Gifted amateur working with variety of different woods like pine,oak and something from Indonesia that I haven't typed yet. If one needs to use caps or plugs for recessed screw/nails you would just go to the store and buy the ones to match your project.

I don't have that wide variety of stores to draw from and of the ones that are accessible they are usually beveled and not flat. I don't typically stain my projects so it is important to me to match the colour from the get go.

To try and work with what I have I was trying to take saw dust from my cuts, mix it up with carpenters/wood glue and jam it in the hole. Once it dried chisel of the chunks and sand down. It makes for a nice effect but moisture gets in there and usually ruins it.

Anyone have any kludges or other approaches to making plugs or hiding screws in general?

2 Answers 2


It's called a plug cutter.

(source: rockler.com)

image shamelessly stolen borrowed from Rockler

Cut your plugs from a scrap piece of whatever you're making your project out of.

Also, a screwdriver makes an excellent pry-bar for breaking the plug out of the board. I don't recall whether with- or cross-grain is the way to go, but it should take less than 30 seconds to figure that one out. Even if you do gouge the end of the plug a bit with the screwdriver, you can put that end in the hole and nobody will know, or if the plug is too deep, the damaged end can stick out and be removed when you cut/sand the plug flush.

  • That is awesome. I didn't even know what was a thing.
    – Matt
    Commented Mar 18, 2015 at 20:21
  • It is indeed! That is just one of many, many examples, and I thought it was the nicest & most effective picture of the first 5 or 6 that show up on a Google search for "plug cutter". I'm sure Rockler's are very high quality, but not necessarily the most cost effective, and this isn't an endorsement of theirs.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Mar 18, 2015 at 20:24
  • This is very cool. +1 for the image caption and the new info :)
    – Blue Ice
    Commented Mar 18, 2015 at 21:26
  • From experience ... I don't pry the plug out. When drilling, leave a little material on the back. After that, I would recommend a bandsaw or a thicknessing sander to remove the backs. I've used a tablesaw but it tended to chip the plugs.
    – Daniel B.
    Commented Jun 9, 2015 at 18:05
  • @DanielB.that's an option, as well, but if you notice, the piece of wood in the picture has not been cut all the way through, yet the plugs are out. The one in the middle looks like it has a slight nick in the left hand edge from the pry-out process. Nothing against your method, it just might be overkill, or dangerous if you're cutting from a small scrap. It's also inconvenient if you make a few plugs, then cut them out, then later need to make some more.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Jun 9, 2015 at 18:09

Besides using a plug cutter as suggested by FreeMan, you can cut plugs from a dowel. If you cannot find a commercially-manufactured dowel of the correct size or wood species, you can make your own.

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