Simple and easy
A One-Use Plug Cutter
© Frank Ford, 10/31/00; Photos by FF, 2000

It's tempting to think that all woodworking cutters must be of high grade steel or carbide. In fact, we can go back to the Bronze Age for a quick hit now and then. . .

I have a little trick I use when I need a small round hardwood plug that's a different size than my standard plug cutters.

In this case, I needed one about 5/32" in diameter.

I keep an assortment of little brass tubing around the shop - the telescoping kind you can find at your local hobby shop. I simply cut a small length and file some rough teeth in the end:

That's a cool file I'm using here. It has a razor sharp edge, and is sold for sharpening Japanese saws. Any knife edge file will do this job, because the idea is to make some crude teeth, not to try for any kind of symmetry or design.

Here's my cutter:

The teeth are very uneven and jagged, but they cut like the devil for a couple of shots, like so:

Now, if my plugs turn out just a hair too big, I can simply ding the teeth, bending them inward just a hair, and cut a new plug, which should come out a tiny bit smaller.

To avoid having to keep these little things organized, I just throw them away after one use. After all, it only takes a minute to make a new sharp one.

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