Carpenter Trick to Repair Furniture

Why would I shove toothpicks in a hole in my antique cupboard door, you may ask…

Well, an old-timer carpenter taught me this trick, which works fantastic!

What’s the trick? Old Carpenter TrickSuper simple…When you have a loose screw (probably should do a different treatment for the mental sense of a ‘loose screw’… I’m just talking about the literal meaning of a loose screw today) due to the hole it’s screwed into being just a bit too big like I did one day, I realized, when I opened the door of an old cupboard I have in the breakfast room. The top of the door fell off the cupboard, barely holding on by the bottom hinge! Oops, I would recommend fixing those loose cabinet and cupboard doors before it gets to that point, or it can lead to more significant problems. I’m lucky I used the door when it happened, so I could immediately catch it and relieve the tension on the bottom hinge. I’m afraid the door and cupboard could have split if it had let loose when one of my grandchildren opened it.

So here’s how to fix it:

(according to my old carpenter friend that taught me the carpenter trick to repair furniture) too big of hole in doorI removed the door from the cupboard and laid it on a flat surface, (it will need to lie flat overnight, so pick a spot where it can sit for a while) squirt in wood glue

Then I squirted in a bunch of Carpenter’s Wood Glue.

(in this case, I do prefer wood glue, I believe it is more robust and works better for this project) shove in toothpicks

The next thing I did was to fill the hole with toothpicks…

One at a time, shoving the last ones in as hard as I could. A couple of thoughts about this: be sure to try to get the toothpicks to the bottom of the hole; this is important because one of the issues with loose screws can be the gap is too deep. And secondly, try to fill the void; some of the glue will ooze back out of the spot, but that’s OK. For effect, I showed you all the toothpicks long at one time, snipbut it’s much easier if you snip each one once as it’s inserted in the hole. Getting the top of the toothpick flush with the cupboard door is crucial so that your hinge will lie flat on the door when placed back on it. toothpicks and glue filled hole

Once the holes were filled with snipped toothpicks and glue, I let them dry overnight. It’s hard to define separate toothpicks in this photo, but each screw hole did take several toothpicks to fill.


What you’re creating is a wood-based wood filler that will have the strength to give the screw something to grip onto. carpenter trick repair doneWhen you are ready to put the hinge back on the door,

it’s essential that you pre-drill the holes for the screws.

This always helps prevent the screw from slipping around and not going into the wood in the exact spot we’re aiming for and helps prevent the wood from splitting. Just be sure you don’t go too deep or use too large of a drill bit (but if you do, now you know how to fix it!)

The old screws holding the hinge were in terrible shape, and I couldn’t reuse them, but these new screws work great and hold the door on well.

All done!! tv and primitive cupboard-001
This article was written by Simple Decorating Tips