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Best wood filler for a switch hole

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by maloburro, Feb 27, 2021.

  1. maloburro

    maloburro Tele-Holic

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    Hello all.

    My good buddy picked up an SG custom that the previous owner had drilled two small holes in. They are around the controls for on off switches that he took out and now he wants to fill and try to stain walnut brown like the rest of the guitar.

    Do you guys have any suggestions? I saw the JB wood filler as well as Minwax. I’m thinking we will fill it let it dry and then reinforce it from inside, just trying to get an idea of what will be relatively strong and able to stain the color of the guitar.

    thank you

    ryan
     
  2. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    plastic wood is my choice for filling holes, but in that case, assuming it's a Gibson, I'd get some mahogany and turn down some face grain dowels and glue them in with yellow glue.
     
  3. RobRiggs

    RobRiggs Tele-Meister

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    I think guitarbuilder is spot on. The filler won’t look good unpainted. Face grain dowels will match the mahogany grain, especially with Gibson’ semi-translucent finishes.
     
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  4. medownsouth

    medownsouth Tele-Holic Gold Supporter

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    Yep; +1 on using a dowel.
     
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  5. maloburro

    maloburro Tele-Holic

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    Thank you! Yes it’s a Gibson.

    great idea I hadn’t even thought!

    Now to track down face grain dowels.
     
  6. EsquireOK

    EsquireOK Poster Extraordinaire

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    Wood filler is a BAD idea on finished wood, especially if you know that the finish is solvent based (as it is on a Gibson). Many wood fillers contain solvents that will melt lacquer right off.

    You want mahogany plugs. Not dowels. Plugs. There is a difference, and it's important.

    How big are these holes? You need to bore them out machine smooth, and get a plug cutter of the corresponding diameter.

    For finishing, use nail polish. These guitars were not stained; they were painted with translucent laquer. A stained and clear coated plug will not look right. Mix various colors with clear, and get it right on test wood first.
     
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  7. EsquireBoy

    EsquireBoy Friend of Leo's

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    Dowels all the way, and it’s really not so much harder to deal with than filler.
     
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  8. maxvintage

    maxvintage Poster Extraordinaire

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    Make face grain dowels with a plug cutter. You can turn them down, it they are long enough, in a drill press or just a drill, or even by hand. You might not need to turn them if the hole is a standard size

    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07FS9RNWP/?tag=tdpri-20
     
  9. EsquireBoy

    EsquireBoy Friend of Leo's

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    English is not my primary language, and I really do not know what the difference is. I see what I would use, but do not know if I should call it dowels or plugs!
     
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  10. EsquireOK

    EsquireOK Poster Extraordinaire

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    Two words for two different things.

    Dowels are cut along the grain. The ends are end grain.

    Plugs are cut across the grain. The ends are face grain.

    Dowels are usually longer, and largely structural.

    Plugs are usually more "squat," and largely cosmetic.

    Both have their places.

    Dowels are good for structural strength, and for filling holes in end grain. They are not good for exposed wear surfaces. The end grains don't manage abrasion as well, and have the potential to absorb more moisture.

    Plugs don't bear as much stress, but they are appropriate for filling face grain. They resist wear and moisture absorption better than the end grain of a dowel, and they cosmetically match face grain.
     
  11. jfgesquire

    jfgesquire Tele-Afflicted

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    +1 on the plugs with the same grain direction. Pre made dowels will NOT be correct, you COULD use a plug cutter, like these:

    https://www.harborfreight.com/plug-cutter-set-4-pc-60613.html
     
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  12. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Dowels are end grain ( think of a handful of straws) and suck up the stain or dye. You want to find somebody that can make dowel sized plugs, as the above folks mentioned. This could require turning down some wood to do it. I do it once in a while on my little lathe.
     
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  13. Boreas

    Boreas Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Depending on the size of the holes to be filled, some hardware and lumber stores sell hardwood plugs in the furniture repair section.
     
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  14. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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  15. dogmeat

    dogmeat Friend of Leo's

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    a plug it the right fix. done the right way they could be almost invisible. for instance, I have a box of veneers with half a dozen samples of different mahoganys. Ive done repairs where I find the right grain and fit a piece to the hole. the hole gets filled, leaving the plug slightly proud so any glue can be scraped or sanded off. then finish

    two other thoughts are make a different pickguard to cover the holes.

    glue diamonds in the holes for bling... ha ha. or brass studs
     
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  16. maloburro

    maloburro Tele-Holic

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    Thank you all! I can’t believe I hadn’t thought of this.

    It’s a 70s SG custom in transparent brown with no pickguard. I’ll try to get him to send me a pic and post here.
     
  17. EsquireBoy

    EsquireBoy Friend of Leo's

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    Thanks a lot for the clarification!
    A plug was indeed what I was thinking of, since the wood is really thin around the cavity of an SG anyway.
     
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  18. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity

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    let's see a photograph of the dastardly deed.. that way we can give ya a real cure, not some temporary "band-aid"
     
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  19. maxvintage

    maxvintage Poster Extraordinaire

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    Imagine a board. The wide sides that face you when you lay it down are "face grain." The ends of the board are "end grain." Face grain and end grain behave differently--end grain doesn't take screws or glue as well as face grain, for example, and end rain takes stain and color very differently

    The dowels you buy in a hardware store will show "end grain" at the top and bottom. They won't look right and they won't take stain or color right

    If you have a woodcraft store near you, or really most any hardwood lumber yard, you can buy a mahogany board. Lay it down and use a plug cutter to cut a plug of the right size: now you have an plug that will show face grain
     
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  20. maloburro

    maloburro Tele-Holic

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    Here is the carnage.
     

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