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Old 09-03-2010, 10:34 AM   #1
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Plugging Deadbolt Hole in Solid Wood Door

I have a couple of wood interior doors in my house that have deadbolts on them from when there was two apartments in the house. The doors are orignal to the house circa 1890 and I want to patch the holes since all the other original doors are still on the house.

I have one original door that I can cannabilze for the plugs as it has been cut to a short length and not usable anymore.

What should I use to fill the gap around the plug? Wood filler? The doors are stained not painted. Once suggestion I had was to save the sawdust from the cut of the plug and mix with glue to fill the gap.

Looking for suggestiions on how to best tackle and make it look beautiful again.
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Old 09-03-2010, 11:13 AM   #2
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You could cut plugs from the scrap door using a hole saw. Glue in place matching the grain as best you can. Use a stain-able wood filler to fill in the gap. I am afraid it will not he a unnoticeable repair.

Or you could use one of the brass filler plates they make to plug an unused hole
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Old 09-03-2010, 11:30 AM   #3
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Just a suggestion, maybe you can plug the hole the best you can and then install an elongated backing plate of that era. Do a search on "period hardware" and you will find many ornate backing plates for your door. I will guess you have full mortise door hardware if the doors are original. With that type of hardware there are many options to hide the hole.

From my past experience it is very difficult to plug a hole where it doesn't stand out like a sore thumb. In fact the only way I ever had a stained door plugged and looked normal was when I hired a painter who was also an artist and he took great pains disguising the hole.
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Old 09-03-2010, 08:40 PM   #4
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I have an issue of Fine Woodworker where they discuss the question of filling gaps invisibly, including burns, nicks, gouges, holes etc. While it looks great the way they do it, it also looks like an artist did the procedure. The technique is to cut out an irregular wood filler shape, then cut an exactly matching shape out of the piece with an exacto knife or similar.

The trick is that an irregular shape with properly matching grain is effectively invisible, whereas a regular shape (read square, rectangle, circle) stands out no matter how carefully you try to match. The hard part is cutting a perfect match, but the person who did the article had perfected the trick, as they are a furniture restorer, and do this for a living.

In you case, installing a circular plug in a large hole is never going to look perfect, it is too regular. Especially because it is stained, which can accent grain differences. Some people actually paint grain lines onto wood to hide the gap, which might help a little in your case.
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Old 09-04-2010, 12:45 AM   #5
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Use a router inlay kit. Cut a pattern out of a piece of plywood or thin MDF. The secret is in matching the grain. You might start by watching the video here

If you take your time you won't have any filling to do.

Last edited by hayewe farm; 09-04-2010 at 12:49 AM.
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Old 09-04-2010, 07:55 AM   #6
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Hayewe---Great call there!

TMEX---you will be able to make an almost invisible patch using Hayewe's suggestion---I use that method to remove and cover ugly knots in otherwise good hardwood lumber.---Mike---
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