Whether you are a hobbyist or professional woodworker, you will often use wood fillers to seal holes in wood or fix various surface imperfections.
Whatever the application, you may want to attach a piece of filled wood to another at some point. But, can you screw into wood filler? Can you attach pieces of wood with a screw through the area with wood filler?
Read along to learn the possibilities of wood fillers in drilling holes and attaching wood pieces using screws.
Can You Screw into Wood Filler?
Yes, you can drill and screw into epoxy-based wood fillers when dry. However, it is often essential to drill a hole into a wood filler before dragging a screw into it. Screwing directly into an epoxy can cause it to crack since epoxies are generally very dense.
So, if you want to screw into a wood filler, first allow it to become fully cured. Then use a power tool to drill a small pilot hole into the filler to screw into it successfully.
Also, not all wood glues or fillers will accept drilling and screwing. Multipurpose or two-part epoxies are the best types for screwing. These will give you the best results as they are unlikely to crack.
What is Wood Epoxy Filler?
Wood epoxy filler is a product used to fill nail holes, cracks, dents, and other holes in wood. They are also used to level out the wood surface, removing any surface imperfections and making it smooth and even.
Some woodworkers also use epoxy to fill and smoothen the surfaces of woods with wide grain. Epoxy is also an excellent way to conceal the heads screws or nails in the wood.
If you have wood that splits or forms dents on the surface due to wear and tear, you can apply an epoxy wood filler to fix such imperfections.
Of course, since the product dries hard, you can always paint or apply some other finish over it, making the wood surface as good as new.
Different Types of Wood Filler for Screws
Wood fillers are not all created equal. Some can be screwed, while others will break if you drive a screw through it.
Your project can have a screwable wood filler or non-screwable option. For the best results, you must know if you have a wood filler that can be screwed into. This will help you decide better and achieve the desired results.
Here are the different kinds of wood fillers you will likely use on your next project.
Multipurpose wood fillers
Multipurpose wood fillers are quick-drying and have numerous benefits. They allow for quick as easy filling of holes in wood, leaving a tough, weatherproof finish that does not crack or shrink.
Multipurpose wood fillers can flex and bend with the wood despite drying hard. This typically makes them suitable for use outdoors and indoors.
You can also use this type of wood filler to fix any size of the hole in the wood. The product is ideal for suboptimal weather conditions since it dries in just two hours.
Like other wood fillers, you can sand, stain, varnish, or paint over this filler—even though it comes in various colors. You can find it in tubes, tubs, or cartridges.
More importantly, this is one of the only two types of wood fillers that can be nailed and screwed.
Two-part epoxy wood fillers
This is the other type of wood epoxy that you can drill into and use screws on. These epoxies are formulated to hold screws and nails in place.
They are made up of resins and hardeners that create hard and durable fillers. To use a two-part epoxy wood filler, you must apply an undercoat first, followed by a second coat to create a hard-drying substance.
This two-part method of applying them is the reason they are so called. Once dry on the wood surface, these fillers are very stable. They do not expand or shrink. So you can count on them to stay in the wood without issues after applying them.
Such epoxy-type wood fillers create a moisture-resistant surface that is also resistant to insect damage. In addition, they allow for various finishing options, including staining and painting after sanding them accordingly.
Exterior wood fillers
As the name suggests, exterior wood fillers are designed for use outdoors. The outdoor environment is volatile and subject to extreme temperature and moisture changes.
An exterior grade epoxy must possess some waterproofing property. Its resistance to weather damage makes it suitable for use outdoors and in marine environments.
If you are finishing a piece of wood that you intend to keep outside, exterior wood fillers are your best bet.
These wood fillers are generally waterproof, with the required resilience to various weather elements. Like other epoxies, they can be sanded, stained, painted, and polished.
Since exterior wood fillers are significantly flexible, you can drill nails and screw holes through them. They hold nails and screws in place significantly well.
Simple wood filler
Simple wood fillers are typically made through a simple process of mixing sawdust and carpenter’s glue. The glue can usually be white or yellow, and the sawdust often from the same wood as the one being filled.
This simple process of making the filler is the reason it is so-called. Some people also refer to it as a wood stopper.
Simple wood filler can also be made from chalk or ground limestone and linseed. Simple wood fillers are not ideal for drilling, screwing, or nailing due to their simple formula.
They are quick and easy to make and come in handy for quick fixes. However, they are typically low quality and unlikely to offer enough support to hold a nail or screw in place. Here’s a step-by-step process of making simple wood filler at home.
Wood Fillers You Can Drill Into
We have mentioned the various drillable wood filler options available in the sections above.
That said, the drillable wood fillers are:
- Multipurpose wood fillers,
- Exterior wood fillers, and;
- Two-part wood fillers.
Can Wood Filler Hold a Screw?
Yes. Epoxy wood filler can hold a screw once it is fully dry. The material dries to a hard substance that offers structural support to the wood and is capable of holding a screw or nail in place when inserted correctly.
To ensure that a wood filler holds a screw, you must first drill a hole through the filler before inserting the screw.
Also, you need to ensure it is a wood filler that will hold screws since some wood fillers can break if screwed.
Why is it not a Good Idea to Drill a Screw into Wood Glue?
While wood glue manufacturers generally claim that their products can support and hold the screw in place, they cannot replace the strength of natural wood.
The epoxy generally dries into a hard surface that you can screw or nail into, but the nail or screw must be small for it to stay well in the position.
Ideally, a wood filler cannot hold larger, heavier screws or nails. This makes drilling into one less than ideal. Often, this option is simply for cosmetic purposes rather than functional.
Depending on the epoxy type, the screw can become loose before long. Wood fillers simply lack the structural strength to hold weightier screws over time. Screwing into epoxy for joints prone to movement or carrying loads is a bad idea.
The joint will not hold for long, and the screwed section may come apart pretty soon. Otherwise, some wood fillers should do a good job holding attached wood pieces as long as they do not carry much weight.
How Do You Fix a Stripped Screw Hole in Wood?
A stripped screw is one with worn-out head slots. A screwdriver may not grip and turn such a screw because it has little to grab on.
Old screws may become stripped after being turned clockwise and anticlockwise over time. You could also strip a relatively new screw by tightening it beyond its threshold.
In such a case, the pressure often strips the screw hole, causing the screw not to tighten.
If you have a stripped screw hole with the screw inside it, you must find a way to fix the stripped screw hole for the joined pieces to remain attached.
There are a few methods you can use to fix this problem. In any case, you will want to start by removing the stripped screw from the hole before fixing it.
You can typically use a pair of needle-nose pliers to remove the screw, then replace the missing wood with a wood epoxy filler, wood dowels, toothpicks, or match sticks. You could also use a larger screw to create new threads in the stripped hole.
Here is a detailed look at each method.
Method 1: Filling the hole with epoxy and drilling it
Wood epoxy fillers dry into a hard material. So, you can always insert generous amounts of screwable wood filler into the stripped screw hole to replace the missing wood.
Let the epoxy dry fully, then drill it before driving the screw into it to create fresh threads. It is essential to let the filler dry fully before drilling and inserting the screw. When you drill wood filler, a standard twist drill bit should do an excellent job.
Different wood fillers have different drying and setting times. Ensure you read and follow the instructions on the product label regarding setting times.
Not all epoxies will do the job well, so ensure you use a multipurpose wood filler, exterior wood filler, or two-part wood filler. While any of these three can do the job, we recommend a two-part epoxy resin.
The wood filler option may be a quick fix, but it is not a lasting solution. Instead, consider any of the methods below if you need something more durable.
Method 2: Fixing the hole with matchsticks or toothpick
Matchsticks and toothpicks are made of wood, which makes them good candidates for supplying the missing wood. Using either of these requires wood glue as well. More specifically, here is the list of things you will need for the task.
- Matchsticks or toothpicks
- Good quality wood glue
- Sharp chisel
Steps to follow
Once you have all the required supplies, start by cleaning the old screw hole as best you can to remove all the loose wood fibers inside it.
If you opt for matchsticks, first remove their heads and then coat them with your chosen wood glue. Often, Titebond glues tend to do the work well.
Next, place the coated sticks inside the hole and gently tap them in with a hammer. You want to ensure you fill the hole completely with matchsticks soaked in high-quality wood glue.
Once the hole is full, leave the sticks to dry for a few hours. After they are dry, use a chisel and hammer to cut off the excess match sticks to let them sit flush with the rest of the wood surface.
Next, use the right-size drill bit to create a pilot hole through the dry matchsticks. This pre-drilling is necessary if you are not using self-tapping screws.
Finally, insert the screw back in to complete the job.
Method 3: Filling the hole with dowels of the same wood
Instead of matchsticks or toothpicks, you can opt for a wooden dowel instead. This is by far the best way to fix a stripped screw hole in wood. It is akin to supplying the wood with its actual missing pieces instead of ‘grafts.’
Here are the supplies you will need to complete the job.
- Small wooden dowels (you can buy these or chop them yourself)
- Good quality wood glue
- Sharp chisel or flush cut trim saw
Steps to follow
The procedure of using wooden dowels is similar to that of toothpicks or matchsticks, with only a minor variation. If you choose to make the dowels yourself from a piece of scrap wood, ensure you chop them to the size you want.
Alternatively, you could go instead for fluted dowels—whatever works better for you.
Step 1: Drill out the stripped hole to allow the dowels to fit. Once you have your dowels, your next task is to ensure they fit in the stripped hole. This requires expanding the diameter of the existing hole by drilling it to allow the dowel to slide in easily.
Step 2: Apply glue to the dowel. The glue will help with striking the dowel in place. So cover the dowel in a thin coat of glue.
Step 3: Insert the dowel in the hole. You want the dowel to fit tightly against the walls of the hole you just drilled. So tap it gently with a hammer until it enters all the way in. The glue should provide an airtight seal against the walls of the hole in your wood.
Step 4: Let it dry and cut off the excess wood. Once the dowel is in place, wipe off any excess glue and let it dry completely.
The product label should tell you how much drying time to give it, often about 6 hours. Once dry, use a sharp chisel and the hammer to cut off the protruding part of the dowel, so it sits flush with the wooden surface. You can also use a small flush cut trim saw for this purpose.
Step 5: Pre-drill a new hole into the dowel. Be sure to create a smaller hole than the screw, so it can thread its way in.
Once done, you can now put the screw back in to finish the job.
Method 4: Use a larger screw
An easier workaround is simply swapping the stripped screw with a larger one. In this case, the existing screw hole will act as a pilot hole for the larger screw.
The larger diameter of the new screw should allow it to create new threads in the wood, allowing it to fix itself firmly in the hole.
Can You Reuse Screw Holes in Wood?
Yes, you can reuse any screw holes that are small enough to allow the screw to fix itself tightly inside them. Otherwise, you may have to fill the hole with epoxy or wood dowels drill a small pilot hole afresh before inserting the screw.
Best Wood Filler for Screw Holes
1. Screwable wood filler – Minwax High-Performance Filler
- This item is a Minwax High-Performance Wood Filler, 12-Ounce Can #21600
- Purpose of use for Hardware, wood-fill
- This product is manufactured in United States
- High-performance wood filler
- Hardens in 15-minutes; sandable in 30-minutes
This 12-ounce epoxy is one of the best wood fillers in the market. Its fast-drying formula means it will harden in 15-minutes and become sandable in 30.
Additionally, the hard-drying epoxy wood filler from Minwax does not shrink, crack, or fall out. Once dry, you can easily drill it and drive your screw into it for great results. We especially love how resistant this filler is to weather, water, and rot.
2. Editor’s choice – J-B Weld Wood Epoxy Adhesive
- J-B WELD ORIGINAL: The Original Cold Weld two-part epoxy system that was designed as an alternative to torch welding. J-B Weld Original provides strong, lasting repairs to multiple surfaces and creates a bond stronger than steel. Perfect for DIY household, automotive, marine, craft repair and much more.
- CURE AND SET TIME: After mixing the tubes at a 1:1 ratio, it takes 4-6 hours to set and 15-24 hours to cure. Once cured, J-B Weld Original can be tapped, filled, sanded, molded and drilled. J-B Weld Original’s set and cure color is dark grey.
- VERSATILE & DEPENDABLE: J-B Weld Original is steel reinforced, has a tensile strength of 5020 PSI and can withstand temperatures up to 550 degrees Fahrenheit (287 degrees Celsius). When fully cured, J-B Weld Original is waterproof and resistant to petroleum, chemical and acid.
- SURFACE APPLICATIONS: Metal, Plastic & PVC, Wood, Concrete, Ceramic & Tile and Fiberglass.
- DO IT YOURSELF: Big or small, you can DIY it with J-B Weld. Our heavy duty epoxy and adhesives repair & restore it right the first time. J-B Weld delivers superior performance, quality, and results for the World’s Strongest Bond.
Here is a top-rated wood filler for stripped screw holes designed for perfection. It is a two-part epoxy resin with a fast-setting formula ideal for heavy wood repair jobs.
It does an excellent job filling wood with a rock-solid surface with a tensile strength of approximately 1700 PSI. You will love how this resin is resistant to cracking and shrinking, making it one of the most suitable fillers for screw holes.
Even better, this filler makes your work faster by setting in just under 7 minutes and curing completely within 1 to 3 hours.
Can you screw into Bondo?
Yes, you can screw into Bondo wood filler successfully. The filler also allows for sanding once it is dry, so you can paint over it or stain it instead.
Can you screw into wood glue?
You can screw into wood glue because it dries to form a very strong substance that provides a powerful bond between wooden pieces.
Wood glue to fill screw holes
To fill screw holes with wood glue, put a few teaspoons of the glue in a Dixie cup and mix in sawdust until it forms a thick paste. Then use a putty knife to feed the mixture into your screw hole.
Can epoxy hold screws?
Epoxy resin can hold screws once it is dry and hard. It is recommended to drill a small pilot hole in the dry composite before inserting the screw into it.
Can you screw into epoxy?
Yes, epoxy’s hard and durable nature makes it possible to screw into. However, screwing directly into epoxy without first drilling a hole is not recommended unless you are using self-tapping screws.
If you wondered whether you could screw into a wood filler, we hope this article provided you with the answers you sought.
Screwing into a wood filler is entirely possible, but it is best to start by drilling a hole into the epoxy before inserting the screw for the best results. Alternatively, you can use self-drilling screws and skip the pre-drilling step.
Leave a comment if you have any questions or observations you would like to share.