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For a more complex shape you can do it like an inlay, here's how. An inlay kit with an 1/8" bit was used for that, if you don't need to turn as tight you can use a common 1/4" bit with 1/2" and 1" O.D. bushings. But this will make a very snug fit, too tight for a sacrificial insert, if you have a belt sander it would be easy to take a little off the insert. Or choose 2 bushings with slightly less than 1/2" difference in OD, 3/4" and 3/8" for example.
 

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Discussion Starter #22
Thanks for the answers.
Yes, you can but it’s not easy
Step1- make a copy of the hole in a sacrificial board
Step2- use 1/2 rabbet bit to make copy from step1 oversized
Step3- use 1/2” pattern bit with template from step2 to cut out plug that exactly matches the hole.
Caveats- details in the plug will be smoothed out primarily by the 1/2” rabbet. That means that the exact plug will not match all that well if original hole was not smooth.
2- cutting a plug this way is a pain. You are cutting a 1/2” channel in your plug material. Any slip away from the edge destroys the plug.

again, thanks for the remarks
 

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John Smith_inFL said:
I would fill it with resin or Bondo - just to get it filled.
photos would help us help you.

Just wondering how that would help him cut a removable/replaceable insert for the working surface of his drill press table?
to fill the cavity, sand it smooth and start over from scratch for a new insert.
 

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I have a project where I have an arbitrary hole in a tabletop that I want to fill with an insert. I would like to use a router t make a plug that matches the hole.

I thought that I could make an oversized copy of the hole by using a 1/2” rabbet. (That you can do). I could then use a 1/4” dia pattern but (that I can’t find) to make the insert from the oversized pattern.

what is the correct method for doing this?

thanks
Just use a dutchman. The shape and size can be arbitrary, some like them shaped like bow ties. Make the insert first, then trace it onto the work piece and clean it out.
 

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To follo
How about routing out a square and making a few inserts? That's what I did with mine.
To expand, there a several ways to do it. Using a template, route out the hole and create the rabbet with a rabbeting bit.

Or you can use either a guide collet in your router base, or a bit like the one pictured to make a shallow groove the thickness of your insert, then remove the central part.

Refer to Bob Bengals excellent post.

424846
 

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I have made inserts for odd shaped voids using the archaic method of taping a sheet of paper over the void and coloring around the edge with a soft pencil. Then I simply cut the paper, attach it to the plug, and cut it out with a band or scroll saw. Maybe not much of a solution for fine furniture, but I have found it quite effective for shop equipment inserts. And if you have the forethought to cut a pattern first with the paper template, you'll be golden for the next time you need an insert.
 

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what is the counter made of ? how big is the hole ?
photos might help with the most accurate feedback.
Have you considered epoxy? Many people are doing that. I also saw a video awhile back about adding baking soda to CA glue, it expands dramatically and dries rock hard. Haven't tried it myself but looks really cool.
 

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First post
I have a project where I have an arbitrary hole in a tabletop that I want to fill with an insert. I would like to use a router t make a plug that matches the hole.

I thought that I could make an oversized copy of the hole by using a 1/2” rabbet. (That you can do). I could then use a 1/4” dia pattern but (that I can’t find) to make the insert from the oversized pattern.

what is the correct method for doing this?

thanks
Sorry that I wasn’t clear. The immediate problem is a 3x4” sacrificial piece of plywood for a drill press. The hole is not exactly square and has round corners. I hand carved a plug for that spot.

the general question is more like— how would you cut an irregularly shaped piece such as a 10” eight point star of plywood or hardwood to inlay into an existing hole. Or, even simpler, how would you create a router table insert that would fit into an existing hole in a router table..

It seems like it would be easy but, I don’t know how to do it.
The title first stated a hole in a "counter" not a table top or drill press table. So, we have switched horses 3 times in one thread. The answer is the same regardless. Make a template from paper by rubbing/tracing around the shape with a soft pencil or Crayola, transfer it to a thin piece of stiff material like plastic or plywood and use a top bearing bit to duplicate the shape in the "top". Router bits are round and of differing diameters so .... you can't get sharp corner like points of a star, you'll need to hand chisel those points or corners.
 
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