Wooden Plug Help

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Forum topic by tbullard posted 08-25-2009 06:52 AM 5103 views 1 time favorited 25 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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6 posts in 3191 days

08-25-2009 06:52 AM

Hey everyone I am an occasional lurker (especially when I am ready to by a new tool and want to read some reviews) and brand new member.

I need some ideas on how to make these.

It is a wooden pine plug approximately 2” in diameter and 1.5” tall with a 45* chamfer on one end. My current method is to use a plug cutter. Which if I needed just a couple would be great but I need to cut thousands and the plug cutter simply isn’t made for this. Also I am still left with the challenge of chamfering the end. I have been using a router but since the plug is so short my fingers are dangerously close to the bit!

My thoughts are to either purchase a dowel cutting machine or a duplicating lathe. With the dowel cutting machine I could turn 2X2 square stock into dowels them cut them into the 1.5” plugs with a miter saw but I would still need a way to chamfer them. With the duplicating lathe I cut also cut the square stock into dowels but I could also cut a \/ every 3” which would create the chamfer once I cut the \/ in half with the miter saw.

I could be way off base with either of these ideas and I may be completely unaware of the perfect tool to make these so if you have a better idea please pass it on.

25 replies so far

View a1Jim's profile


117090 posts in 3571 days

#1 posted 08-25-2009 06:56 AM

Purchase a cnc lathe

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View tbullard's profile


6 posts in 3191 days

#2 posted 08-25-2009 07:15 AM

I have a feeling that I would never recover from the cost of a cnc lathe. Is there one on the market designed for a small business? The ones I have seen look like they belong in a factory.

View John Ormsby's profile

John Ormsby

1285 posts in 3731 days

#3 posted 08-25-2009 07:50 AM

This is quite simple. Either buy 2” dowel or make it using a duplicator on a lathe. The cut the pieces to length. Drill a hole in a few holes piece of MDF that is a hair over the diameter. In this case 2”. Put this bored piece of MDF on a board and drill a bunch of small holes in the bottom of the supporting board and hook up a vacuum system under the board so as to secure the plugs. Then just run a router around the plugs in a series. Release the vacuum and pull the first set of chamfered plugs out and start over again. You could do a whole bunch in a very short time. I will try to do a Sketchup Drawing for you.

-- Oldworld, Fair Oaks, Ca

View LesB's profile


1720 posts in 3437 days

#4 posted 08-25-2009 07:52 AM

Thousands Huh! I think I would look for a source of 2” dowels and make up a router jig to make the “V” groove you mentioned. I found several sources of large dowels on the internet. One Atlas Dowels had 2” in several wood species.

-- Les B, Oregon

View grumpycarp's profile


257 posts in 3740 days

#5 posted 08-25-2009 08:03 AM

Shopbot would be one. You can get in for less than 10 grand for their little guy. I know that a whole bunch of eyes just rolled, and it is true that it is not for your average home shop. But the CNC machines that I have had occasion to use have been closer to a quarter million $ so even if this little guy can’t mill a a 49×97 sheet it still seems affordable by comparison. And you said small business. But it needs to keep working. Could you use it for other things? Millwork, sign making, repetitive cutting of small stock parts for other builders in you area?

I have a dream and one of these is in my future.

I know that I’m having fun just wondering what “thousands of “wooden pine plugs, approximately 2” in diameter and 1.5” tall with a 45* chamfer on one end” might be for . . .

Good luck to you in your endeavor.

View tbullard's profile


6 posts in 3191 days

#6 posted 08-25-2009 08:14 AM

I know that I’m having fun just wondering what “thousands of “wooden pine plugs, approximately 2” in diameter and 1.5” tall with a 45* chamfer on one end” might be for . . .

Thats an easy one

View tbullard's profile


6 posts in 3191 days

#7 posted 08-25-2009 08:23 AM

I have thought about the buying premade dowels but I haven’t found anywhere local that sells them so shipping is a factor. I am also trying to do as much work in house as possible which is why I was cosidering the Dowel Cutting Machine

Are you saying to build a table that “clamps” the plug using vaccuum from the bottom so that I can route the plugs from the top?

View Vicki's profile


1099 posts in 3338 days

#8 posted 08-26-2009 06:49 AM

Why not chamfer the edge on a stationary sander and then cut to length with a miter or band saw with a stop for the lenth of the repeated cuts. I’m sure you could make a little jig or rest for the sander to get a consistent chamfer.

Or maybe one of these gadgets to make the chamfers?


-- Vicki on the Eastern Shore of MD

View John Ormsby's profile

John Ormsby

1285 posts in 3731 days

#9 posted 08-26-2009 06:52 AM

That is what I am saying. I just about have a Sketchup drawing done to show you. I have not had much time to get it done. Been very busy. I should have it done by tomorrow. John

-- Oldworld, Fair Oaks, Ca

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John Ormsby

1285 posts in 3731 days

#10 posted 08-26-2009 07:54 AM

OK, here is a rendition of waht you might want to do. The jig is very simple and you can set a bunch of plugs and run the router around them. Blow them off with air to clean the area and repeat. I think you could get these done in little time. Make sure you use a vacuum hold down system to secure the pieces. A router will grab and throw them from the jig. I think 3 holes per plug hole would be best. This will help them from turning while running the router. I have made up to 3,000 cuts on boards in one day. Dowels will obviously take a bit more time. As for making the dowels, an automatic duplicating lathe would work the best. Maybe you could find someone who has one and sub it out. John

-- Oldworld, Fair Oaks, Ca

View TheWoodDoctor's profile


2 posts in 3218 days

#11 posted 08-26-2009 07:59 AM

Can you not just turn them on the lathe, put in a v cut every 3 inches, part off or take them to a saw and job done? You would not need to use a router that way, one less machine to set up.



View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2718 posts in 3280 days

#12 posted 08-26-2009 11:58 PM

Outsource!—————-If you are doing that many, there are companies that already have the right equipment in place. You could spend a fortune gearing up for this. While huge quantities might justify that, you must weigh those costs. I assume this is some sort of production setting, and not simply for the satisfaction of doing a project. I spend a lot of time doing personal projects just because I want to, but when it comes to business, logic takes over (well sometimes it does) Again, I’m saying this not knowing what you’re doing so take it for what it’s worth. I’ll see if I can find one of those companies if you’re interested. I get fliers all the time at my shop.


View grumpycarp's profile


257 posts in 3740 days

#13 posted 08-27-2009 07:49 AM

As I am now writing this 8/26/09 @ 8:25 p.m. the original thread for this topic shows “posted 1 day ago” but I made my reply more than a day ago as yesterday I didn’t even turn on the box. Went to work and then a baseball game and after walking the dog in between all these events didn’t have time to even look in so I know it has been more than 24 hours. That doesn’t bother me per se but . . .

It also shows the original poster as joining one day ago. When I remarked above of my amused speculation at what thousands of chamfered plugs might be for the poster immediately referred me to pyrotechnics website. You can find it in the sixth reply to the o.p above. I would take from this that a perfect 45 chamfer isn’t necessary. ;-( The chamfer simply facilitates inserting the plug into the tube.

So the following is a little more than a bit disquieting:

Yesterday morning (8/25) the front page of the San Francisco Chronicle had an article about a 17 year old drop-out who showed up at his former school with 10 pipe bombs, a chain saw and a sword/knife in excess of 24 inches. He detonated two of the “bombs” and is alleged to have been attempting to start the chainsaw to “finish the job” (emphasis mine) Newspaper article here.

My second point is (if you’re still with me) to ask you readers, “If you seal both ends of a plastic pyrotechnic mortar tube, with [the inquired about 2” x 1.5”] chamfered plugs, while placing a pyro charge between what YOU would name the result of the effort and why would you do this?” Please show your work.

The last point I would make is that the plugs in question are available in the size requested from the mentioned website for .35 cents each in singles and there is a price break at 400 to .25 cents/ea. As the o.p. stated above he/she, “needed to cut thousands” one would arrive at $250.00 per thousand. For any legitimate user of these items (read adult) this would seem a reasonable price to pay for the immediate gratification offered. I cannot imagine a project of a scale that would require two inch hole plugs that would be derailed bu the additional cost of of a couple dozen hole plugs for a total cost of of twelve bucks. As Mr. Shepherd stated above, other people are already making this item, including the one referenced.

There is probably a completely legitimate answer to all the above. And I would love to hear tbullard elucidate on the project.

I am a nut, no question. That I’m far off base is likely. I am still submitting the above “coincidence”.

View fredf's profile


495 posts in 3704 days

#14 posted 08-27-2009 07:49 PM

grumpy I think the 5th paragraph on explains it well enough . . .

-- Fred, Springfield, Ma

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

2790 posts in 3432 days

#15 posted 08-27-2009 10:14 PM

I’d get some 2” dowels, put each in a lathe mark the length of the plug and then cut a v groove at each mark. I’d then cut them to separate them on a miter, table, or band saw.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

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