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Author Topic: making wood plugs  (Read 7352 times)

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Offline harry_

  • Posts: 1100
making wood plugs
« on: May 16, 2010, 02:30 PM »
Today I began my arbour project, having a small dilemma that I am hoping is just a technique issue.

I am trying to cut wood plugs out of Garapa (Brazilian Ash) using this plug cutter. My results seem to be less than optimal, as I do a lot more drilling than I do plugging. I seem to get better results if I go tortuously slow, but in general, it takes me 5 attempts to get a single plug. Upon rare occasion get a plug long enough that I can get 3 or 4 out of.

The plugs I am cutting are out of the 'tail stock' or waste of the piece I wish to put the plugs in.

I would imagine that my results would be better if I were to use a drill press? Something that I do not have access to.

So I guess my questions are:

Is this normal?

Is this the nature of this wood?

Would I get better results with a different type plug cutter?

Should I just use 'pre-made' plugs, which I have a ton of in both oak in maple?

TIA
« Last Edit: May 16, 2010, 02:31 PM by harry_ »
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Offline Guy Ashley

  • Posts: 662
  • Furniture & Cabinet Maker/Joiner
Re: making wood plugs
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2010, 02:41 PM »
Harry

Trying to cut wood plugs without a drill press or some form of jig to hold the hand drill rock steady will be nigh on impossible.

If you dont have access to a drill press and are insistant on using the original timber scraps then try and find a local wood macine shop or hobby woodworker thats got one.

Plug cutters are not designed to be used freehand.

Guy
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Offline harry_

  • Posts: 1100
Re: making wood plugs
« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2010, 02:46 PM »
Guy,

I am not really insistent on anything other than spending money.  [crying] Maybe I will try a couple of my pre-made plugs and see how it looks. If I cant make them hide, I can call them an `accent`! [laughing]

If it is just a matter of me doing it freehand, then I guess it is just a case of it is what it is. I'll just suck it up since time is the one thing I have the most of.
Disclaimer: This post is for educational and entertainment purposes only. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead is purely coincidental. Void where prohibited. Some assembly required. Batteries not included. Contents may settle during shipment. Use only as directed. No other warranty expressed or implied. This is not an offer to sell securities. May be too intense for some viewers. No user-serviceable parts inside. Subject to change without notice. One size fits all (very poorly).

Offline harry_

  • Posts: 1100
Re: making wood plugs
« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2010, 02:47 PM »
Oh, and thanks for the rapid response!
Disclaimer: This post is for educational and entertainment purposes only. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead is purely coincidental. Void where prohibited. Some assembly required. Batteries not included. Contents may settle during shipment. Use only as directed. No other warranty expressed or implied. This is not an offer to sell securities. May be too intense for some viewers. No user-serviceable parts inside. Subject to change without notice. One size fits all (very poorly).

Offline bellchippy

  • Posts: 173
Re: making wood plugs
« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2010, 02:58 PM »
Harry

Why dont you drill a hole in an offcut of ply the same size as the outside diameter
of the plug cutter, clamp it down then cut the plug, this will keep it centered result in perfect plugs.

Offline Peter Halle

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Re: making wood plugs
« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2010, 03:01 PM »
What size plugs do you need?
Any day using a Festool is a special day.  Enjoy!

Peter

Offline Deansocial

  • Posts: 1992
Re: making wood plugs
« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2010, 03:02 PM »
ive never had a problem using a plug cutter by had but i use one of these type http://www.rutlands.co.uk/hand-tools/drilling-&-screwing/plug-&-circle-cutters/J0510/tapered-snug-plug-cutters

Offline jvsteenb

  • Posts: 363
Re: making wood plugs
« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2010, 03:08 PM »
I would imagine it would be close to impossible to cut plugs freehand with a cutter like that. Even if you manage to drill straight, the single cutter would invite your drill to revolve around the cutting point instead of around the drill axis.As soon as the cutter is buried in the wood, this behaviour will be counteracted by the guiding forces of the outer rim in the wood, but it would be somewhat of a miracle if you were to cut a perfect circular piece from the top.
Consider the plugs that you've cut successfully as a hard-earned proof of your perseverance and either get a plug cutter with more cutting edges ( Lee Valley / Veritas has some nice ones ) or invest in a simple drill press.
Mind you: a plug cutter witrh two or three cutters makes this a little less error prone, but a drill-press is still the way to go.

Just my 2 Eurocents.

Regards,

Job
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Offline harry_

  • Posts: 1100
Re: making wood plugs
« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2010, 03:48 PM »
OK. I went back at it. It appears that 2 different things were happening.

First being the piece of wood I was last using. It would seem that it's grain was just not liking me, simply turning to dust as I went. I have had oak behave this way on me before and why I did not think that the same rules would apply are beyond me.  [oops]

Second being that I was giving up too early on my cut depth. Once I decided to just 'keep going' I was able to get plugs of decent length. Long enough that I was able to use a single plug for several holes. [thumbs up]

Third, just a general lack of patience on my part. the picture will speak for itself.

jvsteenb: It is not impossible, just difficult. The behaviour is as you said, the trick is to not begin rotation on the point of the cutter. I never get a perfectly circular piece from the beginning. I have always pruned the bottom to flat, tapped into the hole, then pruned it proud and let the sander do the rest.


Everyone:  [thanks]
Disclaimer: This post is for educational and entertainment purposes only. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead is purely coincidental. Void where prohibited. Some assembly required. Batteries not included. Contents may settle during shipment. Use only as directed. No other warranty expressed or implied. This is not an offer to sell securities. May be too intense for some viewers. No user-serviceable parts inside. Subject to change without notice. One size fits all (very poorly).

Offline woodguy7

  • Posts: 2588
Re: making wood plugs
« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2010, 05:07 PM »
I use a plug cutter in a router.  I find i get much better results but you do need a cutter designed for routers.

Woodguy
If its made of wood, i can make it smaller.
Shirt size medium
p.s- ive started reading these too

Offline wooden

  • Posts: 319
Re: making wood plugs
« Reply #10 on: May 16, 2010, 06:02 PM »
You can get plug cutters for your plunger router.  Google for "Amana plug cutter" should get you started.

I personally like the snug plug cutters from Lee Valley and use them in a drill press.

Offline Jon Hilgenberg

  • Posts: 1112
Re: making wood plugs
« Reply #11 on: May 16, 2010, 07:35 PM »
Harry,

I've had nightmares trying to cut plugs with a hand held drill.  It's tough, and the plug cutter runs all over the place making for not-so-great results.

I haven't tried this yet, but it seems appealing, and is geared toward those of us who do not own a drill press.


http://www.rockler.com/product.cfm?page=11486&filter=plug%20cutter
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Offline Rob-GB

  • Posts: 836
Re: making wood plugs
« Reply #12 on: May 17, 2010, 12:19 AM »
Harry

Why dont you drill a hole in an offcut of ply the same size as the outside diameter
of the plug cutter, clamp it down then cut the plug, this will keep it centered result in perfect plugs.


That's exactly what I do , when away from the pillar drill ;D I posted about it on TF here:
http://www.talkfestool.com/vb/general-woodworking-q/3453-broken-plug-extraction.html

Great minds think alike when looking for a similar solution. [big grin]

Rob.
Problem? No such thing! Only a solution waiting to be found:- RJ

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Offline Michael Kellough

  • Posts: 2206
Re: making wood plugs
« Reply #13 on: May 17, 2010, 09:54 AM »


It looks like the cutter needs to be sharpened for one thing.
Running it through a hole in another board will help stabilize it
so you get fewer broken off and undersized plugs.

Cutting plugs with a plunge router works great, maybe even better
than the drill press (more run-out in my drill press).
I've even used 1/4" shank cutters in my OF 1000 and was very happy
with the results. I was actually using them to counter-bore holes
in the middle of a very large bench. Luckily the bits made clean holes
in addition to plugs (which weren't needed).


I just checked Amana and they have a few 1/2" shank carbide plug cutters for the router.
Here.
They also have these which are interesting because they have 8 mm shanks.
Here.

The plug cutter makes 10 mm plugs and is high speed steel.
Run it on the slowest speed and don't work it too hard and it
will probably work great. It's also possible to re-sharpen.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2010, 10:10 AM by Michael Kellough »

Offline Jim Kirkpatrick

  • Posts: 739
Re: making wood plugs
« Reply #14 on: May 17, 2010, 02:26 PM »
Harry,  I'm just south of you near Leominster if you wanna come down and use my drill press.  PM me if interested.

Offline harry_

  • Posts: 1100
Re: making wood plugs
« Reply #15 on: May 17, 2010, 02:52 PM »
Stoolman,

 [thanks] for the offer, I truly appreciate it!

It would appear unnecessary though. As I said in an earlier post, it must have just been the particular board I was on. I went to a different board and had better luck. Today on yet a different board, I was able to get 5 consecutive plugs, each very close to an inch long.

I have 4 more boards to do, with 10 plugs per board. I hope that my successes continue at this rate!
Disclaimer: This post is for educational and entertainment purposes only. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead is purely coincidental. Void where prohibited. Some assembly required. Batteries not included. Contents may settle during shipment. Use only as directed. No other warranty expressed or implied. This is not an offer to sell securities. May be too intense for some viewers. No user-serviceable parts inside. Subject to change without notice. One size fits all (very poorly).