Does This Internet Hack for Hiding Screws Really Work?
Not sure how to hide ugly wood screws ? We tested this internet hack that claims to solve the problem of unsightly screws in woodworking projects.
If you’ve spent much time building woodworking projects, you probably know that few things scream “amateur” louder than visible nails or screws. The problem is, successfully hiding nails and screws in woodworking projects takes considerable time and skill. That’s why we tested this internet hack claiming to provide an easy, nearly foolproof method for joining wood without visible nails or screws.
How It Works
Typically, the job of hiding screws in woodworking projects involves pre-drilling holes, countersinking the fasteners below the wood’s surface, then cutting and installing tapered wooden plugs to fill the holes. Many beginner woodworkers don’t have the tools or knowledge for this process. Other options, like biscuit or dowel joinery, skip metal fasteners entirely, but like tapered plugs, involve either lots of skill, specialized equipment or both. That’s where this simple hack comes in.
Start by gathering the tools you’ll need for the job. In addition to the two pieces of wood you’re joining together, you’ll need:
- A sharp, straight-edged chisel of medium blade width;
- A small hammer or mallet (with which to hit the chisel);
- Wood screws with small heads and sufficient length to penetrate the underlying piece of wood by at least 3/4 inch;
- Wood glue;
- Small adjustable clamp or roll of wide masking tape;
- Sheet of 120-grit sandpaper.
- Start by chiseling a thin flap of wood from the top face of the board you want to butt-join to another board, at 90 degrees. Note: It’s important to remember that this hack only works for 90-degree butt joints, where the end of one board butts against the end of another at 90-degrees.
- Leaving the flap of wood attached at one end, carefully lift it, then drive a small wood screw through the wood beneath the flap and into the piece of wood you’re joining to.
- Once the joint is tight, apply wood glue beneath the flap, then clamp or tape it in place until it dries. Finish up by removing the clamp or tape and sanding the area smooth once the glue is completely dry.
I found this hack very easy to implement, and had my flaps chiseled, screws driven and glue drying in less than five minutes. A couple of hours later the sanding was done, and I had a nice, neat butt joint with no visible screws. The results were pretty good, but not perfect. I noticed the flap I chiseled was still slightly visible when I was done, even after the glue had dried, and I sanded the area until it was smooth to the touch.
This hack can certainly save you time, but the risk of ruining your workpiece is fairly high if you’re inexperienced. One misplaced hit with your chisel and you may have to start from scratch, or at the very least spend more time with a sander than you planned.
Make sure your chisel is sharp before attempting this hack. A dull chisel is unlikely to split the wood fibers cleanly enough to lift a flat, crisp flap of wood away from the rest of the board. It’s also important to position the cutting edge of the chisel correctly on the end grains of the board. Chisel too close to the top surface and the flap could tear free from the rest of the board. Chisel too low and the flap will be unnecessarily thick.
For my test, I used spruce, a softwood. Attempting this hack in hardwood won’t make it impossible, but chiseling the flap will likely be more difficult. Also, in softwood you probably won’t have to pre-drill holes for the screws to avoid splitting. Softwood fibers have enough give that fasteners rarely make them split. In hardwood, you’ll definitely want to pre-drill, because splitting is almost inevitable otherwise.