Any Plug Cutting Tiplets?


Any tips or techniques for cutting plugs? I'm finishing up a Porch Swing with - oh, maybe 8192 3/8" plugs to cut, glue, finesse and trim... :(
I've got the Veritas Snug Plug Cutter - and the holes are also 3/8" deep.
First few I cut were too snug. Don't want to try to file or sand that many to adjust the fit.
Looks like if I drive the plug cutter deeper into the plug stock, the taper is thinner and the fit better, but then the plug is way proud of the hole.
I was *hoping* to size the plugs to eliminate the need to flush-trim saw them all and just be able to sand or scrape them down.
Ughhh... Any technique improvment is appreciated! Thanks
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I bet with enough test cuts, tweeking the depth stop on your drill press (and therefore controlling the thickness of the tapered plug) you could get it within 1/16 proud, with judicious hammer control. Then you could trim with a chisel.
Hint for chisel trimning: Do *not* pare in the direction of the grain (edge of chisel edge perpendicular to grain of the plug). If the grain moves down, the plug will split down below the surface of the surounding wood.
If you approach the plug with the chisel edge parallel to the grain this will not happen.
-Steve
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Or, just make sure you take notice of the grain direction before inserting the plug.
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True, but...
Reading the z-axis grain direction on a 3/8" plug is not that easy. it's almost all end-grain
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I usually pare twice. The first time knocks off most of the excess but still leaves all sides proud, and lets me know the direction of the grain by the resulting slope of the surface. The second time I can choose my direction so I know I won't split below the surface.
- Owen -
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Block plane? Sanding block? Flush trim saw with blue tape?
Patriarch
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Chisel. I actually haven't had my block plane long enough to try it on more than one set of plugs. I goofed on the first plug so I went back to the chisel for the rest of them. (The one I goofed got sanded with finger pressure, which basically lowered the edge of the hole far enough to meet the plug, but not far enough to really be visible.) The only time I saw them off is if I'm using a dowel, where I've got end grain protruding instead of cross grain, usually when looks don't matter.
If I had to do 8192 of them I'd probably want a better method.
- Owen -
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I did a porch swing several years ago and went through the same thing. I don't recall there being anywhere near 8192 plugs. ;~) . Time and patients got me through it. I used a Veritas flush trim saw with a flexible blade to cut the 100 or so plugs and sanded with a ROS. I got to where 2 or 3 pulls of the saw would cut through the Oak plugs.
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I just plugged about 20 - 3/8 holes with oak plugs in some plywood veneer. Since I did not want to do a lot of finish sanding for fear of blowing through the veneer, I tried to get the plugs to a more uniform size.
Instead of popping the plugs, I ran the plug stock through the TS. The resulting plugs were very uniform, but unfortunately, my holes varied so that I still had to chisel/sand somewhat. Also, the plugs tend to shoot out to the left of the saw blade, so it's a good idea to have a barrier to stop them.
Maybe this is obvious, but I thought that I'd mention it.
Lou

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loutent wrote:

to keep the plugs from flying, smooth a piece of masking tape the length of the board before running it through the saw. then you have an easy to handle strip of plugs.... collated.
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patrick conroy wrote:

A couple of old tricks.
1) Drill the plugs about 1/4" deeper than necessary in a piece of stock.
2) Cover the face with masking tape.
3) Using a band saw, cut thru the stock so that you have plugs about 1/8" longer than necessary.
4) Peel away stock from masking tape leaving plugs attached to tape.
Plugs are now standing up on the tape with the grain all oriented the same way ready to be installed.
5) Tap in place and allow adhesive to set for a couple of days.
6) Remove excess with a very sharp chisel using only hand pressure or one of those Japanese draw saws, then sand.
Have fun.
Lew
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With a little setup as suggested, I found the optimum plug size. Then came back with a chisel and ROS.
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