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I stupidly neglected to pre-drill a hole before nailing into a thin bit of wood, causing a small (hairline, inch each way) split.

I believe it needs only a cosmetic repair - and it would be hard to clamp, putting me off expanding glues.

The nail needs to stay in place, but not be glued in place.

Should I use filler, or glue?

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If it is not enough concern to make it worth replacing, put a little filler in it.

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If the nail is holding this thin piece in place I would use wood glue over filler, filler may not hold the split together where wood glue would.

  • Sorry, I could have made that clearer, it's a nail into it, not securing it itself. – OJFord Feb 18 '18 at 22:27

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