Plugs for a flush finish
Wooden plugs for counter-bored screw holes finish joinery neatly – and are easy to make using a plug cutter and electric drill.
You might plug screws or fastenings through planks, as shown here on the left, or use them to seal off the holes left by fixing a new rubbing strake as in the photo above. Good plugs should not look obvious, until you want to see where they are. So choose old or spare timber which best matches that on which you are working (or a lighter-coloured wooto create contrast).
Once the plugs are cut, snap them out of the timber with a screwdriver.
Use a good wood glue and make sure you coat the sides of the holes.
Knock the plugs in with a hammer and allow the glue to dry.
Chiselling off is best done with a wide (at least one inch (25mm)) sharp chisel. Place the edge to the top of the plug and knock a piece off with the heel of your palm on the chisel handle. This shows you how the grain runs; you need to pare off the plug working uphill. It also shows you any wild grain. Pare down slowly at first controlling the chisel with your fingertips close to the edge. It takes from 30 seconds to a minute, but don’t hurry or you can rip the plug. You can get a very smooth and flush finish like this. And with some light sanding you’re ready for paint or varnish.
Maintenance and restoration. Nereis files. DMH