How to Repair & Fill Holes in Wood

Updated February 21, 2017

Knocking a hole or chipping a chunk out of wooden furniture, a cabinet or other wooden object is not a permanent disaster. Wood putty and similar compounds sold under various brand names can be used to fill, shape and repair holes in wood. The material sets and dries when exposed to air, after which it may be sanded and refinished to blend in with the surrounding wood. Most wood putties contain chemicals that produce noxious fumes, so work in a well-ventilated space, preferably outdoors or in a garage. Open windows in your home when you repair wood cabinets that can't be moved.

Scoop out an amount of wood putty that is larger than the hole. Work the putty into the hole with the knife. Add more wood putty as needed to fill the hole.

Smooth out the surface of the repaired area as much as possible with the putty knife. Wipe away excess putty from the knife blade with an old rag. Let the putty dry; this may take up to eight hours, depending on the wood putty product.

Sand the repaired area until the dry putty is smooth and flush with the surrounding wood surface. Wear a dust mask while sanding.

Thoroughly mix the wood stain per manufacturer's instructions. Stain the repaired area using a foam brush.


Allow the compound to dry completely before attempting to stain.

Things You'll Need

  • Wood putty
  • Putty knife
  • Old rag
  • Dust mask
  • Sandpaper
  • Wood stain
  • Foam paintbrush
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About the Author

James Clark began his career in 1985. He has written about electronics, appliance repair and outdoor topics for a variety of publications and websites. He has more than four years of experience in appliance and electrical repairs. Clark holds a bachelor's degree in political science.