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,
and it really works fantastic!
What’s the trick?
When you have a loose screw, (probably should do a different treatment for the mental sense of a ‘loose screw’… I’m just talking the literal sense of 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 a very old cupboard I have in the breakfast room, and 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 a lot bigger problems. (which is actually true with the mental sense as well, now that you mention it) I’m lucky it was me using the door when it happened, so I could catch it and relieve the tension on the bottom hinge immediately. I’m afraid if it would have let loose when one of my grandchildren were opening it, either or both the door and cupboard could have split.
So here’s how to fix it:
(according to my old carpenter friend that taught me the carpenter trick to repair furniture)
I removed the door from the cupboard and laid it on a flat surface, (it will need to lay flat overnight, so pick a spot that it can sit for a while)
Then I squirted in a bunch of Carpenter’s Wood Glue.
(in this case, I do prefer wood glue, I believe it is stronger and works better for this project)
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 all the way to the bottom of the hole, this is important because one of the issues with loose screws can be the hole is too deep. And secondly, try to completely fill the hole, some of the glue will ooze back out the hole, that’s OK. For effect, I showed you all the toothpicks long at one time,
but in reality, it’s much easier if you snip off each one once as it’s inserted in the hole. It is important to get the top of the toothpick flush with the cupboard door so that your hinge, when placed back on it, will lay flat on the door.
Once the holes were filled with snipped toothpicks and glue, I let it dry overnight. It’s hard to define separate toothpicks in this photo, but each screw hole did take several toothpicks to completely fill it.
Basically, what you’re creating is a wood-based wood filler that will have the strength to give the screw something to grip onto.
It’s important when you are ready to put the hinge back on the door,
that you pre-drill the holes for the screws.
This always helps prevent the screw 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 that were holding the hinge were in really bad shape and I wasn’t able to reuse them, but these new screws work great and hold the door on really well.
This primitive cupboard is very old, and I am loving this addition of it to our breakfast room, I’m so glad that I was able to easily fix the hinge so that it hopefully will be in use for a long time into the future too.
Are you looking for a fun treasure like this cupboard to add character to your place? I love Ebay for a fantastic resource!
Did you know I now offer e-decorating? I can help you with your decorating needs via email, without having to step foot in your home. If you’re interested in more information, visit my e-decorating site: Frame and Frills. I’d love to help you with your project!
Here are more carpentry tips and ideas:
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