Epoxy for Laying Up Ipe Stair Treads

      Epoxy should hold a joint for glued-up stair treads in Ipe wood at 20% MC for an exterior exposure. November 28, 2006

Dr. Gene, I will be constructing as exterior spiral staircase in ipe. The dealer says the wood has been aired dried only and should be at 20% upon arrival. The stair will be ocean front on a SC beach (not far from the wooden boat show you visited last year in Georgetown, and where my partner and I finished second in the timed building, 2:13 min, and 4th overall). I will need to glue a 2" x 4" strip onto a 2" x 11" tread. This will give me the required 15" tread. Using West System epoxy, can I glue these boards together at 20% moisture content and expect that they will stay glued together? Will there be any more drop in moisture content and how will that effect the timber?

Forum Responses
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From Professor Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:
West Systems will do a great job even at 20% MC. If the two pieces are closely matched in MC, no problem. I would expect to see 16% to 18% average MC.

I did see you building your boat and noted that yours was much cleaner and neater than the winners who had glue all over everything. I am hoping to go back this year. The Wooden Boat Show in Georgetown, SC is wonderful. In fact, I got so excited that I have since built a 12' wood sailboat.

From the original questioner:
Thanks, Dr. Gene - I wasn't sure where the wood would stabilize at. 16 to 18% makes me feel better about the longevity of the glue joint.

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