FCS leash plug hole


Ok so I’ve screwed up drilling the leash holes for every board i’ve made now(6 total). The bit just rips the foam, jumps, and when trying to drill on the stringer it’s a total disaster. I’m using the 1" ryobi forstner bit included in this set http://www.amazon.com/Ryobi-A9FS8-8-Piece-Forstner-Bit/dp/B00D0B7YN2. I don’t know why this gives me so much trouble but I’m guessing it has to do with my bit. Would you guys suggest buying the fcs leash cup hole saw?http://www.surfsource.net/store/product/leash_cups_-_micro_w_brass_pin1121

I’ve also seen some forstner bits with teeth at the end, would that work better than my current ryobi one? 

EDIT: I’m drilling pre-glass 




The forstner bit with the FCS pre glass plug is tricky, it will wander quickly if not careful but I can’t see why it would rip the foam or jump. Might try making a template guide with some hardboard  

Scrap foam clamped to a work bench, drill held vertical, practice until you get it perfect. 

In the stringer should be easier because the point on the bit should grab the wood.

Post glass 1" cups are duck soup. Done lots and never had one pull out.  The glass is the guide for the bit and the height of the bit is the same as the plug







With a small drill bit;  Drill a pilot hole in the center.  Then start the center pilot of the Fornster bit in the pilot hole.  Should take care ot it.  The best way to do it is to use a hole saw and a short piece of metal conduit.   You don’t have to buy the install kit.  You can get everything you need at your local hardware store.  Essentially yu use the hole saw to make a cut to the proper depth around the circumference, slide the conduit into the saw cut and then use your Fornster bit to rout out the center of the hole.  Using the conduit insures a clean accurate hole.  When beginning the hole;  once you cut thru the fiberglass, stop and remove it from the hole saw.  This will insure that the glass doesn’t tear anything up as it spins on the bit. Basically it’s the same process as an FCS fin plug install.   Not very good with word explanation.  I’ll try to take a picture of one of my kits today and post in up later.  Lowel

drill a hole (with your forstner bit) into a 1/4’’ or thicker masonite, then place the masonite on your board and use it as a guide.

Never had problems doing it like that even in EPS.

I used a forstner bit to drill a hole in cheap 1" pine from HD.

Then I use that as my guide for my ROUTER.

Super clean holes with the router.

This piece of conduit is one inch inside diameter.

Alright cool, some good advice here. Making a template seems to be the easiest and cheapest alternative. Since this was brought up why doesn’t fcs just make a leash plug template to be used with a router? It would be more accurate and less of a hassle with less tools.

Bud I like the blue resin for the leash plug. I assume you sand it off to get rid of the excess then hotcoat/gloss? I might have to give it a go on my next board.

Running a Fornster Bit down into a conduit jig is easy and accurate.  Leaves a perfectly clean hole.  I’m sure there intent was to come up with a simple fool proof method.  The hole saw bit approach is pretty simple. 

FCS plugs, or leash plugs, same thing IMO.      When I created the first leash plugs, at Surf Systems in 1971, I also made a circular router template to cut the hole.     I still use that template to this day.      I think there is way less chance of a F’k up, with a router than with a drill.     Very precise depth control, with a router, and clean edges to the cut.    So, my suggestion is, use a router.

Or you can just skip the whole leash plug in the stringer thing and put it off to the side, only in the foam. Never had one pull out and especially the under-the-glass FCS plugs, it shouldn’t be a problem.

Jamie, I did that with my latest board but it’s still tricky to get a clean hole. Also I would prefer to do it on the stringer because I believe it’s a bit stronger and cleaner looking. 



Bud, I saw those photos in a previous thread. Very helpful when I was figuring out how to do the fcs plug. Could you make a video the next time you drill a leash plug? Maybe I’m just doing something wrong even though that seems impossible since it’s pretty straight forward… Does anybody else use the ryobi forstner bit that I have? It never seemed very sharp.

:slight_smile: sure I just shaped a new board for myself I’ll shoot a short vid of the plug install.

Keep in mind you could still do the FCS leash cup after lam to make it easier.  Lam the deck, let it cure, drill the hole & throw down a small glass patch over it, brush/squeegee some lam resin and later hotcoat as usual

You have a crappy drill bit.  Find a forstner bit that is round (not X or wing shaped) and with a center pilot (pointy bit at the center).  Does not matter if it has teeth or not.  If you want to, use a punch, very small drill bit, or nail to make a tiny pilot hole… or just start the forstner bit slowly and see if you’re drilling right dead center on the stringer.  (if not, move a millimeter and try again… it will be within the overall 1" hole so no harm done.  Drill slowly and keep the drill motor vertical.  It AIN’T HARD.  Get a chunk of foam and practice a dozen times if you need to.


@keithmelville I think you have found my problem! Mine looks like an X and not round like in Buds pictures. Makes sense why the X wouldn’t work too. Now do I buy a new forstner bit or do I make a template for my router? -_-

Easy Cheap Method that i use all the time…


   Use the hole saw to drill a hone in a piece of 2x1 wood (wood about 10cm long) This is your guide hole for drilling the leash hole.

   fold some little bits of masking tape back on themselves sticky part facing out… This is to stop your guide hole from slipping around when drilling into the board, if you want to make double sure use a glue gun and put a couple of small blobs to temporarily glue the guide hole in the right place (I always use the making tape method as its fast)

Ensure guide hole is in the right place and  whilst holding the guide hole (the wood with the hole) really firmly so it doesnt move- I said really firmly.  Drill hole into the board (the guide hole makes sure that the hole is drilled where you want it without anything moving around to cause you problems)

Pop off cirlce of fibreglass with a flat blade screwdriver

Carefully dig into the foam with a flat blade screw driver along side the stringer and carefully pick some foam out- dont go too deep.

Drill a few holes in the side of the stringer with a small drill bit (weakens the stringer so can be easily snapped- less drilling wood) and snap stringer off with fingers  (careful while drilling not to drill to the deck of the board ot to catch the side of the hole with the drill bit- its easy to do correctly)

Use boring drill bit until you get the right depth.


  It might sound a bit long winded but it takes me 5 mins to do, and faultless holes every time, I also use this method with the circular FCS Plugs


The point is being missed.  The piece of conduit is what gives you a clean hole and acts as a guide.  I repeat if you use the hole saw (which has a pilot bit in the center).  Slide the conduit down into the saw cut and then run your Fornster bit into the conduit.  The conduit IS what acts as your guide.  Your Fornster bit can not jump around inside that conduit.  But what do I know.  Only been installing FCS Fin plugs and leash plugs since the mid 90’s.  And do it after glass and the hotcoat!!!.  Use milled fiber.  It’ll never pull out of that stringer.  You’ll break the tail off of your board before that leash plug will pull out.  Why complicate things.  I guess thats the “Sway Way”.  Lowel