End grain sealing and finishing

Good afternoon all,
In my unstained soft ambrosia maple banister system I have a few somewhat visible pocket holes and in the unstained, exposed red oak stringers, I have a lot. I can easily plug these essentially invisibly using matched species plugs with a little tinting and hand-graining with colored pencils, but since the plugs are essentially end grain (or a diagonal approximation of it), I'm afraid they will take the finish differently and become obvious.
I'm planning on using a tung oil/orange distillate/beeswax finish I've used elsewhere. Does anyone have any experience with a similar situation? I've thought of rubbing a little beeswax on the end grain first, or maybe trying a very thin shellac. I haven't experimented as yet and need guidance for which direction to explore.
Thanks
Bill
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On Sun, 04 Jan 2004 18:29:40 +0000, Bill Hinshaw wrote:

How would wood filler work? Plugs don't have to be end grain. How about trying to cut plugs to match the grain?
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I'll try out some neutral filler on a sample. Thanks for the suggestion.
I always cut face grain plugs when I can and when I want to hide them, but these little pocket holes require a 3/8" cylinder to plug them and it has to be 1 1/4" or 1 1/2" long to cover the bias end cut, which is too deep for my plug cutters. I've tried making a dowel cutting router jig, but when I try to feed end grain in (to get a face grain side on the plug), the wood gets chewed up. A lathe would work to cut dowels with the grain across instead of along the long axis, but I don't have one. I have looked at the drill press mini-lathe offered by Penn State Industries, but I'm not sure it wouldn't be a wasted investment.
One thing I hadn't thought of would be to glue two plugs drilled in end grain together end-to-end to get the necessary length. That's worth a try. I off to the shop right now.
Bill

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