Cuttin plugs! ( novice question)

Greetings,
Just finished a shaker style shelf made from cherry.....I tried using countersinks and filling them with cherry plugs with my brand new tapered plug cutter from "Rockler". After putting the first coat of Tung Oil on it I noticed there is a nasty looking black ring around the outside of the plugs ( from the jagged edge on the plugs I guess) any suggestions on how to get a smooth, seemless plug........when cutting the plugs on the drill press, should I use a fast speed or slow, or does it matter? Any help would be greatly appreciated......
Bummin in NH
Frank
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I have some plug cutters from rockler also and haven't had any problems. My drill press is set around 900 rpm for most everything (I'm too lazy to switch pulleys around all the time). Could the black ring be a burn mark from the cutter? --dave

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There should be no jagged edges. Either speed up the drill press or get a sharper cutter. I'm not familiar with Rocker's, but the Lee Valley give a nice tapered plug and good edge. Maybe you got a dud?
--
Ed
http://pages.cthome.net/edhome/



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I have the Lee Valley tapered plug cutters. I've used the heck out of them, and they do a good job.
I had to cut 100 plugs in white oak for a porch swing, they did awesome (as to the fit in the hole). My only complaint (and it was likely my fault for being impatient when I was cutting so many) was that about every 15th plug or so, the plug would snap off inside the cutter and I would have to stop the drill press to dislodge the plug with a screwdriver.
As to your issue, wild guess...maybe the plugs weren't seated far enough into the hole. I would think that with a softer hardwood such as cherry, minor imperfections in the plug would be hidden when the plug was tapped into place. Maybe you got the runt from manufacturing of that run of plug cutters.

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I think it is the glue ring you are seeing. Try tapping a plug into a scrap with out glue followed by oil and see if that helps. Then keep the glue at the bottom side of the plug.
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Frank, I would guess you have two problems. Both have been mentioned already.
First, either the plug cutter is dull or it is turning too slowly. You'll have to watch for burning on cherry, though.
Keep in mind that there is end grain along the sides of the plug. If you can see any of the sides of the plug due to either the plug being oval rather than round or the hole being a bit oversized, you might being seeing a bit of that end grain.
If your counterbore for the plugs isn't deep enough, the tapered plug won't be tight in the hole
Second, you might be seeing a glue line. Although it's probably too late for this project, in the future you might do what boat builders do. Plugs (boat builders call them "bungs") are bedded with the same varnish that will be used on the surface of the brightwork. It holds the bungs securely but allows them to be removed when needed. Since the finish is being used to "glue" them in, there is no glue line to be seen.
Another thing about making plugs is this. Make yourself a jig (basically a fence) for the drill press to hold a piece of stock just wide enough to cut the plugs out of. Rip long pieces of wood for your plugs and cut them against the fence. Set the depth stop on the drill press so that you almost cut through the plug stock. Leave 1/32" or so. This will leave you with a floppy strip of plugs.
When it is time to install the plugs, you can easily handle them because they are in the strip. Dip the end plug into your finish and then stick it in the hole. Tap with a mallet to seat it and break it loose from the strip. Make sure when you are installing plugs the grain direction matches the wood being plugged. This is much easier with this long strip of plugs than handling them individually.
A couple of months back Shop Notes published my drill press jig for cutting plugs in there reader's tips section. They didn't include the part about cutting the plugs deep enough to leave a flexible strip. I asked them about that. They thought it would be too difficult for the average woodworker to do. I'm an average woodworker and I can do it so I thought that was a bit condescending.
Dave
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i believe if you are gluing with a PVA type glue there may be a chemical reaction with the cherry.
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You need to reduce your spindle speed to a about 500 rpm. or lower. This will take care of it.
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