the glue to dry. Once it does, cut the dowels using a Japanese style hand saw. Next perform some light sanding. At this point the repair probably won’t look perfect since the outline of the holes will still be visible, but it will be a definite improvement and later you can perform staining and surface planing which will mask the outlines of the holes further.

Repairing Nail Holes On Board Edges

Nail holes which appear on the board’s edges are more challenging to repair. To do it, you’ll need a support piece for the side. This will allow you to insert the dowel plug since it stops the drill from falling off the board’s side. The nail hole will also be positioned between the side piece and board, which will give it an adequate anchor for your plug. It is best to attach thin Masonite over the nail hole, mark its center and afterwards drill your plug hole. This will ensure everything is correctly aligned.

Some wood workers choose to fill up the holes once the new wooden furniture has been assembled. If you choose to go this route, be sure to clamp a scrap piece on back so that a cleaner exit is provided for the hole. The good news is that you won’t have to worry about providing side support if none of the holes are located on the board’s edges.