Mend a stripped screw hole in wood

Debbie McDonald
by Debbie McDonald
We have an arnoire with a sagging door because the hinge screw hole is augered out. How can we fix it?
This a picture of the damaged wood where the hinge needs to be mounted.
  49 answers
  • Adrianne C Adrianne C on Sep 27, 2015
    Wooden matchstick inserted in the hole and broken or snipped to be flush and gorilla glue.
  • Jonnie Hammon Jonnie Hammon on Sep 27, 2015
    Break some toothpicks, put them in the hole, then put the screw back in.
  • Melanie Fowler Gross Melanie Fowler Gross on Sep 27, 2015
    They actually have metal screw hole inserts at Home Depot for this reason. Just tell them what you need. I had a couch that had a leg that the screw hole was stripped out. This product fixed it right up. It just glues in the previous hole.
  • Theresaloren Theresaloren on Sep 27, 2015
    I used wood filler and drilled a tiny hole before adding screw. It has been holding up for years now.
  • Dana Rogers Spear Dana Rogers Spear on Sep 27, 2015
    I don't know if it would work for this project, but I just fixed the holes in a door frame by drilling a hole slightly larger than the existing one, inserting a dowel about the size of the drilled hole. I marked the dowel, cut it on my miter saw, and with some wood glue, inserted the dowel piece into the drilled hole. I also bought some wood Bondo off amazon to make everything flush (the door jamb was pretty damaged, so depending on how flush the dowel is, this step may not be necessary.) After everything was dry I sanded and painted. The door hinge is nice and sturdy.
  • Amy Auclair Pickerell Amy Auclair Pickerell on Sep 27, 2015
    I take a wooden dowel that fits snugly in the hole. Put a thin coat of wood glue on the dowel then insert it into the hole. Let it dry then cut it off even with the wood. Make a small pilot hole then screw hinge back in.
    • Cindy K Cindy K on Sep 27, 2015
      If she doesn't have a wood dowel small enough, use wooden match stick or wooden skewers dipped in wood glue, trim off even after it dries. @
  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Sep 27, 2015
    The easiest way to repair this is just use wood filler and let dry before you put the screw back in.
  • Gary Stenzel Gary Stenzel on Sep 27, 2015
    Toothpicks dipped in glue, jam in as many as you can. Give it a good whack with a hammer. Let the glue dry. Cut them all off with a razor blade. Reassemble. Done.
  • Gary Kerbein Gary Kerbein on Sep 27, 2015
    Another way to a tight fit is to use a wood golf tee, glue to hold it and lubricate as well. Tap it in, give it maybe an hour to set, trim to surface, drill a pilot hole for new screw and this will be a tight fit. Here I use sawdust mixed with wood glue and fill too, sand and it is sturdy and stainable.
  • Tammy Gibson Tammy Gibson on Sep 27, 2015
    Take a heavy duty rubber band and put it over rge end of your screwdriver and your screw will twist right out! GUARANTEED!:)
  • John Buster John Buster on Sep 27, 2015
    yes....just put a sliver of wood, I often use just a toothpick into the the screw back into the hole, and break or cut off any toothpick that is sticking every time, like a glue or anything else, is needed
  • Crystal Crystal on Sep 27, 2015
    Its more trouble but you could move your hinge up or down and make a new hole!
  • Joanie Joanie on Sep 27, 2015
    Put glue all the way around a wood dowel that is the closest diameter to the screw hole. push in as far as it will go and allow to completely dry.(24 hours would be great). Now you can reinsert your screws.
  • Duv310660 Duv310660 on Sep 27, 2015
    stuff in toothpicks, breaking them off level with the wood, until firmly packed. When you screw in your screw, it will force the wood picks to expand even further, against the too-big hole edges. It's quick, works great, and once you know it you can adapt it to other repair-challenges.
  • Christine Christine on Sep 27, 2015
    II do the same thing as @duvall.26. When I pick up furniture, often they have signs that someone made many attempts to get the hinges right, or changed them, whatever. I fill them with toothpicks. Break one in half, put the broken end in. Gently hammer the remaining pointy one in beside it, then break them both off. I don't bother with glue because a squirt of water swells them up. Not only do they fix a hole, if you drill beside them that hole won't tear out from weakness.
  • Roxanne Roxanne on Sep 27, 2015
    I fill mine with Durham wood fill comes in powder form easy 1-3 ratio Take off hinge and mix until gooey but firm. Fill holes with putty knife sand excess when dry and you can drill new holes. Drys harder than wood. You can also tape around area so not to hurt stain
  • Jeanette S Jeanette S on Sep 27, 2015
    We have found that filling the hole with glue and inserting toothpicks is the easiest and best method. Let it drive good and reinsert screws! And the good thing is you probably have both of these on hand! We just use whatever Elmer's glue that we have around at the time of need! Good luck.
  • Lauren365 Lauren365 on Sep 27, 2015
    you could also move the hinge up a few inches. Since they're not seen form the outside, it doesn't matter if it's not in the original position. And its a good exercise in checking your OCD!!! ;)
  • Allan Allan on Sep 27, 2015
    Golf tees work as well
  • Pam1521664 Pam1521664 on Sep 27, 2015
    A little bit of sawdust and elders glue work great let dry and it's ready . If you don't have saw dust put in glue and insert a wooden toothpick and break it off even wait till it drys and put in screw.
  • Vicky Johnson Vicky Johnson on Sep 27, 2015
    Toothpicks and glue!
  • Tammy Robertson Tammy Robertson on Sep 27, 2015
    You can take a piece of dowel and push it into the hole. Sand the top down to same level as the wood and then its ready to be drilled for a new hole
  • Mama Rose Mama Rose on Sep 27, 2015
    I have lit a match, put it out and then used the match,. It all depends on the size of the hole. Sometimes a couple of toothpicks or matches glued in, dried up, works beautifully.
  • Wilhelmina Roberson Wilhelmina Roberson on Sep 27, 2015
    Tooth pics and glue. Put as many as possible, tap in some with hammer. Let dry and replace screw.
  • Tica Tica on Sep 27, 2015
    Elmers has a glue specific to wood. Make a paste of this glue with saw dust. Fill the hole and then clean the overfill so that you have a smooth surface. When dry, redrill the hole and install the wood screw as needed.
  • Scot_belle Scot_belle on Sep 27, 2015
    A small hole...toothpicks and glue work to replace the missing wood, but if the hole is larger then I use either a golf tee (if it is handy) or a wooden dowel. By refilling the stripped hole with wood, no matter the size, this provides a good bite for the screw. If you plan on staining, try not to have any glue visible glue does not take stain well and this can detract from the furniture in question.
  • Helen Miller Helen Miller on Sep 27, 2015
    I keep a small container of dry wood filler (inexpensive from Home Depot), and mix a small amount on an old lid with water. Stir and fill the hole. Level and if possible make a tiny hole in center with a piece of wire or such, when dry just screw a new screw in and it is like new. Use this for most repairs on any wood project. Helen Miller San Antonio, Texas.
  • Laurie Powell Laurie Powell on Sep 27, 2015
    If the hole is larger than a toothpick us a piece of wood dowel, the same size as the hole. You might have to use a hammer to pound it in tight. Use wood glue & wait until it dries over night. Then drill your knob back into the correct place so it doesn't sag any more. You can use this technique for any hole! :)
  • Ginger Ginger on Sep 27, 2015
    I've always use a wooden match, stick in and then break off. Always worked for me.
    • Kaytedec Kaytedec on Sep 27, 2015
      I've always used a match or toothpick-no glue-and it's always worked just fine. Simpler the better!
  • Anna Anna on Sep 27, 2015
    use a longer screw
  • Meyndert Borrie Bornman Meyndert Borrie Bornman on Sep 27, 2015
    Drill a snug hole to take a fisher plastic plug and insert the screws. It will expand inside the hole and stay for ever.
  • Mary Mary on Sep 27, 2015
    Use toothpicks and wood glue; fill the hole with the toothpicks after applying wood glue to them. Pack em in! I mean pack em! Let it dry throughly before you re-hand the door.
  • Rebekka Rebekka on Sep 27, 2015
    I have used the same method Mary described many times. I has always worked beautifully! Toothpicks and wood glue!
  • Denice Penney Denice Penney on Sep 27, 2015
    Yes, the toothpicks and wood glue always have worked for me!
  • Berniece Cronquist Berniece Cronquist on Sep 28, 2015
    My Dad used to take some Elmers or wood glue and squirt some in the hold, then he would push some wood toothpicks into the hole until no more would fit. After the glue dried he would break off the ends of the toothpicks that were sticking out. He had some good solid wood then to screw the screw back in. Its worked for me every time.
  • C C on Sep 28, 2015
    I totally agree with the toothpick and wood glue solution. I personally prefer to squirt the glue in and then pack the hole with the toothpicks. It creates less mess in my experience, but either way works.
  • Mars Mars on Sep 28, 2015
    Use tooth picks and wood glue, that's how I do it.
  • Vicki Althouse Vicki Althouse on Sep 28, 2015
    Just showed my 21 y.o. grandson that trick. He's one that can fix about anything, but I showed him that trick. He was surprised that grandma knew that trick. Hey I didn't get to be 71 for nothing. Working like a charm.
  • Denice Penney Denice Penney on Sep 29, 2015
    It's amazing how the youngr generation thinks that us Grandma's don't know anything! I bet they wouldn't know what half the tools I have are!! Lol
  • Rebecca Bender Rebecca Bender on Sep 29, 2015
    Glad I read this! I was getting ready to tackle this myself. I had heard that to fill a hole in wood you could mix saw dust and wood glue, I was going to try that, but for stripped out screw holes I guess I'll try the toothpicks! But I suppose the saw dust might work good in other instances?
    • Mars Mars on Sep 30, 2015
      @Rebecca Bender I use the saw dust for covering the holes, to hide the screw.
  • Sandy Sandy on Sep 30, 2015
    U CAN ALSO USE WOoden matches.........more solid
  • Tina Hill Tina Hill on Sep 30, 2015
    wooden golf tees, wedged in as tight it will go .... you may need to shorten it before putting it into the screw hole and /or you may have to cut it off flush ... and use a good wood glue and mix in some sawdust if you got any , once dry you can then screw it back together!
  • Skshort Skshort on Oct 03, 2015
    Ahhh, girl power! VBG
  • JESS JESS on Oct 07, 2015
    MINWAX wood putty is what professionals use. Follow directions. Let it dry for 24 hours and screw your hardware back into place. Good for filling holes in all sorts of wood.
  • Carrie Hawk Carrie Hawk on Dec 20, 2015
    A wooden dowel works perfectly. You'll have to use a drill bit the same size as the dowel to clean out the bad hole. Cut the dowel to length. Use wood glue to put in the dowel. Leave 24 hours and drill the new screw hole. Shouldn't be noticeable.
  • Marion Nesbitt Marion Nesbitt on Dec 21, 2015
    Agree with Jess.
  • Pascal Pascal on Jun 26, 2017

    There a new product we just released at several ACE Hardware in San Diego called Screw-it-Again ( It is an anchor that has 9 sections so it can be used for all size holes. You just screw the anchor in the hole (for a hinge you don't even need to remove the hinge). When it is tight you snap it and screw the screw back it. Takes less than a minute and wo

    • Debbie McDonald Debbie McDonald on Jun 26, 2017

      Well, that's cool and good to know. I mended my stripped screw hole the old fashion way with a wooden matchstick and glue. It's still holding up. However, there are times. When that method won't work.

      Thank you Pascal!

  • C C on Jun 26, 2017

    I've taken a toothpick and put in the hole with some wood glue and screwed the screw back in.