How to stain a plug with contrasting color and not sand it off

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Forum topic by DW833 posted 05-03-2016 12:38 AM 1008 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View DW833's profile


220 posts in 2031 days

05-03-2016 12:38 AM

I’ve created a bench that uses screws for most joinery. Counter sunk holes for plugs. I made a few sample plugs and soaked them in ebony stain for a contrasting color. They fit well and look good. However, I have a problem that I did not account for. When I use a hand plane or sand the plugs flat, all or most of the stained part of the plug is gone and the wood color is not what I want. How do I keep the plugs the stained color when sanding/planing them flush.

9 replies so far

View OSU55's profile


1869 posts in 2138 days

#1 posted 05-03-2016 12:54 AM

The natural wood color of the plugs needs to be correct. You could try to color the plugs after leveling.

View bondogaposis's profile


4996 posts in 2500 days

#2 posted 05-03-2016 02:55 AM

Use plugs of a different species to get the color you want and skip the stain.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View jumbojack's profile


1685 posts in 2772 days

#3 posted 05-03-2016 04:12 AM

How about trying a permanent marker to ‘color’ the plug. The finish coat should seal the color. Try on scrap.

-- Made in America, with American made tools....Shopsmith

View a1Jim's profile


117239 posts in 3725 days

#4 posted 05-03-2016 04:20 AM

I agree with Bondo,trying to stain a sanded plug is very tough.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View McFly's profile


273 posts in 1176 days

#5 posted 05-03-2016 12:13 PM

Only way I know of to get a consistent contrasting color is with a different species of wood for the plugs, but the idea of using a fine-tipped sharpie pen could work if you have the dexterity to color within the lines on your plugs.

View SirIrb's profile


1239 posts in 1379 days

#6 posted 05-03-2016 12:52 PM

use a contrasting wood and dont use stain.

-- Don't blame me, I voted for no one.

View Ocelot's profile


2081 posts in 2786 days

#7 posted 05-03-2016 08:07 PM

I like using poplar plugs in cherry. What species is used for the bench?

There’s a guy on ebay that sells dowels in bloodwood and purpleheart etc.

154woodblanks is the name. You can email him off of one his listings to ask for something if he’s not selling what you want at the moment.

That 1/4” and 1/2” assortments he has listed at the moment look interesting to me.


View DW833's profile


220 posts in 2031 days

#8 posted 05-04-2016 12:43 AM

Thanks for the feedback. The wood is western red cedar used on an outside bench.
Just got some free walnut from a neighbor. Will try a few of those to see how they look.
Now I have 3 plugs to remove from the bench also.

View DW833's profile


220 posts in 2031 days

#9 posted 05-16-2016 01:42 AM

As an update, the walnut plugs worked out good. I thought it would be much simpler to use the contrasting wood instead of making plugs and matching the grain. Found that to be the case and expect to use contrasting wood for plugs in the future.

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