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I was using a plug cutting bit for the first time on a project recently, and after drilling through once and having to dig the button out of the bit was a pain, so I opted to only drill partway through and remove the back end another way.

My first option was to use a thicknesser to sand off the last bit, but I got impatient and decided instead to put a sacrificial back on the board and run it across a tablesaw. This worked, but about 1/3 of the plugs wound up with chips knocked out by the teeth (perhaps I was just cutting in too far...). What is/are better way(s) to cut plugs with a plug cutting bit?

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I found this little helpful article.

The important part was he had a thicker board, cut the plugs with his plug cutter (not going through), put a piece of tape across the top (over all the plugs) then on the band saw turned the blank with the plugs 90 degrees and cut off the bottom of the board, leaving all the plugs attached to the tape

  • I bet the tape would help my situation quite a bit, and the band saw is less likely to rip up the plugs when I cut them free than a tablesaw. Though I personally won't sand and smooth my plugs ... I like the look of having little buttons sticking out. – Daniel B. Mar 24 '15 at 13:49
  • @DanielBall I would think so too. I've debated getting a plug maker, let me know how like it after you try it this way. – bowlturner Mar 24 '15 at 13:52
  • Well, this is a past project, I got enough of them with my early attempts that I could finish. I really like the plugs, and if you round the edges they come out very nice. If I have a thick enough workpiece, I'll be using them: I think they're a great way to hide screws. I prefer the button look over finish screws anyway; I want my character to come from the wood, not the hardware. – Daniel B. Mar 24 '15 at 13:57
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    I second using a bandsaw. I think a table saw uses so much force that it doesn't surprise me that the plugs were roughed up. – dfife Mar 24 '15 at 15:27
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It's been quite a while since I've used my plug cutters, but I always cut them longer (deeper) than needed, then just used a flat-blade screwdriver to pop them out. I don't recall whether prying with or across the grain worked best, but it should only take 2 tries to figure it out.

It may tear up the bottom a bit, but you put that in the hole and nobody notices, or you put the nice flat end in the hole and sand down the rough edge left sticking out. Either way, you'll probably have to sand flush.

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