Introduction: Restoring Old Wooden Boards - Fixing Nail Holes

This instructable is written specifically for fixing stains and holes due to nails, but can be extended to other imperfections with a diameter smaller than 12 mm.

The old oak boards had had nails in them, this caused some black stains from the rust. At first I assumed that planing them would help get rid of the stains, but it didn't. I recommend not following this instructable to the letter, but rather keeping the planing step as the last step.


  • Power drill
  • 12 mm drill bit
  • 12 mm plug cutter
  • Glue
  • Mallet

Step 1: Drilling Out

Line up your 12 mm drill with the nail hole, the drill will automatically stay centered around the hole. I do recommend using a drill press, the straighter the hole, the better the end result.

Step 2: Making the Plugs

Use the plug cutter with the same inner diameter as your other drill bit, to create the plugs from a scrap piece of wood.

If and where possible, try using the edges of the board you plan to use the plug in. The chances the grain neatly aligns become much higher and the end result will look prettier.

Step 3: Glue, Hammer and Sawdust

After the plugs have been cut, align them with the existing grain as neatly as possible. Add glue and hammer them in. For finishing up, you can use some sawdust from the plug cutting process. The finer dust will fill any small gaps.

Step 4: Sanding (planing?)

At the end the boards can be sanded for a clean result. As mentioned in the intro, I recommend planing the boards before sanding, I'm guessing this will look even better. Unfortunately, there was no thickness to remove for my project.

You can now use the boards for your project!