Recommend a source or product for filling bolt holes in reclaimed boards

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Forum topic by Lumber2Sawdust posted 06-22-2014 02:02 PM 2225 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Lumber2Sawdust's profile


139 posts in 2834 days

06-22-2014 02:02 PM

I am making a sliding barn-door style door for our remodeling project. I picked up some planks which are reclaimed from the floor of decommissioned semi trailers.

The wood is going to look really nice. I’m cleaning it up right now. What I’m trying to decide on is what to use to fill the holes where the wood was bolted to the trailer. On one side, the bolt heads are counter-sunk so the hole is about 9/16” diameter. On the other side the hole for the bolt shaft is about 5/16”. This is a door for a bathroom, so we don’t want to leave the holes unfilled.

I was thinking something like copper or brass rivets would look nice embedded from each side to fill the holes. Doing a quick search on Amazon brings up small rivets which aren’t large enough to fill the holes. I also found some on Amazon which were a gun-metal black and might be even nicer than copper, but were similar size – 1/16 to 1/8” diameters.

Do you have any suggestions for hardware, or sources of hardware to browse to find something I’m looking for?

14 replies so far

View Nubsnstubs's profile


1282 posts in 1699 days

#1 posted 06-22-2014 02:31 PM

Drill out the holes to make them even, get some brass or copper rod, cut it a little longer, about 1/8”, than the thickness of the wood, and peen them to look like rivets.
Industrial Metals should have brass and copper in the diameter you need. A carbide saw can cut brass and copper without issue. Make sure you don’t burn your fingers holding the stuff as you’re making your cuts. B & C transferrs heat quite quickly…........ .... Jerry (in Tucson)

-- Jerry (in Tucson)

View bandit571's profile


19762 posts in 2652 days

#2 posted 06-22-2014 02:38 PM

Maybe a word will do?


Shape is up to you, either a matching wood, or a contrasting wood, 1/4” deep. Can even be different on each side.

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View Jim Sellers's profile

Jim Sellers

433 posts in 2304 days

#3 posted 06-22-2014 03:17 PM

I would just drill out a clean hole and plug with dowels. either a contrasting or matching color.

-- J.C.Sellers, Norcross, Ga. Just cut it right the first time. The best carpenters make the fewest chips.

View Lumber2Sawdust's profile


139 posts in 2834 days

#4 posted 06-22-2014 04:02 PM

Jerry, I will check out Industrial Metals. That could be an option.

Thanks for the other suggestions. I am mostly interested in a metallic option for a different look.

I didn’t mention it in the original post but I have ~ 75 holes to fill, times 2 because both sides will be done.

View GrandpaLen's profile


1650 posts in 2241 days

#5 posted 06-22-2014 04:27 PM


I don’t know if this would follow your design idea, but they are quite easy to make in whatever size you may need to cover those bolt holes.

Arts & Crafts pyramid wood plugs stained to contrast to wood finish of your choice.

...just a thought.

Best Regards. Grandpa Len
Work Safely and have Fun.

-- Mother Nature should be proud of what you've done with her tree. - Len ...just north of a stone's throw from the oHIo, river that is, in So. Indiana.

View MrRon's profile


4720 posts in 3212 days

#6 posted 06-22-2014 05:42 PM

I’m not sure if plug cutters come in 5/8” size. If they do, I would drill a 5/8” hole everywhere there is a bolt hole; then cut 5/8” plugs from leftover wood of a contrasting wood and plug the holes. Either plane them flush or leave them proud. If not, use dowels of the wood of choice. Are the holes in a pattern, or are they irregularily located? If the latter, flush the plugs.

View bandit571's profile


19762 posts in 2652 days

#7 posted 06-22-2014 05:51 PM

Brass plate some Carriage Bolts of the right size. Add a domed shape nut on the inside.

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 3554 days

#8 posted 06-22-2014 08:22 PM

The nicest way of doing this I have seen to date, was to use car body filler with used printer catridge black toner and fill the holes or use epoxy clear resin with the toner.Obviously mix very thouroughly first and do it wearing old clothing outside preferably LOL no white dinner suits. Then simply pour or paste it into the holes and sand back later it looked stunning try on some scrap first to make sure you like it as much as I did.Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View Bark to Blade's profile

Bark to Blade

36 posts in 2486 days

#9 posted 01-02-2015 02:50 PM

Hey can I ask where you got the lumber? Did you remove the metal that was on the back? I have an opportunity to have as much of the trailer decking as I want for next to nothing but couldn’t get the bolts off. They are not welded in but after 10 plus years of being on the road the bolts don’t budge with an impact drill!

Any help would be much appreciated…

View dhazelton's profile


2756 posts in 2266 days

#10 posted 01-02-2015 02:58 PM

If the holes are all in alignment (if they were bolted to a frame cross member they probably are) why not use carriage bolts? You could spray them if you want with copper Rustoleum or a hammer finish spray. If the back of the door is tight to the wall and isn’t seen at all I would just buy bolts shorter than the door is thick and epoxy them in the holes.

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 3862 days

#11 posted 01-02-2015 03:10 PM

I second the ducthman patch

I also second the look of rivets, and I think if the wood is reclaimed, and stays looking oldish, then a rivet that looks hand forged/hammered would be more appropriate. But bronze looks nice too. The last thing I would want is a big dot that all eyes focus on,

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View RogerM's profile


792 posts in 2368 days

#12 posted 01-02-2015 05:02 PM

Suggest putting a plug in the holes just below the surface then fill the indention with epoxy tinted with black pigment.

-- Roger M, Aiken, SC

View Chris Wright's profile

Chris Wright

540 posts in 3450 days

#13 posted 01-02-2015 05:13 PM

If you’re going for the metallic look but want faster slightly more cost effective option, you can get metallic pigment powder and mix it with epoxy and fill the holes that way.

-- "At its best, life is completely unpredictable." - Christopher Walken

View Lumber2Sawdust's profile


139 posts in 2834 days

#14 posted 01-02-2015 06:32 PM

Bark to Blade, I got the wood from Reclaimed DesignWorks. It wasn’t cheap, but it was already cleaned – all of the bolts were out of the planks. They gave me all of the bolts I wanted to fill the holes. I didn’t think I wanted to use them, and didn’t know how to cut them (I think they are hardened).

After not finding another material that I really liked, I decided to use the original bolts. I was able to cut them quite easily using an angle grinder and an abrasive disc. These bolts had a torx head. I actually like that look in the finished product. If you are trying to get flooring out of a trailer, you might try a grinder to cut off the bolts instead of backing them out.

The back side of the door is flatter – no countersunk holes. I cut the bolts to length that they can be countersunk on the front and are (nearly) flush on the back. I sprayed the cut ends with a flat black paint before inserting. The holes were snug so I had to screw the bolts back in. Before I did, I added a little bit of adhesive to keep them in place. It worked out pretty nicely.

I forgot about this thread that I started quite some time ago. Since it came up again, I’ll add a picture of the finished product:

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