How to Fill Holes on a Guitar Before Sanding

Written by wade shaddy
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How to Fill Holes on a Guitar Before Sanding
Use putty and wood plugs to repair holes in guitar bodies. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

If you have holes in your guitar that are too deep to sand out, you can either putty or plug them depending on their size. If the hole is 1/4 inch in diameter or less, it's best to use a high-quality plastic wood dough. If the hole is over 1/4 inch, it is better to plug it with a piece of wood that matches the guitar body. If properly done, you can blend almost any hole into the wood and get results that are practically invisible.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Putty knife
  • Plastic wood dough
  • Sandpaper, 100 and 180 grit
  • Cordless drill
  • Drill bits
  • Wood glue
  • Dowel, 5/16 inch
  • Hammer
  • Hand sanding block

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    Holes 1/4 Inch or Smaller

  1. 1

    Dip the end of a putty knife into the plastic wood dough. Scoop out a nickel-sized glob of wood dough from the can.

  2. 2

    Smash the putty against the hole with force. Slide the putty knife across the hole smearing the putty flat. Wait 30 minutes for the putty to dry.

  3. 3

    Sand the residual putty off with 100 grit sandpaper in your fingers. Sand again with 220 grit sandpaper.

    Holes Larger Than 1/4 inch

  1. 1

    Drill straight down into the hole with a 5/16-inch Forstner bit to a depth of 1/2 inch. If your drill bit doesn't make a clean cut because the hole is bigger that the bit, switch to a 3/8-inch, 7/16-inch or 1/2-inch bit.

  2. 2

    Cut a piece of dowel 5/8 inch in length with a hacksaw. Use appropriate dowels if you used a bigger bit. Squirt some glue into the hole. Tap the dowel into the hole with a hammer. Wait one hour for the glue to dry.

  3. 3

    Sand the dowel flush with the surface of the guitar body with 100 grit sandpaper on a hand block. Sand again with 220 grit sandpaper with the sandpaper folded in your fingers.

Tips and warnings

  • If you can't find a dowel that matches the colour of your guitar body, use a stain marker to colour the end of the dowel before finishing. If you're painting the guitar don't worry about matching. It should also be noted that you can't patch holes in acoustic guitars.
  • Always wear breathing and eye protection when working with wood, putty or finishing products. A Forstner bit cuts cleaner holes than other types of bit.

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