Filling lag bolt holes in staircase


We have just finished building a beautiful open staircase using straight-grain, clear 3x12 fir planks. We held the staircase together with lag bolts countersunk in 3/4" holes. I am having a hard time finding any wood filler that comes even remotely close to the color of fir. Any ideas on where to find such a product?
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Have you tried a mixing up a little white carpenter's glue and some sawdust from the fir planks?
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No - but it sounds like a good idea! thx
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Another idea that comes to mind is buying a 3/4" plug cutter and using plugs from the fir you have in stock. You'd be guaranteed a colour match. It may be a better option than my previous suggestion because of the size of the holes that need filling.
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even a better idea!
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Wed, Mar 1, 2006, 2:48am (EST-3) snipped-for-privacy@joldersma.org (tom) doth toss out: even a better idea!
I thought you'd like that. You're welcome.
JOAT I'd like to give you a going away present. Just do your part.
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wrote in message

Problematic. Plugs cut from fir tend to have torn and crushed grain, even when the best of plug-cutters are used. Looks unattractive, just like the dead fish eye look you get from dust and glue. I'd go with end-grained contrasting color plugs. Regardless the color, they will be obvious, so make a decorative virtue out of that necessity.
I'm not sure I would use lag _screws_ over regular screws, either. Finer threads would hold better. Bolts, as in nuts and washers would be great if you have access to the nuts, because you could quiet a squeaky stair easily.
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I have no experience cutting plugs in fir, but I woud definitely buy the plug cutter, try it in fir and fall back to a contrasting wood if necessary. Get the tapered plug cutter, if you can find one in that size. They produce a plug that fits like a cork.
There is no way that a 3/4" diameter circle of any type of wood filler will not look like sh*t. Also, wood filler tends to be brittle and will not respond well to the seasonal wood movement around it. The hole is simple too big for wood filler as a good choice.
If I had to use a filler, I would be more inclined to use an epoxy with pigment in a contrasting but compatible color.
With any aproach, make sure you use a brad point or a forstner bit to drill that counterbore. Regardless of the patch mechanism a sloppy hole will look pretty bad.
Cheers
Steve
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That's not a bad idea either. 3/4" doweling is certainly available and there wouldn't be any crushed or torn grain associate with doweling.
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interesting plug in fir.. maybe even walnut if a lot of contrast is wanted..
The only "problem" is that plugs are usually cut from cross grain and dowels would be end grain...
Maybe a bunch of 3/4" shaker pegs? *g* Mac
https://home.comcast.net/~mac.davis https://home.comcast.net/~mac.davis/wood_stuff.htm
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Wed, Mar 1, 2006, 4:23am snipped-for-privacy@teksavvy.com (Upscale) doth also sayeth: Another idea that comes to mind is buying a 3/4" plug cutter and using plugs from the fir you have in stock. You'd be guaranteed a colour match. It may be a better option than my previous suggestion because of the size of the holes that need filling.
Yes, those ideas would work. But, what he should really do is get some fir plywood, then cut decorative shapes out of it, and tack the cut out shapes over the holes. Stars, triangles, etc. Classy.
JOAT I'd like to give you a going away present. Just do your part.
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is with cherry, and they made the hole nearly disappear. George may have a valid concern--I've got no experience with these with fir.
Some things to think about: 1) align the grain 2) use similar wood (sapwood plug in sapwood hole, heartwood in heartwood) less obvious: 3) have the grain sloping the same direction for planing. Nice to take the plug down with a block plane, but you want the end of that process to be taking whisper-thin shavings from the plug until you get a whisper off the surrounding wood. But it's nasty if your plane digs in because of opposite direction in the surrounding wood. 4) Use same side of the tree, i.e, if outside of the tree is toward you on the surrounding piece, make the outside or the tree toward you on the plug. I've never worried about this before, but with a 3/4" plug, it seems that it might be worth doing to make sure movement is aligned as much as possible.
George mentioned making the plugs design features, which could work very nicely. But that is an aesthetic decision for you to make. Buttons with a small lip to cover any roughness of the hole cut are a possibility as are flush or slightly protruding rounded dowels. But given your initially expressed goal, I think the way to go is to buy a quality plug cutter and try some plugs on scrap to see if you can get around the issues George mentioned.
--
Alex -- Replace "nospam" with "mail" to reply by email. Checked infrequently.

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Might try Fam-O-Wood filler

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tom wrote:

If there is at least 1/8 or so above the lag heads, make and use face grain fir plugs. Infinitely better than any "filler".
-- dadiOH ____________________________
dadiOH's dandies v3.06... ...a help file of info about MP3s, recording from LP/cassette and tips & tricks on this and that. Get it at http://mysite.verizon.net/xico
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If you are trying to cover lag bolt counter sink holes anything you do is going to be quite obvious. Alternatively you can simply let the bolts and washers show but paint them black to dress them up a bit. You might like the look.
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How about getting a 3/4in plug cutter, make a bunch of plugs and glue then in, saw/sand flush and then finish?
John

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