Author Topic: Filling nail holes  (Read 3697 times)

Tom M

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Filling nail holes
« on: November 19, 2009, 10:49:11 PM »
I just installed four moldings on a project and needed to fill the nail holes.  Any time I've done this in the past I would take hide glue and mix a little wood filings to make a paste filler.  It was always messy and took a bit of work to clean up and sand away the big glob.  I tried something different this time and it  worked much better for me so I thought I would share it.

I had  a small hole punch - probably a punch used in leather work and about a 1/8" diameter.  I used it on a piece of painter tape, and then put the tape over the nail hole.  I then sucked a little hot glue into a plastic syringe and squirted a little glue into the nial hole.  Then I sprinked wood filings onto the glue and used a dental tool to mix the filings with the glue.  I finished by pushing down on the paste with my finger, and then pealing the tape off.  This left the nail hole filled with no surrounding mess.  After drying I used a gouge to carve the plug flush.  It worked great - no sanding required.

I realize in reading this over that it sounds a little complicated and ridiculous, but it actually was a lot less messy and almost made it fun.  It certainly ended up giving great results and took less time than the way I did it before.  I'm sure others out there have their own method and I would be interesting in hear about them.

Tom Meiller, SAPFM Member #684


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Re: Filling nail holes
« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2009, 07:38:38 AM »
Tom I've always taken a piece of scrap from the same board, and ground it down on my belt sander, catching the sawdust in a little cup. I then mix in a little of what ever I'm finishing with (almost always shellac), until it's the consistancy of toothpaste. I then work this into the nail hole by putting little amounts on a finger and rubbing back and forth.

Works great the holes are completly undetectable. I either sand or use a gouge to clean up, and the area is usually dime sized at most. And the best part is you don't have to worry about finish problems.

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Re: Filling nail holes/blind nailing
« Reply #2 on: November 29, 2009, 12:19:06 PM »
I saw this post by Joseph Hemingway on line about blind nailing. You may find it useful. I haven't tried it.
Joseph Hemingway offers a tip for affixing mouldings without having to fill nail holes later. First, mark a line on the back of the moulding where you will put your nails. Mark a matching line on the workpiece or wall where the moulding is to be affixed. Drive small nails 1/4 inch into the back of the moulding along your line. Then, use nippers to cut off the ends of the nails so they all stand about 1/2 inch proud of the surface. Sometimes it helps to leave the two end nails just a little longer to make it easier to line up the moulding. Next, apply glue to the moulding. Finally, while holding the moulding with the nail ends up against your alignment lines, use a scrap block of wood for protection and a hammer to tap the moulding into place along its entire length.
Mike Siemsen
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Jack Plane

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Re: Filling nail holes
« Reply #3 on: December 13, 2009, 03:37:06 PM »
Period mouldings usually exhibit unfilled nail holes, so to me, leaving them unfilled is authentic. Emphasis was placed more on the overall impact of a piece of furniture and less on what many modern cabinetmakers see as imperfections. Scribed layout lines are another example of 'blemishes' that were seemingly unimportant detractions in the grand scheme of things.
Regards, Jack.