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Thistle 1040 - Plugging away...

By Thistle1040 - Posted on 10 March 2012

rail plugsI now have both rails on, plugged and sanded. The outer rail came from long piece of purple heart that was salvaged from another boat project and was going to be discarded. It was too nice a bit of wood to not use. The only problem it had was that the screw holes had been pre-drilled by a drunken novice (not me... really...) and at least one hole on each side was so far from the center line of the wood that they were unusable. Making old usless things new and beautiful though is what this project is all about and I manged to salvage the nice purple rail and it looks great. 

This photo shows a rail that has just been plugged after being belt-sanded flat. This was a salvaged piece of wood remember so that's why you see some of the top edge already rounded. After the plugs dry and are sanded smooth, I used a 3/8" round-over bit in my router to round off the edge. I'll post a photo later of the finished rails as they're looking great!

Some tips on plugging screw holes:

* Tapered plugs are created by drilling the plugs full-depth. As the cutter goes farther into the wood cutting the plug, the top edge is shaved to a smaller diameter. So, this means that if you cut your tapered plugs from a 3/4" plank, you'll get nice tapered plugs that insert easily with a snug fit.

* I use Gorilla Glue for plugs and small projects like this. It expands to fill gaps, is waterproof and sets up quickly. It's great stuff except that your fingers will have black residue on them for a couple of days unless you wear gloves.

* When you're knocking off the ends to sand them smooth, leave a good 1/4" proud to avoid breaking a plug off inside the screw hole. I hate it when that happens because I have to drill the plug out and replug the hole. Better to do a little more sanding. I use my Porter Cable 6" dual action sander for doing this kind of suff.

Best Marine Epoxy

My favorite epoxy? Progressive Basic No-Blush Epoxy

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