I received an email the other day asking how to fill stripped pickguard screw holes:
…”I have replaced the pickups and pickguard on my guitar so often that some of the pickguard screws won‘t stay in the holes. If I filled the holes with wood filler and then put the screws in, would that work?”
The best thing to do with stripped screw holes is to fill them with wood. Matches, dowel or toothpicks all do the job well (depending on size). Wooden toothpicks or matches work great for most pickguard screw holes. Whatever you choose, it should be a snug fit. You can add some white or yellow wood glue for additional security and durability (recommended).
Check the dowel is a good fit first. Apply some glue and insert it into the screw hole. Break it off flush with guitar, insert the screw back in, and you’re good to go (careful not to over-tighten, or you’ll have to start over). Wood filler isn’t designed for screws and doesn’t compress like wood, so it’s not the best fastening material. Also, it will make future repairs more difficult and messy.
This technique can also be applied to stripped strap buttons, tuner screws, and jack plate screws.