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Plugging large holes

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Blog entry by Nels posted 10-13-2015 01:18 PM 992 reads 0 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I have used material that

had bolts and washers in it. The holes are 1-3/4” and I need to plug these holes. Cutting the exsisting holes with a router or drill bit is easy. How can I cut a plug accurately that is 2-1/2” in diameter and 1/2” thick? I can make the hole smaller (maybe 2-3/8” or 2-1/4”), but I want to cut out the defects around where the bolt holes are. The material is oak and there are about 200 holes to plug. I guess I could turn the plugs, but that sounds like a lot of work and not all that accurate.



12 comments so far

View Ampeater's profile

Ampeater

425 posts in 3215 days


#1 posted 10-13-2015 01:37 PM

I just did a google search on”2-1/2” dowel” and found lots of dowels that are made from different species of wood.
Not sure if end grain will work for your application.

-- "A goal without a plan is a wish."

View gfadvm's profile

gfadvm

14940 posts in 2158 days


#2 posted 10-13-2015 01:47 PM

I have removed the center guide drill bit from hole saws to cut circles where I didn’t want that 1/4” hole in the center. Or you could plug that center hole with a 1/4” dowel.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

4859 posts in 2281 days


#3 posted 10-13-2015 03:47 PM

The way I fill circular holes is with a plunge router and inlay bushing kit. Find a drill bit that fits the existing holes snugly. Use that drill bit to make a template, which is just a piece of 1/4” hardboard or MDF with a hole drilled in it. Use that template with your router and inlay bushing kit to harvest the plugs from a piece of oak.

If the inlays don’t fit perfectly, you can use the same template to enlarge the size of the holes. Just carpet tape the template to the lumber (make sure it’s centered), and rout the perimeter of the hole.
If you end up enlarging the holes, I would make them 1/4” larger than they were originally. This will make it easy to center the template by eye.

Otherwise if that method doesn’t appeal to you, perhaps you could find a very large tapered plug cutter. Looks like Lee Valley has some… http://www.leevalley.com/us/wood/page.aspx?c=&p=42292&cat=1,180,42288

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View ChuckC's profile

ChuckC

821 posts in 2403 days


#4 posted 10-14-2015 04:03 AM

Use a Dutchman patch. I would cut a square patch was slightly bigger than the hole and 1/2” thick. Place the patch over the hole and trace around it with a marking knife. Remove the patch and chisel out the waste. Should be very easy.

View fatman51's profile

fatman51

335 posts in 1305 days


#5 posted 10-14-2015 06:36 AM


Use a Dutchman patch. I would cut a square patch was slightly bigger than the hole and 1/2” thick. Place the patch over the hole and trace around it with a marking knife. Remove the patch and chisel out the waste. Should be very easy.

- ChuckC

When I read this I thought what ChuckC said. With 200 of them I would consider making a template for the router to cut the patch and a template to cut the hole to the exact size of your patch. Try to think of it as inlay, carpenter style. If you want to make round plugs you can make a circle cutting jig for your band saw or router, but it is more work.

-- The Constitution only gives people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself. Benjamin Franklin

View Nels's profile

Nels

41 posts in 1096 days


#6 posted 10-14-2015 11:08 AM

Cutting the outside of a small patch that is 1/2” thick takes a sharp 1/2” shank bit and a steady hand. I’m not sure how many plugs I would have to make to get 200 usable pieces. I gave up and used a handrail. I didn’t want to use end grain, but we’ll see what the customer thinks. I’m making a sample.

View Ocelot's profile

Ocelot

1471 posts in 2106 days


#7 posted 10-14-2015 02:27 PM

Those plugs look good, but when the humidity changes, they are likely to get loose.

View Grumpymike's profile

Grumpymike

1919 posts in 1783 days


#8 posted 10-14-2015 10:17 PM

+1 with pintodeluxe.
I hate the looks of the end grain patch as in using a dowel. Unless you want a pegged look to the table top or what ever your project is.
Using the inlay bushing and your router you can make your patch a bow tie or round or square, it’s all up to you.
I’ve seen some templates at Rockler just for that use.
Using a template I can cut the positive or negative at about 10 per minute, and end up with a face grain patch.

-- Grumpy old guy, and lookin' good Doin' it. ... Surprise Az.

View BobAnderton's profile

BobAnderton

219 posts in 2258 days


#9 posted 10-17-2015 02:54 AM

turn 2 1/2” diameter spindles on the lathe with the grain running perpendicular to the bed ways, like you’re turning a bowl. Then cut these into 1/2” slices to patch holes with. Since you need the diameter to be exact it probably warrants making a dowel making jig at that diameter like this

-- Bob Anderton - Austin, TX - Nova 3000 lathe, Alaskan Mark III mill, Husqavarna Saw

View Grumpymike's profile

Grumpymike

1919 posts in 1783 days


#10 posted 10-17-2015 08:56 PM

BobAnderton Whew, what a process … There must be an easier way, and faster.

Nels You’ve never said whether you want face grain or end grain in your patch …Thanks for your reply.

-- Grumpy old guy, and lookin' good Doin' it. ... Surprise Az.

View stefang's profile

stefang

15512 posts in 2802 days


#11 posted 10-18-2015 08:48 PM

An adjustable hole cutter (fly cutter) will work very well in a drill press. Usually I just use my scroll saw. I taper the slightly oversized and slightly thicker than needed plug to ensure a tight fit. I learned from Shipwright (too late) that the plugs should be glued in across the grain, which will keep it from shrinking. Mine were done with the grain, but they remain tight after the first year so it’s probably ok for indoor use with a fairly steady humidity and temperature.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View stefang's profile

stefang

15512 posts in 2802 days


#12 posted 10-18-2015 08:50 PM

An adjustable hole cutter (fly cutter) will work very well in a drill press. Usually I just use my scroll saw and disk sand any waney edges afterward if needed. I taper the slightly oversized and slightly thicker than needed plug to ensure a tight fit. I learned from Shipwright (too late) that the plugs should be glued in across the grain, which will keep it from shrinking. Mine were done with the grain, but they remain tight after the first year so it’s probably ok for indoor use with a fairly steady humidity and temperature.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

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