Use A Matchstick When A Hole Is Too Big For A Screw

Use A Matchstick When A Hole Is Too Big For A Screw

Whether you’ve stripped a screw hole, drilled a hole bigger than your screw, or you’re encountering any other series of events that’s left you with a hole too big for a screw, reader wjglenn suggests using a matchstick as a quick fix.

Here’s a little tip my dad taught me this weekend. The hinges on my daughter’s bedroom door were loose and when I went to tighten them, it turned out the holes in the wood frame were a little too big and the screws were just turning loosely in them.

I didn’t have any wood putty, so my dad told me to put a matchstick into the hole and then tighten the screw right into it. (Ed. note: After removing the flammable tip, of course.) Worked like a charm.

The screw basically shreds the matchstick, which fills the hole enough for the screw to tighten.

Alternately, reader darthskillet notes:

I keep a box of wooden toothpicks in my toolbox for this same purpose.

Last but not least, if this seems familiar to loyal readers, that may be because it's very similar to our previous tip suggesting you can fix stripped screw holes with a golf tee and wood glue. They're all good suggestions, and as with any quick MacGyver fix, you go with what you've got on hand. Photo by yellow_bird_woodstock.


  • What a timely bit of advice. Just recently my front door has had this exact same issue and it makes it hard just to close. I’ll be doing the match stick trick this weekend.

  • Guitarists into a bit of customising are familiar with this technique when replacing stock strap buttons with some strap locks. The hole left by the stock strap buttons are normally 3-5 mm wider than the after market strap locks, so shoving a couple of match sticks in there, with some clear drying wood glue, and (here’s the pro tip) short pieces of thick guitar string (bottom E) for some added rigidity and stiffness – and Robert’s your mother’s brother…

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