Woodworking Tips
Woodworking Tips Index
Blind Nailing
One of the problems with using nails in a project is how to cover the nail holes.

The easy solution is to drive in the finish nail or brad, counter sink it, and fill the top of the hole with plastic wood putty. It's quick, but if you're using a clear finish, getting an exact color match with the wood is difficult.

There's another problem, too. Most woods, especially cherry, age and change color. But most plastic wood putties stay the same color. It's a matter of trying to guess what color putty to use that will match the wood two years (or more) from now.

There's another method to hide nails that has been used by finish carpenters for many years -- blind nailing. To do this, you lift up a chip, drive and set the nail, and then glue the chip back in place over the nail.

There are a couple ways to lift the chip. One is to use a special tool made just for this job. It's called, not surprisingly, a blind nailer. It looks like miniature plane that holds a small chisel for a blade. You find these in mail order woodworking catalogs.

A blind nailer quickly lifts the chip, but if you're careful, you can do the same thing with a 1/4" (or narrower) chisel. To lift the chip with a chisel, start by holding the chisel parallel with the grain, bevel down on the wood. Then raise the back of the bevel slightly off the wood and wriggle it forward or tap it lightly with a mallet. The goal is to curl up a chip without allowing the chip to break off.

Next, grip the brad with a pair of needle nose pliers and drive it most of the way in with a tack hammer (use as thin a brad as possible to avoid splitting the wood). Then set the brad below the bottom of the chip with a nail set.

After the brad is set, spread a very thin layer of glue under the chip with a toothpick and roll down the curled up chip down with your thumb. Now hold the chip down until the glue sets -- about a minute or two is all it takes. After the glue has dried completely (at least an hour), sand the surface flat.

Go to Tip #42
Woodworking Tips Index ©August Home Publishing Company