Plug Cuttters

zdorsch

Zach
Senior User
Looking for opinions from folks that may experience with these plug cutters:


Thanks!
 

Dave Richards

Dave
Senior User
I can't tell if those cutters make tapered plugs but I prefer cutters that do. If those do, they might be worth a shot at that price.
 

Dave Richards

Dave
Senior User
I have a set of those and a set of the Snug Plug cutters from Lee Valley. They both work well but I like the Lee Valley ones better.
 

Dave Richards

Dave
Senior User
Zach, since you're looking at plug cutters, I thought I'd share a couple of things I've found useful about using plugs.

When you are cutting tapered plugs, don't make them a whole lot taller than the depth of the holes they are going into. If they are too tall, they'll be too small to fit in the holes tightly.

The plugs should be installed with their grain aligned to the grain of the board they are going into. To make that easier, I use a trick I learned from an old boat builder. I rip strips slightly wider than the diameter of the plugs and cut the plugs down the strip. I do this on a drill press and set the depth stop so I don't cut the plugs free.

When it's time to insert the plugs invert the stick, offer the end plug up to the hole, and drive it in with a hammer. It breaks free of the stick and the stick makes it easy to get the grain aligned.

Leaving them on the stick also means you don't get your fingers in the stuff you're using to seat the plugs.

Another boat builder's trick when setting plugs is to use the varnish or whatever finish they will be using on the piece to seat the plugs. This has three benefits. Since the plugs aren't structural, the varnish is plenty strong enough to retain the plugs. There's no risk of a glue line that won't take finish, and if the plugs are covering screws that may some day need to be removed, they can be extracted without damaging the surrounding wood. That means a plug of the same size can go back in the hole when the piece is reassembled.
 

zdorsch

Zach
Senior User
Thanks Dave!

I’m waffling on ordering a set or an individual plug cutter—now I just need to decide and get to making plugs!
 

Dave Richards

Dave
Senior User
What are you plugging. Or maybe why? Are you plugging over screws? Will you mostly use the same size screws? If so, you can probably get by with one. I'm all for buying tools but if they never get used, you might make a better investment buying just the one you need and then something else.
 

zdorsch

Zach
Senior User
Planning to plug screw holes from installing trim pieces around fireplace hearth. Probably 8 plugs without plans to use plugs again, but I’ve definitely bought a tool in the past with one time use in mind and end up using a lot more.

My other thought is to use screws from underneath, but that has its own set of challenges. I ruled out finish nails because I’ve not had luck with blending putty to fill nail holes and think plugs will look better.
 

PeteStaehling

Pete
Senior User
I have the "Make it Snappy" in 1/4" and have used it a lot. It works pretty well, but can be fussy at times even when used carefully in a drill press with the depth stop set. Still it is the best one I have used, not that I have used many.

I find that I much prefer the tapered plugs over straight ones. I do find that it helps to mark them with a pencil before removing them from the block they are cut from since it isn't that easy to see the taper.

I'd still like to find a more trouble free cutter, but the Make it Snappy works pretty well.

FWIW, before I got it, I installed hundreds of plugs cut with the Harbor Freight straight cutter. It was pretty crappy but worked if kept sharp.

I used a cheap version of something that looked like the Make it Snappy for a short while, but broke off one of the "fingers" pretty soon after getting it. The concept seemed good though so I thought a better quality of the same thing might be the ticket. that is when I got the Make it Snappy. I bought two so I'd have a spare, but it has make hundreds and hundreds of plugs without a hitch other than having plugs break off and clog it up requiring cleaning it out sometimes. That happens sporadically It won't happen for a long time and then there will be a rash of occurrences where I'll have a day where it is a pain to make plugs.
 

cyclopentadiene

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Agree with Pete. Tapered is the best approach. I use the Snappy to drill the hole and the Veritas plugs.
I purchased the tapered hole/drill/bit combo (do not recall the brand but available at woodcraft) which in theory They should be better. The tapered drill bit is great asca 2” screw goes in great and notcas scary as with a straight hole. But..... the tapered plug in the tapered hole iscnotas good of a fit as prefer. I always seem to have an area with a very small gap
 

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