Screw & Plug Instructions for Wood

Updated February 21, 2017

To expertly hide screw holes, fill them with a wooden plugs made with a plug cutter. You get professional results that makes others wonder how you did it. Cut the plugs from scrap wood with a grain pattern that matches your woodworking project, then insert the plugs anywhere you have open screw holes. Once the plugs are sanded flush they'll seem to disappear as they blend in with the existing wood surface.

Drill a 1/2-inch deep hole with the Forstner bit where a screw is to be used to join two pieces of wood together. Insert the 1/16-inch bit into the drill and drill through the centre of the 1/2-inch hole with the 1/16-inch bit to create a pilot hole for the screw.

Select a section of a piece of scrap wood that matches the grain where the screw hole is. Insert the plug cutter into the drill. Drill several holes in the wood approximately 5/8-inch deep. Tap on the plug cutter to release the plug inside the plug cutter body after drilling each hole.

Select the plug that best matches the grain on the 1/2-inch hole.

Insert the screw into the pilot hole. Put a screwdriver bit into your drill and drive the screw inl.

Squirt a small amount of glue into the 1/2-inch hole over the screw head. Smear the glue around with the eraser end of a pencil. Insert the tip of the plug into the hole, orienting the plug to match the direction of the grain. Tap the plug into place with the hammer, leaving approximately 1/8-inch of the plug protruding.

Sand the plug flush with the sandpaper and hand block.


Drill even and steady with the plug cutter to get clean edges on the plug. Plug cutters can be found at any home improvement store.


Always wear eye protection when working with wood.

Things You'll Need

  • Electric drill
  • 1/2-inch Forstner bit
  • 1/16-inch standard drill bit
  • Plug cutter, 1/2-inch
  • Scrap wood for plug material
  • Wood glue
  • Pencil
  • Hammer
  • Sanding block with 100-grit sandpaper
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About the Author

Specializing in hardwood furniture, trim carpentry, cabinets, home improvement and architectural millwork, Wade Shaddy has worked in homebuilding since 1972. Shaddy has also worked as a newspaper reporter and writer, and as a contributing writer for Bicycling Magazine. Shaddy began publishing in various magazines in 1992, and published a novel, “Dark Canyon,” in 2008.