tapered plug

While assembling a short handrail for a staircase, I drilled some 3/4" holes with the Forstner to accept the head of the carriage bolts I used to anchor the post to the staircase. Later, I purchased a 3/4" tapered plug cutter so I could cut (what else) tapered plugs to cover up the aforementioned holes. The problem I'm runnnig into is that the plug just isn't big enough. I don't know if the plug cutter is cutting them undersize of the Forstner is oversize, but the plug just isn't quite big enough for an interference fit. Any ideas on remedying this situation?
todd
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Got a lathe?
--
Regards,
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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Tapered plug cutters have to be cut to an exact depth for them to be the proper size. The deeper you cut, the wider the top/exposed end will be after you cut it out of the board you cutting into. To picture this, draw it out on paper and notice that the deeper the plug is drawn with the tapered sides being wider at the bottom, the wider the plug is in the bottom. The bottom end is the end that is exposed when you plug the hole. Also it could be that your holes are not deep enough for the wider top part of the plug taper to fill the hole. The plug may be bottoming out before the top end can seal the hole. If this is the case sand and remove some of the narrower/bottom end of the plug.
Keep in mind that if you cutting the plug too deep the plug will often break off in the cutter and you have to pry/dig it out, so be careful when adjusting the cutting depth in the drill press.
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todd wrote:

Testing before committing, maybe... :)
As Leon pointed out, the maximum diameter of the plug from a tapered cutter is at the outside end. To get the largest diameter possible, set the press to _barely_ break through the far side of the plug material.
And, his point about depth in the hole is a good one.
If those two things don't help, guess it's try to find another cutter, use the lathe as somebody else already mentioned or whittle some out from a larger diameter starting point.
You could also take and square off the holes and use a square plug.
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"dpb" wrote

where everything that could go wrong did. I ended up using a contrasting color that went over well.
I got an unbelievable amount of ribbing out of that job as well. I was promoted as the guy who can put square pegs into round holes.
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Lee Michaels wrote:

:)
The square holes aren't that hard if you have a corner chisel. A little more of a challenge w/ just a flat blade.
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http://www.woodworker.com/cgi-bin/FULLPRES.exe?PARTNUM 8-386 http://www.woodworker.com/cgi-bin/FULLPRES.exe?PARTNUM 9-916 http://www.woodworker.com/cgi-bin/FULLPRES.exe?PARTNUM 0-749
todd wrote:

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While pondering this today, the idea popped into my head that my 1" hole saw, when used to cut a hole, would leave a waste piece of about 7/8" diameter. I cut one and used a file to shape it down to be a bit tapered. It was tedious, but it did the trick beautifully. However, I had three more to make and didn't fancy filing them all down. So I cut three more plugs, then chucked up the drum sander into the drill press. I just held the plugs by hand and sanded around the outside to get a taper. This method also worked fine and was much faster.
todd
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So I take it that given all the suggestions none were the solution. Would that be correct?
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Well, let's see.... Doug - I do have a lathe, but my solution seemed easier, at least for me. Leon - The cutter is making the largest plug it can make after taking care to make the plugs per suggestions. dpb - I don't have a time machine. Also see my answer to Leon above. Pat - Thanks, but I'm not buying any more 3/4" plug cutters.
So, yes, you're correct. It could be that the plug cutter I have is just out of spec (I'm sure it's possible) or my 3/4" Forstner is drilling oversize holes. Fortunately, I was able to come up with a solution that worked great and didn't cost me any additional money, so I thought I'd share.
todd
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Well so that you don't have the problem in the future, checking the diameter of the hole would be an easy way to rule out the forstner bit, measuring a full cut plug with a caliper would insure that you are indeed getting the sizes + and - the size indicated.
That said, if you are using a hand drill to drill with a forstner bit you may be getting excess wobble and ending up with a larger than indicated hole.
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