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One of my projects in the spring will be rebedding my teak handrails. I assume this means removing the teak bungs so I can get at the screw heads beneath. However, I've never done this before. I've heard of "drilling out the bungs", but I'm not sure of the technique involved. Is it simply using a bit the same size as the bung, or is there more too it? FWIW, the underside of the bolts are easily accessible in the cabin. Any advice appreciated.
 

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If the teak is varnished, take a scraper and LIGHTLY scrape the varnish off the area around the bung. Then take an appropriately sized self tapping screw and drive it into the bung w/ your electric drill. *Theoretically* when the screw hits the screw in the wood it will cause the bung to lift and break out of the hole. You can then use a pick or awl to get out any loose pieces.
I personally prefer to use an awl to break out the pieces and just take my time but then I'm usually not taking out more than a few at once.
 

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I use a bit that is smaller than the bung. When I used a bit the same diameter as the bung sometimes I would get splintering around the hole from wood glued real good to the bung. With the smaller hole I push the remaining bung wood into the hole working outwards towards the wood.
 

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I use a small portable drill press that attaches (chucks-up) to a variable speed hand drill ... and a forstner bit of the exact same size as the bung .... 3/8" or 1/2". After locating the exact center of the bung and mark it with an awl, I start by reverse drilling with the forstner bit - this is to prevent 'tear outs' of the surrounding wood; running the forstner in reverse simply 'cuts/slices' the diameter; but not as aggressively as when in forward. Once Im about 1/8" deep, I run the forstner in the correct direction and down to the screw head..... perfectly bored hole, no ragged edges nor tear outs at the surface.

If the teak is VERY dry, which can cause increased 'tear outs' at the edges of the bore at the surface, I use a 'surface jig' (just a steel plate to which a large steel washer is welded and then bored to the corrected diameter) and press the jig into the surface (washer side down) while reverse then forward freehand drilling with the forstner bit, pushing the 'jig' down onto the surface with my other hand.

BTW - I have probably more than 4000 'bungs' on my boat; so, I get a lot of practice with bungs. All the exterior bungs are epoxy glued, never set in varnish or just press fit ... no leaks and few repairs. ;-)

Forstner: Bosch 1 in. Forstner Bit-FB016 at The Home Depot
Portable Press / drilling jig: http://www.homedepot.com/p/General-Tools-Drill-Guide-and-Chuck-36-37/100349264
 

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Sailordave's self tapping screw trick can work well but only if the bung has not been glued in with anything more than some varnish, and providing it's deep enough for the screw to get a grip.
 
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I've found the screw trick to work well in the course of pulling dozens of bungs. Drill a pilot hole about the center with a 3/32" or smaller bit, then drive a coarse-thread drywall screw in slowly, by hand, so the threads get a bite. When the screw bottoms against the fastener, the bung usually pops out. When only part of it breaks out, get the rest out with an awl, working from the center of the hole out, not vise-versa. Avoid damaging the edge of the hole that the bung fits into. Worst case, get enough wood out to get your Phillips head securely into the buried fastener. Removing it tends to push any remnants out of the hole. Once you get a rhythm going, you can move along pretty fast--a lot quicker to do than it is to describe.
JV
 

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Another tool besides an awl is a small gouge to get those extra wood bits out. I've used one to clean out broken dowels, which are more tenacious than bungs.
 
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