CMU School of Drama

Friday, March 17, 2017

6 Methods of Plugging Pocket Holes

makezine.com: Of the three filling methods, the wood filler and Bondo worked the best. Brad was surprised at how well the Bondo worked. It sanded up quicker than the wood filler and was even a little tighter and smoother than the regular filler. The glue and sawdust method was pretty much DOA.

8 comments:

Lauren Miller said...

Believe it or not, I have opinions on this. I’m actually kind of surprised too. Obviously the wood filler works, it’s what you’re “supposed” to use. The problems that people encounter when using wood filler is due to improper application (“Oh no! There are gaps in the filling”) or general impatience (it takes a long time to dry). Glue is just terrible to paint and should not be used in a surface filling unless you really want that effect or you have no more money. Bondo is downright dangerous and it is not, as I have heard many people say, “freshman-friendly”. In fact, very few items meant for auto-body repair are friendly for the first time user. I have encountered too many jars of Bondo dried up because someone didn’t read the directions and added the red catalyst to the jar of paste. Bondo is also just terrible for you as a human being. The MSDS sheet is a little terrifying. You really desperately need ventilation when using it, especially during sanding. You can actually feel it when you breathe. A lot of people are trying to move away from using this filler. I personally prefer Durham’s Rock Hard. You mix it with water, it’s easy to clean off containers once it dries. Downsides are that it cracks when applied to a surface that moves and it does not fare well when applied to plastics or metals (Bondo does…). Inhaling the dust is also bad for you, but that can be addressed with ventilation or a mask (while Bondo gives off fumes).

Galen shila said...

I loved this video a lot. i find myself having to fill lots of holes in certain projects at home. My personal favorite is Bondo as well because it works well with pretty much all materials. My only issue that this video didn't cover was the finish you would give the final piece. Basically if you are doing anything other than painting the piece you would want to use a wooden plug so you can preserve some kind of wood grain. Also i find that when most people fill a hole with sawdust and wood glue they do a much better job mixing the solution than this guy did. he said it was too messy but i think if he had taken his time getting a more consistent mixture and applied it a little more carefully he would have gotten a better result. im not sure why anyone would start with an angled plug when your going to flush cut it anyway the many issues with installing it out way the very few benefits of working with angles plugs.

David Kelley said...

I really liked this video. The result of the bondo actually surprised me as well, while I figured it would give a nice smooth clean look I would have expected it to be a little more of a process to get shaped up and smoothed out. The fact that he said it was actually pretty easy to sand makes me interested in it. That being said of the fillers being used I would definitely lean mostly towards wood putty, but I would keep in mind bondo if I was in tight spot and only had bondo on hand. While I'm not necessarily sure were I would use plugs in a theatrical setting due to the way that we fabricate scenery. With that said I really do like the jig he made at the end of the video for the straight plugs, it seems simple and hard to screw up. All in all cool video if not something that we thick about on a daily basis.

Julien Sat-Vollhardt said...

When I came here and we started filling some holes in carpentry, I was actually surprised that we didn't regularly use bondo for cosmetic hole filling. I worked in a tiny carpentry shop for a few months last year, and all we used was bondo to fill holes. Then again, half of this workshop was literally a courtyard, so we didn't really have to worry about fumes or sanding dust or anything. What I really like about Bondo though is its versatility. You know that adding more or less of the catalyst will make it cure faster or slower and you can tailor it to your needs. Also, for permanent installation, you can do no better. There's a reason it's used as auto body filler, it literally sets as hard as rock. For theatrical purposes though, it's not nearly as necessary. Who wants to deal with sanding that anyways when the show is only going to be up for two weeks, we can just use wood filler, which handles the job rather adequately I must say. Bondo is just a more permanent, less porous, harder, and more toxic solution.

William N. Lowe said...

I have a few feelings about this video. I think it is really honest but maybe a little closed. In that latter point I mean that with a method like the glue and sawdust which was new to the user and did not work as planned, he should have played around with it and shown different trials because it could be taken that just this one ratio of glue to sawdust doesn’t work. It was fun to see a flush-cut saw again. I think they are really fun to use. Finally, I miss the point to the angled cut dowels. I would understand more if the angled sides went in first; however, having the angled side out doesn’t make sense for two reasons. First, it is impossible to put in — like he said in the video — because of the angled edge, but second is that you use the flush cut saw to make it angled in the end anyway.

Chris Calder said...

Filling pocket holes is definitely one of the easiest yet most overlooked thing when it comes to woodworking. It could be that it is the last thing to happen before things get sent off to paint and there is no time. Or it could be that people just don’t think it worth it. After viewing this video I would completely agree with all of these methods. If it was me performing this task I would most likely use the wood filler for the fastest method and the dowel for the best finish. At the end of the day it 100 percent up to the person doing it and as long as it is done correctly you will get the same results. The last thing to keep in mind when doing this is knowing your final finish, if it is something like a stain or clear finish you might want to think about using dowels or even a different joint altogether.

Mark Ivachtchenko said...

This is an awesome article since fixing your mistakes and filling the gaps you make while you work is a super important skill when it comes to woodworking. I've definitely done some ghetto methods which include making your own homemade wood filler by using sawdust and wood glue and although it works pretty well, it's not very pretty and stays an exclusively carpentry sort of deal. However, these are great tips for more aesthetic pieces, furniture making, and finer woodworking. Commenting on what Julian says, I was also surprised that we don't use bondo especially because it yields great results as seen in the article but I'm glad we're looking out for our carpenters, students, and faculty members. In terms of the comments made on plugs, I do agree specialty plugs are pretty much a waste because of their increased cost and straight dowels are a pretty great option for scenery and carpentry but in terms of fine woodworking and furniture making, you'd definitely try to hide your pocket holes as much as you can. So, homemade plugs in this case are the only thing you can really do to make the wood match 100%.

Cosette Craig said...

This article is pretty intriguing considering I have arcade due in 5 weeks and people inside a small box having to look at a hundred tiny staple holes would be annoying. So I just watched the part where they write bondo with an exclamation point and I think that’s the only time I’ve ever seen someone so excited about bondo. Also before even finishing the bondo segment of this video, I flashbacked to all the horrible experiences I had had with it in the past and decided to root against it. It ended up looking good but there is now shop I can think of with good enough ventilation to be able to use bondo to fill every hole in a piece of furniture. The dowels looked very nice as a finished product but joint compound is the way to go. It’s easy to use, smooth finish and blends into the wood sans grain.

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