I took the legs off a cutting board because I want to use both sides of it. That has left four screw holes about 5mm (0.2") in diameter.

Would it be OK to fill these holes with Titebond III glue or should I plug them with some wood and Titebond glue?

From my research of previous questions it seems that epoxy, or saw dustand adhesive filling are also solutions for a small hole.

Would filling using just Titebond be adequate or would it cause problems?

The cutting board is made of end-grain walnut, and is new but looks really dry so I'm thinking if I use Titebond I'll do that before replenishing with oil.

I have no experience with woodworking though if it's a simple enough job I can give it a go.

  • Re. the oiling, just wanted to mention that some people prefer to fill their boards with wax rather than use oil which much more easily washes out of the surface. A little more on this in this Answer.
    – Graphus
    Commented Oct 23, 2020 at 8:00

1 Answer 1


Since this is an end-grain board filling the holes by glueing in dowels seems the ideal fix.

But you could fill with a mix of sawdust (sanding dust) and glue and get a somewhat similar look. The reason that sawdust + glue mixtures are frequently not recommended is because they end up so dark compared to the surrounding wood. And that's because such filler material is similar to end grain. But here that's not a problem, it's actually an advantage.

However I think the best approach in this case is to glue in a dowel. If you don't have any suitable walnut dowel but have others you could use another species to make these a deliberate feature (i.e use a contrasting species of a lighter colour). If you would prefer to have the filled holes be as unobtrusive as possible and you have some scrap walnut you can easily and quickly make a basic dowel plate to form your own dowels. A dowel plate at simplest is just a piece of steel with one or more holes drilled in it. Doesn't need to be tool steel, it can be mild steel (and surprisingly thin) if it doesn't have to last.

A quick overview of one approach to using a dowel plate can be seen here on Fine Woodworking.

Paul Sellers has even demonstrated how it's possible to make quick-and-dirty dowels by pounding through the hole in a washer, see that and more here.

  • Thank you. What should the diameter of a dowel be in relation to the diameter of the hole? The holes have a different diameters at different points because of the groove the screws left in the wood. This ranges from 3.7mm to 4.3mm for any one hole. I have found a 5mm dowel, should I sand these down until they fit and hammer them in? Is there any risk this will cause excess outward pressure on the wood and cause it to split?
    – extrasalt
    Commented Oct 26, 2020 at 8:08
  • Diameter should be nominally the same as the hole they'll fit. If it's too tight (really impossible to insert, they should require gentle taps from a hammer or mallet) then you only need to sand them minimally to fit. "Is there any risk this will cause excess outward pressure on the wood and cause it to split? " Slight, but some. Nobody can say for sure because it depends on the wood used and the construction. These fills aren't structural, the dowel just basically needs to sit there in the hole. So I don't think you need to sweat this too much other than on an aesthetic level.
    – Graphus
    Commented Oct 26, 2020 at 9:55
  • Have you given thought to how you'll make them flush? The rule of thumb is you tap home over-long dowels and then saw flush (if you have a suitable saw) or close to flush if you don't, and then pare to flush with a sharp chisel, and perhaps finish by sanding. You mention you have no woodworking experience so I'm presuming here you have minimal tools at your disposal too so you may have to do this only by sanding once they're close to flush, but it's almost impossible to avoid having to quite a bit more corrective sanding of the surrounding surface due to errant scratches.
    – Graphus
    Commented Oct 26, 2020 at 9:57
  • I was thinking of cutting it and sanding it flush but hadn't really thought about it in detail. I just watched a video about paring with a chisel. That looks fun. I'll ask a relative who might have some tools to see if they can help with this. Thanks so much for your advice. It's all been really helpful. What grit sandpaper do you think would be suitable to finish a cutting board with?
    – extrasalt
    Commented Oct 26, 2020 at 10:32
  • Yes paring with a chisel *is* fun, but 2 things to note. It's not quite as easy as it looks when someone with experience is doing it :-) This is a working chopping block though, not furniture, so any slight marring of the surrounding area shouldn't really be considered a problem, although YMMV. 2nd is the chisel has to be as sharp as can be — literally razor sharp is the goal (comfortably able to shave arm hair). Which is not something the typical beginner can really hope to achieve. So if you don't get the chisels in that condition probably not realistic to expect you can get them there.
    – Graphus
    Commented Oct 27, 2020 at 9:20

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