I drilled a 1/2" hole into a stained oak board and I want to fill it so that it's as minimally noticeable as possible. Here are the three options I've found so far:

  • Wood putty. This means I'd have to stain the wood putty after it's dry, but I have no idea how to go about matching the stain since I bought the wood already stained.
  • Insert a dowel into the hole, cut it off at the surface, sand, and stain. Again, though, I don't know how to match the existin stain.
  • Mix saw dust from the wood I am patching with wood glue. Other people have said this was successful. It obviously wouldn't preserve the grain and would have to be stained again (provided that the hardened glue would allow for that).
  • Use a plug cutter to create a plug out of the same wood that I am filling. I really like this idea, but I imagine this would be very difficult to pull off because I'd need to make sure I cut the plug perfectly level (ie, go straight down) so that the exposed surface of the plug is perfectly flush to the wood it's going into. I asked this question and am still waiting on a solution.

Overall, I like the plug option the best, but getting it straight could be a problem.

Any other solutions for filling a hole such as this?

  • 2
    The answer to your other question is a drill press, which is especially true if you plan on cutting plugs.
    – Tester101
    Jan 10, 2013 at 17:56
  • I agree, a plug would be the best and really should be drilled on a drill press. Make it a little long,(1/16 - 1/8") then sand it flush. Jan 10, 2013 at 18:46
  • How deep does stain stain? If I make a plug out of the stained wood and sand, do I run the risk of sanding off the stain (provided, of course, I don't have to sand of a whole 1/16")? Also, I am on a mission to make level drill holes and I think I have an idea. I'll report back on my progress. Jan 10, 2013 at 19:09
  • 1
    When you insert the plug, twist it so the grains match.
    – Jay Bazuzi
    Jan 10, 2013 at 22:15
  • 1
    You can make the plug long, and then trim it with a sharp chisel. Just be careful to read the grain, so it doesn't tear out and leave a hole.
    – Jay Bazuzi
    Jan 10, 2013 at 22:21

2 Answers 2


Using a plug is your best option. Getting an exact match is pretty much impossible. A drill press is the tool of choice for a perfect plug if is conjunction with a good hole saw bit or plug cutting bit. If you can cut the plug from the same stained material in an out of sight location, this would save a lot of time. Color matching is tough to do. Keep in mind that nobody will be looking for the hole after you patch it like you do. You would be surprised how little people notice unless you point it out :)

Good luck.

  • I ended up using a plug cutter accessory/bit for my power drill. I got a really straight plug and hole using a custom bit leveler I made. Jan 11, 2013 at 16:51

I would go and buy the clear wood putty, or colorless and use linseed oil to get the right color. I saw some tutorial with a gentlemen using three colors of oil to help lighten/darken the putty. You just mix it in your hands like playdoh.

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