Can Wood Filler Hold A Screw? (A Real Test) - Answers & Solutions  

Can Wood Filler Hold A Screw? (A Real Test)

There comes a time in every woodworker’s career when he or she needs a rapid solution to a problem caused by an error. It’s possible that we’ll need to patch up the wood after an accident has created a hole or chipped away a chunk of it. Is there a way to do this if the filler needs to be screwed through? Is it possible to secure a screw into wood filler if this occurs?

In the short term, wood filler can sustain a non-load bearing little screw, but in the long run, it will not be able to hold a huge screw.

Most wood fillers on the market claim to dry extremely hard, allowing you to drill right through them and insert a screw. Although this is true, if the screw is supporting a junction that is prone to movement or carries weight or stress, wood filler will not provide enough structural capacity to hold the screw.

When driving in non-load-bearing, short screws, I believe various wood fillers are fine to use. For this reason, it is imperative that you choose an epoxy or two-component filler that cures to a durable finish.

Can You Drill Wood Filler?

When wood filler has entirely dried, a small pilot hole can be used to drill through it without incident. Wood filler should be of the two-part epoxy or multifunctional variety to prevent cracking for the best possible outcomes.

You should always drill a small pilot hole, of instance 1/8 inch, before using larger drill bits to make the necessary hole. Most multipurpose wood fillers and two-part epoxy can handle having a hole drilled into them.

Take a look at this video showing me drilling into wood filler.

How To Fix Stripped Out Screws

In my experience, “How do I repair a stripped out screw hole?” is the most frequently asked query. As a rule, this happens on interior doors after they have been removed and reinstalled multiple times for home improvement projects like painting or flooring installation.

Hinge screw holes typically become worn to the point that the screw will not go in at all and will instead spin in the hole. Most people use wood filler to cover the screw hole at this point. How do you take care of screws that just won’t turn?

Wood filler is not something I would ever suggest using in this context. There is not enough stability or reliability in wood filler to sustain a full wooden door.

While this may seem like a simple fix, there is a much more effective and time-efficient method that guarantees the screw will remain in place. To make a temporary repair, you might use wood filler.

How To Reuse Screw Holes In Wood

Other than using wood filler, there are two methods for repairing stripped out screw holes. I’ve outlined the procedures for achieving each of these goals below.

Match Sticks Or Wood Strips (Beginner Option)

While this isn’t the best approach, it will work, and it’ll be more durable than wood filler.

Supplies Required
Wooden slivers or matchsticks
A high-grade wood glue
Precision Chisel
First, do your best to remove any loose wood fibres from the old screw hole.
Apply wood glue to few match sticks and use them to light candles. Some of the Titebond glues are great.
Fit matchsticks into the opening and tap them in with a hammer.
Keep stuffing the hole with matchsticks until it’s filled.
To allow the adhesive to dry, please wait a few hours.
Get out your chisel and hammer, and trim the protruding matchsticks.
The screw requires a hole to be pre-drilled, therefore make sure you use the correct sized drill bit for the pilot hole.
Put the screws back in and the job is done.
The use of matchsticks necessitates the use of wood glue to seal the small spaces between the sticks. This can get the job done, but there’s a better way to do it.

Wooden Dowels (Best Option)

When a screw hole is stripped out, a wooden dowel is the ideal solution. Using wood filler or match sticks may appear easier, but this method is faster and stronger.

Supplies Required
Wooden dowels, in a smaller size
A high-grade wood glue
Precision Chisel
If you need help inserting wooden dowels, I’ve included an easy-to-follow procedure below:

Decide on the appropriate length of wooden dowel; these can be purchased pre-cut to various lengths, or you can purchase a longer section (say, 1 metre) and cut it down to size. A 1/8″ (3mm) or 3/16″ (5mm) diameter one would be ideal. Size is irrelevant. Dowels with flutes can be used if desired. Dowels with flutes make it easy for adhesive to escape.
After choosing the proper size dowel, you’ll need to drill out the stripped-out hole so that the dowel can fit. To make room for a dowel with a diameter of 3/16 inches, for example, you can use a 1/4-inch drill bit to enlarge the hole. Repeat for each impacted hole. It’s important that the dowel doesn’t fit too snugly.
A high-quality wood glue is recommended for glueing the dowels (I suggest Titebond from here). Spread a thin layer of glue along the length of the dowel.
Dowels should be inserted by tapping them in with a hammer until they are flush. Dowels that nearly go in but then spring out need not cause alarm. Just that the glue has created a seal so tightly that air cannot escape from beneath the dowel. For this reason, a hole slightly bigger than the dowel diameter had to be drilled. Please stop worrying; it will function normally.
Remove any leftover glue using a moist cloth, then wait at least 6 hours, though ideally longer, depending on environmental factors. To learn more about the potential factors affecting the drying time of wood glue, go here.
Once the glue has dried, you can trim off the excess dowel with a sharp chisel or a small flush trim saw (if you have one).
Pre After inserting the dowels into the preexisting screw holes, additional holes must be drilled to accommodate the screws. Since you will be screwing into the end grain of the dowels, it is essential that you pre-drill the dowels. For guidance on deciding what size hole to drill, please see here. Drilling into dowels requires careful placement of the hole so that it is exactly in the middle.
Insert screws back into their original holes. Having the dowels there will ensure that the screws have enough of solid wood to bite into.
Completed successfully!

Wood Filler In A Hole Is Stronger (Tested)

Maybe there’s a hole in the wall or maybe you just want to smooth up the edge of that piece of furniture with some wood filler. In these situations, I often pondered whether or not wood filler would hold a screw.

I put several kinds of wood filler to the test in an actual experiment. After drilling a 10mm hole in the middle of a piece of wood, I filled it using a combination of a multi-purpose wood filler and a two-part epoxy filler. I even used them to round off a notch in a wooden plank’s edge.

Each hole in the wood filler was drilled in advance to accommodate a screw.
We tested the strength of the wood filler by driving a screw halfway through it at several locations and then applying weight to the screws to see whether they would break.


The wood putty that was used to patch the 10mm hole held firm and did not crack.

After being pressed upon, the wood filler at the board’s edge cracked slightly.

The results made it abundantly evident that wood filler used inside a hole would be more robust than filler used outside the hole because the wood provided structural support on all sides.

After being weighed down, the wood filler along the edge of the board developed tiny fissures. I began to wonder how sturdy the wood filler really was after seeing this.

When using wood filler, will a screw be able to be securely fastened?
The wood filler was displaced as a result of pressure being applied to the screw.

Is Wood Filler A Good Idea To Hold a Screw?

My testing show that wood filler is not a suitable medium for permanently anchoring a screw, so I would never advise using it in this capacity.

To reiterate what I said before, it could be fine to use a little screw to secure a decorative item. Any tension or movement on the screw, such as if it were holding a joint, increases the likelihood that the wood filler will fail.

The strength of the wood’s connection to the filler is another factor to think about. After testing, I found that the wood filler actually separated from the wood very slightly after being pulled on by the screw. Another reason for concern was my inability to put my faith in it.

Leave a Comment