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I have a love/hate thing going on with pocket hole plugs.  They are a wonderful solution and give the project a professional look.  I have purchased both the oak and paintable plugs that Kreg sells.  I find they do everything I need them to just fine. 

 

Now the hate side of the relationship... 1. They are expensive to use in places that will not be seen (but pride keeps me wanting those holes filled). and 2. They do not always match the wood perfectly.

I know there are plug cutters out there to be purchased but I would rather focus on new clamps!

 

So I saw a solution on DIY network and it has worked well so far.  I keep a container of "clean" sawdust.  (one for pine and one for oak)  When needed I mix it like putty with wood glue.  Then fill the holes using a spackle knife and take off the excess.  After sanding this looks pretty good... if not in an obvious spot.  I plan on continuing using this method so I am of course trying to perfect it.

 

My question is twofold.  Has anyone else tried this?  -and What would be the best glue to use for this?

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Pete Ticknor said:
Try these two suggestion, 1. cut the plug shorter and then glue into place.(I have used Walnut plugs on three chairs for our church) 2. you canuse sawdust and rocktight putty orjust the putty alone. (both are stainable and with just a little sanding you can make them flush)

I hold them with a pair of vise grips as I did not have a band saw at the time. You can use the same maner just hold them with the vise grip so the point is toward the handles of the grips. I brought KREG Walnut plugs but cut some pratice plugs from dowels. If you look at the chairs I did you can see the finished plugs and how they almost blend in with the rest of the Walnut on the chairs.
has anybody made a KPH plug by using a 3/8ths plug cutter ?I tryed useing a 3/9ths dowel it was slightly over sized
I had to pound them in
I used a laminate trimmer router with a flush cutter bit if left a scar so I had to re-adjust the height so the plug was slightly higher and sand it flush a couple of the plugs made out the dowels shattered
it was some cheap wood
My next project is to make plug cutting jig
so I can use My scraps to get a exact match to the wood I am useing
watch for further details
check my video on pocket plugs


Walter_lars said:
has anybody made a KPH plug by using a 3/8ths plug cutter ?I tryed useing a 3/9ths dowel it was slightly over sized
I had to pound them in
I used a laminate trimmer router with a flush cutter bit if left a scar so I had to re-adjust the height so the plug was slightly higher and sand it flush a couple of the plugs made out the dowels shattered
it was some cheap wood
My next project is to make plug cutting jig
so I can use My scraps to get a exact match to the wood I am useing
watch for further details
Jens I am going with the 3/8 plug cutter on a angle Idea
dowels in the big box stores are over-sized I had to pound them in
and some shattered as I cut the ends flush
I would rather make the plugs outa scrap from My project so the wood will match
I am making book shelves that hang above a desk so the KPH's are visible and need to be plugged
since I am making for Money I want to make as fast as possible
I bid this job on 5 hours @ $10/hr I am now in the the job for less than Min wage
Untill I can find dowels that Mic out at a true 0.375" or under to fit in a KPH

I will make the jig tomorrow
this is My first PH project on My own I used PH a few years ago in a pro cabinet shop
it was a huge jig the size of a wall mounted panel cutting machine
now for pocket holes the tool I can hold in my hand
things have changed
but time is still money
I can knock 5 to 7 plugs in the time it takes your set to make one plug
and Mine are exact size and matching wood
Nothing against you personal Jens
I have Jensons in My mothers family tree from eastern South Dakota
we might be related
I have no relatives in SD also i am en not on Any way back to pocket holes I can see perfect match but size I have had a dowel that was to large by a smith-ens so I k=just grab some 220 paper and roll it around the dowel and put short dowel in drill and spin it around a little bit.works perfect.
.
Walter_lars said:
Jens I am going with the 3/8 plug cutter on a angle Idea
dowels in the big box stores are over-sized I had to pound them in
and some shattered as I cut the ends flush
I would rather make the plugs outa scrap from My project so the wood will match
I am making book shelves that hang above a desk so the KPH's are visible and need to be plugged
since I am making for Money I want to make as fast as possible
I bid this job on 5 hours @ $10/hr I am now in the the job for less than Min wage
Untill I can find dowels that Mic out at a true 0.375" or under to fit in a KPH

I will make the jig tomorrow
this is My first PH project on My own I used PH a few years ago in a pro cabinet shop
it was a huge jig the size of a wall mounted panel cutting machine
now for pocket holes the tool I can hold in my hand
things have changed
but time is still money
I can knock 5 to 7 plugs in the time it takes your set to make one plug
and Mine are exact size and matching wood
Nothing against you personal Jens
I have Jensons in My mothers family tree from eastern South Dakota
we might be related
Ok progress report on my book shelves I stained them today
the ramin dowels sucked more stain than the pine I used
so they are extra dark
I am using min-wax dark walnut stain
just another reason to hate using dowels of mixed wood
My next trip to Rocklers I am getting a 3/8th deep plug cutter
I am not going to mail order it so I can "mic" it to make sure it will cut a true 0.375 or under and it will fit in the hole cut by the KPH drill bit
Why is making your own plugs dangerous??
Gary Linn said:
I use Titebond III for almost everything. Obviously, the way one approaches woodworking depends upon their skill level, availability of tools, project type, personal preference, and, of course, whether this is a hobby or a business. This is just a hobby for me. Early on, I realized that the labor was the same whether I built out of #2 pine or oak so I don't use pine for any furniture projects anymore. For me, cost or materials is rarely a consideration and I use the Kreg plugs whenever I rarely use plugs. Making your own plugs out of dowels could be dangerous and the dowels still cost about a dollar. I never use sawdust and glue because I usually want to stain later and there is just too much glue and I still have to sand. It can't ever be a perfect match because of grain and wood/plug color unless you mix your own stain and filler colors, too much for me to do. It seems a waste of time to spend more time on the plug than drilling the hole and screwing the joint together. But, to each his own. A previous good suggestion was to put the holes where they won't be seen, like inside a cabinet when covered by drawers. Also, you could "mix and match", that is, use biscuits in places where you don't want a hole, pocket screws otherwise. Pocket screws are clearly much quicker than biscuits, but maybe it would be easier to use a biscuit instead of filling a pocket hole. The labor could be the same. As far as taking the plug down flush, here are ways I have used: (1) route close to the panel and then sand flush - with a random orbital sander or a Fein multimaster (to get into tight places). (2) run a panel through a panel sander. I think using a flush cutting saw or chisel would be harder unless you have more experience with these tools than than I do. One place I do use plugs is for "outdoor" projects. I don't want water rusting out the screws with the joint failing. But, here again, the plugs are usually unseen and I don't spend much time on them.
What I do when I build cabinet and furniture projects I try to hide the pocket hole as much as possible and then use a matching wood plug cut with a 3/8 inch plug cutter. I do this on all the visible pocket holes unless I use a contrasting wood plug like a walnut plug in a red oak built project. On paint grade items I use a automotible body shop filler we all know as "Bondo" which is a cream filler with a hardner. It dries quick and can be worked quickly with a file, rasp and or sandpaper. You need no glue and it will fill all voids and covers completely and not visible under a paint finish. I have used it to build high end cabinetary and even used it as a filler in wood defects with success. Often the contrasting color makes a good color contrast. Out here in Oregon, it can be found at any auto parts store and even at home depot and lowes. One other though is that we have a product out here called "WoodTec" . It is ground up wood of the same species as the base material you are working. stains pretty close to the same and of course you can mix darker and or lighter wood species to get an almost exact match. Acetone works as a thinner for the wood tec product. Just some ideas that I use successfully.
I understand the desire to save money and make your own plugs but when you factor in the time required to make them yourself I really don't see how you are saving much if any money on them. What I can understand though is making them so that the material will match your project. But still at about $0.11 each when bought in the 200 packs I find them to be a reasonable cost compared to the time required to make them yourself.
I make my own dowels with a dowel cutter I purchased from Lee Valley/Veritas last year for around $20. The cutter along with a 1/2" square socket and a drill adapter to drive the socket with your drill was about $7. Using the same wood used in your project, cut a 3' long by 1/2" square piece, place one end into the cutter and the other end into the socket and drive it through the cutter with your drill. You'll end up with perfect sized dowels in any wood species you're working with. You can now cut your plugs from the dowel.

When making your own wood putty, you can use hide glue in the bottle from Titebond, it is stainable.
I have tryed mixing saw dust with wood glue before, and it does work pretty well. I have also found that the plugs work quit well. What I do to rid the extra plug sticking up, is to cut it flush with a flush cut saw or dovetail saw. Then saw lightly and fill any holes with wood putty. Works like a champ, and requires very littel sanding. But for cost, you can't beat the price of saw dust and glue...!
I have done this for smaller holes useing tite bond 2.
For my pocket holes I have found that a doll rod put in the pocket hole and cut with a flush cut saw workes great and they are avable in a lot of wood types and 1 will do a lot of holes for 2 bucks.

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