Am I doing this wrong? Plug cutter set

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Forum topic by Jofa posted 01-17-2014 03:48 PM 2748 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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272 posts in 2079 days

01-17-2014 03:48 PM

I went to one of my toy stores yesterday and picked up a cheap set of plug cutters (HF).

Tried them out and they cut beautifully. However, it seems the plugs they create aren’t tight at all. I’m making holes with a forstner set and the plugs seem to be loose.

Any suggestions (or should I just get a good set not from HF)?

-- Thank you Lord for the passion and ability to make things from your creation.

13 replies so far

View patron's profile


13641 posts in 3582 days

#1 posted 01-17-2014 03:57 PM

get a better set
ones that are slightly tapered
HD lowes and others have them

from the pic you show
the tooling on these is horrible
no wonder they are loose

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

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847 posts in 1879 days

#2 posted 01-17-2014 04:26 PM

I prefer sets like this

-- Greg - Ferdinand and Son Construction: Do it right the first time. Like us on Facebook

View PurpLev's profile


8548 posts in 3890 days

#3 posted 01-17-2014 04:33 PM

get a tapered set if you want to use plugs. I agree – the machining on those HF cutters is horrible (not surprising though)... and it they are straight cut they will be loose unless the hole is slightly smaller than the plug.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

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Lee Barker

2170 posts in 3091 days

#4 posted 01-17-2014 04:50 PM

When you’re using any plug cutter, but especially the ones referenced by the OP, be sure to place the tool so that it rotates outboard of the material on one side. This will greatly facilitate chip removal, reduce overheating and result in less fiber being pulled rather than cut (which will likely make them a little snugger fit).

I like to set the drill press so the plug cutter stops an eighth shy of the bottom of the stock (which is a narrow piece). Then I set the fence on the bandsaw and saw along that eighth line and the plugs just fall out benignly onto the saw table.



-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

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117422 posts in 3818 days

#5 posted 01-17-2014 04:58 PM

Your plug cutting set does look very rough typical HF I’m afraid, all of the previous posters all have great suggestions.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

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8735 posts in 3084 days

#6 posted 01-17-2014 05:43 PM

If you have a caliper to check diameters you can see the difference.

When I buy anything from Harbor Frieght I check reviews on LJ or if a similar make is on Amazon. Take your plug cutter with you on your next Home Depot trip to see the difference?

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View Richard's profile


1922 posts in 2931 days

#7 posted 01-17-2014 10:14 PM

Yep the Plug
Cutters are not one of the HF Gems , But there are some of them out there if you look.

View hydro's profile


208 posts in 1993 days

#8 posted 01-18-2014 12:22 AM

Look at the ID profile on the cutaway. No wonder the accuracy is off.

If it were me, I would take a cylindrical grinding wheel and open up the I.D. a bit and tune it in. If you are not up to that buy a better set of plug cutters.

-- Minnesota Woodworkers Guild, Past President, Lifetime member.

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5155 posts in 2592 days

#9 posted 01-18-2014 01:18 AM

Those are plug cutter shaped objects, not plug cutters. Go to a better brand. The ones that vertigo posted are my favorites.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View lepelerin's profile


495 posts in 2566 days

#10 posted 01-19-2014 11:36 PM

You could get a set of those. They work beautifully. Impressive result but a little pricey.,180,42288

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 3550 days

#11 posted 01-19-2014 11:49 PM

I have been using the Hitachi tapered cutters that I bought at Lowes years ago. I haven’t found anything better.

View oldnovice's profile


7380 posts in 3609 days

#12 posted 01-21-2014 06:37 AM

I have both kinds, similar to the ones you posted but not HF and those posted by Vertigo and both have worked well in my case.

My set that looks similar to yours are Vermont American (made in U.S.A.) but do not look as rough as yours and the other one has no name on it but made it’s in U.S.A.!

Based on that, I believe your problem is the HF set!

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

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924 posts in 3421 days

#13 posted 01-21-2014 07:21 PM

I had a set (similar to yours) that cut straight plugs but they never fit very well. I bought a tapered set at Menards (I think) and they work much better.

-- Paul, North Dakota, USAF Ret.

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