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screw pelleting oak

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adzeman

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I have come up against a problem screw pelleting some oak, in that, when I make the pellets using my pillar drill/pellet bit, the oak burns. At first I thought this was due to my pellet bit being blunt. I have had it for a number of years and recently pelleted a project using ash with no problems, or maybe the speed of the pillar drill is too fast. Slowing the speed down had no effect. As luck may have it I had a brand new unused pellet bit in my drill drawer. This did not work either on slow or fast. I cant use the pellets even with an attempt to sand. Tried on a piece of scrap which when face sanded left a fine black line around the pellet making in stand out like a chapel hat peg. Will spraying the bit with router bit spray (which I have none) work or am I resigned to purchasing turned pellets from the timber yard? Anyways, the jobs stopped till tomorrow.
 

TheTiddles

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Is it a tapered cutter? Those should remove the surface as the depth increases

Aidan
 

Rob Platt

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i dont remember having a problem except when cutter has been less than sharp or possibly dirty on the inside
id give it a clean up and try some other pieces of timber to see if its doing the same on those. did a load of 12mm pellets with a electric drill on site in american white oak and mine cut fine. this is probably not much help but sometimes we can only state the obvious. good luck.
all the best
rob
 

Rob Platt

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Jonzjob":3qj2q8ro said:
For a dimmie like me can you describe what screw pelliting is please Adzman? Is it a type of plug cutter?
Tis when you drill a hole say 12mm diameter maybe the same deep depending on the thickness of the wood and then hide the screw away inside the hole and plug it with a piece of wood to match the same. normally used in varnish work and preferably using a similar grain to the surrounding area to disguise the fixing. the pellet which is oversize is glued into place and when dry is planed chiseled sanded whatever is required to finish it flush. hope that explains it
all the best
rob
 

Jonzjob

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Perfectly mate, ta :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

In fact it's what I'm doing to our stairs at the moment. Open plan in the lounge and I've just stripped the white paint to find the screw holes filled with a totally different colour, so forstener bit and plug cutter to the fore and about 80 plugs to cut and fit. :shock: :shock:

Just a different name for it :D
 

adzeman

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Sorry about not being on line when you queried my plug cutting. I have found working with oak has an inherent problem with staining similar to teak but not as severe. When its ripped on the circular saw it can stain the blade blue. In the fifties when a glue called Beetle Glue was used flour/talc was mixed with the glue to stop staining. In the back of my head I believe it could due to how or length of time it has been seasoned. I have tried the plug cutter on a different timber. I am going to purchase some turned plugs today and try some router cutter spray.
 

Chrispy

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Just a thought, are you using dry or green Oak? I know that green Oak in contact with iron or steel will blacken very quickly, is it this thats happening?
 

adzeman

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Its not green oak, or should I say it was not bought as green oak but seasoning these days is not what it used to be. I have just returned from my local timber yard. We are very lucky in Sussex where there is a large community of timber craftsmen which is reflected in the quality of the timber suppliers. I discussed my problem at the yard to which I was informed is common, its the tanning in oak. The yard inform me they sell 20 times more oak pellets than the other species. This is OK for plank sawn timber but not for quarter sawn which when going through a ray gives a nice flowered grain. This requires using a plug cutter to match the grain on the plug. One guy says he cuts them very slowly using a cordless drill. Another guy said try some WD40. he had never done it but it might work. Another says he makes his own on a lathe. The plugs I bought cost me £10.00 for a hundred.
 

adzeman

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10p is probably worth it when you consider, using the plug cutter in a cordless drill works but it takes an age to cut one plug. Its taken 15mins to cut one plug. Getting it started was hairy, damaged the test piece. Started the plug cut in the pillar drill then switched over to the cordless,, this worked but its taken over an hour to do five. WD 40 DOES NOT WORK! (homer) Doh The answer must be if doing a project for someone else is using a small lathe such as a Unimat. Is there anyone out there with this experience? Is it worth it? I must admit I do get satisfaction when a well selected pellet disappears from view when sanded to a finish. Sad I know.
 

Shrubby

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Mike
Don't spray lubricants on the cutter - it will play havoc with glue and finishing. From experience - Try the Veritas tapered plug cutter used in a pillar drill, drill the counterbore with a forstner and you should get excellent results .
Matt
 

adzeman

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Thanks Shrubby, you are so right about the lubricants which is why I put in the Homer. Having had put to me as a suggestion I had to try it, like putting my finger in the fire to see if its hot. Do you agree placing the plug cutter in a cordless drill or pre-drilling first with a Forstner and the the plug cutter? I was going to use a Forstner bit to start but did not have one that matched. By just starting with the plug cutter worked as the black/burnt bits were just at the top of the plug and is sanded off. Its the time it takes that has taken over now.
 

Shrubby

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Mike
I've never had any success plug cutting freehand and always use a pillar drill, you can get the feed pressure just right.Slow=burning,fast=plug snaps inside cutter.
I cut them from scrap material and leave them attached to the board until needed. This means you can select just the right piece of grain for a good match,pop the plug out with a screwdriver ,this makes the grain direction obvious - easy to align with the surrounding wood.
For the hole I counterbore with a forstner and then drill a pilot hole (drill locates in the centre dip left by the forstner) Modern screws like Reisser or Spax self countersink. If you're doing trad. stuff with brass or bronze slotted screws then a clearance hole and countersink - handheld drills for all of this
Matt
 

adzeman

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Good advise and is generally what I do. I keep a stock of pellets in tins. 3 actually softwood, mahogany and ash, no problems its just this oak and its tanning. Could you tell me what your experience is in making oak pellets, do you experience some burning? I looked up your preferred cutter and will give them a try. The make I have been using is the Trend snappy. I am looking to anyone out there that makes their plugs using a lathe. Maybe I should put a post on the turning section. Thanks again for your anvice.

Regards
 
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