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I need to attach some oak trim (8mm x 60mm) to a recess in a plasterboard wall. The trim will affix to the metal c-stud on the verticals, and to wood noggins on the horizontal.

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Since I'm fixing straight to the stud, I'll need to screw rather than glue & pin.

I'm trying to decide what to do about the screw holes. Ideas so far:

  1. Countersink and plug with oak dowel (not ideal as the stock is only 8mm thick, so not much room to plug)
  2. Countersink and use filler
  3. Use some "attractive" screws (don't really want to use brass as the rest of the fixings will be brushed steel or chrome)

None of these seem like great options. Wondered if anyone had any better ideas!

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Your best bet is to first strip the opening with some pine boards that you can screw in place to the studs with whatever fasteners that are feasible and can be countersunk. Make sure these boards are nice and flat and even.

Then install the oak finish trim on top the pine using a contact cement. This way you will have no fasteners showing at all.

  • Did think of this, but unfortunately too late! (Dimensions of the recess don't allow me to pack in this way. :-( – Ben Sep 17 '14 at 10:53
  • Are you saying that because you have drywall that would come right up even with the edge of your oak trim? If so I would comment that you may never get a decent finish on drywall butted up against a trim piece. Instead the overall edge of the drywall really should be fully concealed under another trim that bands the opening face. If you use the pine boards as suggested the face trim band will also be able to cover the edge of the pine board. ---- It is possible to prefinish the drywall edge with metal corner beading and then tape in the corner up to the beading. (continued) – Michael Karas Sep 17 '14 at 11:03
  • (continued from above) This may match up acceptably to the edge of your oak banding in the opening but then again maybe not. – Michael Karas Sep 17 '14 at 11:04
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There are trim screws with very small heads. They come in stainless steel. The trim needs very little support so the small heads are not a structural problem.

A woodworker's technique is to use a small sharp gouge (a curved chisel) to lift a small patch of surface from the wood, bend it back, drive a trim screw in the divot created by the gouge, and then glue back down the lifted patch.

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    You can also use color matched wood putty to fill over the screwheads. Be careful driving these in as 8mm stock is thin (thats a about 5/16" for us yanks). It would be very easy to overdrive the screw and go through the material. – Freiheit Sep 17 '14 at 14:00
  • I used black trim-head screws and decided not to bother covering them because I want to preserve the option of removing this trim for service. Since it's an old house, a few "nail holes" are entirely acceptable. – keshlam Sep 19 '14 at 15:05
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You can screw a thinner piece of plywood to the wall then glue the oak as a veneer over it. You can actually get very thin veneers of oak that are specifically for this purpose at specialty woodworking stores.

Be sure to fill in the screwholes with putty before veneering as the screwholes will telegraph through the veneer over time.

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The proper way to do what you want is to

  • First, get a plug cutter of the appropriate size for your fastener, such as one of these

    Veritas Plug Cutters

  • Drill the hole(s) for the fasteners.

  • Then, depending on the type of fastener you're using, either counterbore or countersink the fastener hole so the head of the fastener is sufficiently recessed.

  • Set your fasteners.

  • Cut face grain plugs from the same material the fasteners are set in.

  • Dip the bottom of each plug in varnish (not glue — you might need to pull the fasteners at some point.)

  • Gently tap the plug into place, aligning the grain of the plug with that of the plank. Bonus points if you match the plugs grain to that of the plank.

  • Carefully trim it flush, using a sharp chisel and flush-cutting saw. Finish up with a small block plane if it needs it.

  • Apply the finish of choice.

Done well, the plugs will be nearly invisible.

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    You've had luck with this technique in 1/4in plywood? – Mazura Sep 17 '14 at 18:43
  • Will this work in 8mm stock? Just wondering how deep the plugs need to be to hold fast. – Ben Sep 18 '14 at 8:00
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What about using a piece of wood attached to the steel studs. Then use a dowel and glue to "fasten" the board in place. Done this way you wouldn't have to worry as much about the thickness and the glue would hold between the two boards so it would be almost like screws except that it'd be hard to take out. Not sure if that's a need based off the information thus far. You could think of this as the really old way of construction.

P.S. I'd upvote bib's answer if I could (Just joined so low rep)

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