Fun With Toothpicks!


I used more toothpicks today than I have ever used in my entire life! (Now there’s a sentence you don’t get to say every day!)

First of all I used the tried-and-true toothpick method to see if the chocolate zucchini loaves I baked were done. Last time I tried this recipe I thought the loaves were done and was dismayed to discover they hadn’t been cooked all the way through when I tried to take them out of the pan. It was an icky mess! So, today the toothpicks came in handy for this purpose and the loaves turned out great.

I think everyone knows the toothpick-as-baking-aid trick, but did you know that you can actually use toothpicks in home repair projects?! Until today neither did I!

Last night as I was cooking dinner for friends one of my kitchen cupboard doors fell off. Just fell right off. (Why do these sorts of things always happen when company is over and dinner is just minutes from being served?!) I grabbed my trusty screwdriver and popped the door back on. I won’t get into just how un-handy I am with Do-It-Yourself projects, but those of you who know me in real life will not be surprised to learn that the cupboard door didn’t stay put and it fell off again today. (insert giant sigh here)

So today brought a frantic round of googling as I tried to figure out what the heck I was going to do. Immediately I started fantasizing about the new cupboards I’d be forced to buy and how nice my new renovated kitchen would look. Ha! Ok…I just bought a new furnace and hot water heater, so kitchen renos are not in the cards right now. But seriously. I’m an art historian, not a cupboard fixer and I was quite flummoxed by the whole thing.

The problem appeared to be a few stripped screw holes, and my googling quickly produced two types of advice on how to deal with this. One group of online handymen and handywomen suggested filling the holes with a wood filler, letting it dry and then putting the door back on. The other suggested jamming things like toothpicks into the hole and then putting the door back on. I went out to get the wood filler as I thought the whole toothpick thing just sounded a little too ridiculous for words. But after I got back from Canadian Tire with the wood filler (and an inflatable boat…don’t ask…), I started thinking more about the toothpick solution. Many, many sites seemed to suggest this and I decided to give it a try. I didn’t really think it would work, but I thought it would be hilarious if it did. I figured if it didn’t work I’d pull out the toothpicks and give the wood filler a try. What did I have to lose? The basic idea is to jam the toothpicks in the hole, break off the excess bits and then re-screw in the screw. I did, and the long and the short of it is that my cupboard door is still affixed to the cupboard. We’ll see how long it lasts!

4 thoughts on “Fun With Toothpicks!

  1. Very cool! Well done. You sound pretty handy to me. :) (I also would have thought the toothpick idea was a little nutty.)

  2. Sounds to me like the toothpicks are just wooden wood filler, as opposed to the plastic stuff you bought. I’d probably have done some combination of the two just to be difficult :-)

    Glad it worked. Both the cupboard fix and the chocolate zucchini loaf.

    BTW, when the zucchini glut comes (as it always does), I shred it and freeze it in the quantity needed for recipes like that. If you are really organized (which I’m not) you can even write the quantity on the freezer bag in permanent marker. Then when you want to make chocolate zucchini loaf in the middle of winter, you just grab a bag of premeasured zucchini and away you go.

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