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All-in-one Ipe deck drill/screw/plug system?

Posted by dave_nm (My Page) on
Mon, May 17, 10 at 2:35

I'm just getting round to putting in a very small hardwood deck (8' x 4' 8") in an atrium garden I've been designing/constructing for a while. Very exciting. I don't mind the sight of unobtrusive screw heads and was planning to go with brown headcote trim head screws, but just noticed that a certain company (which I think is supposed to remain nameless by the forum rules, but has been mentioned previously) is now making a single bit system that predrills with a countersink hole for headcote screws that exactly fits a glue applicator (also sold in the kit) and then pre-cut plugs (you guessed it...). I wasn't going to plug, but since there will only be 140 holes to plug in my little deck and now there *may be* a faster and more idiot-proof way to plug, I may be interested in trying it out. However, I don't really want to be an ipe guinea pig, as prior posts seem to indicate that ipe guinea pigs don't tend to fare so well.

Has anybody out there come across this type of product? (maybe more than one company makes it, but I've only come across one so far). Does it really save much time over other plugging processes, and are there any downsides (aside from the downsides of plugging in general, mentioned previously)? Any pros or homeowners with experience in this area care to share advice?

Another question: with only fourteen 1x4's to secure (8-ft long each), will I need to buy a bowrench (or other board straightener), or will it be enough to simply muscle the boards into place?

BTW, I should state the obvious, that I'm not a pro, just a motivated homeowner with a little bit of experience and a small job that could be easily-enough redone if I butcher it. I'll be working with a friend who's a structural metal contractor and also does some carpentry professionally and has built a number of decks, but none with hardwood.

The deck will either be ipe or cumaru (a local distributer has a bunch of correctly-sized cumaru boards at a good price that have been weathering in our dry climate for several months, so I'm going to have a look at those - hopefully, they'll be more stable than freshly arrived cumaru and I'm told they look very good). I'm assuming that ipe plugs in cumaru won't be a problem, aside from slightly different color and perhaps grain, which wouldn't bother me.

Thanks! I've enjoyed reading the posts on ipe decks in this forum, and look forward to more useful info.
- Dave in Albuquerque

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: All-in-one Ipe deck drill/screw/plug system?

I use a Forstner bit and a 1/8'' predrill thru the ipe not the pt frame. J.

RE: All-in-one Ipe deck drill/screw/plug system?

OK, so now I realize I'm going to have to post a link to the system I'm talking about. Sorry if it borders on advertising - I'm certainly doing my best to avoid that (while still trying to ask what seems like a valid question), and I would appreciate CRITICAL as well as optimistic comments.

I probably won't plug if I have to do it all the usual way, but before I plan to go ahead with (non-plugged) headcote screws, I thought I'd get someone with experience's take on this...

Also, comments on board wrench vs elbow grease would be appreciated.

RE: All-in-one Ipe deck drill/screw/plug system?

Dave Dude, I know the Folks at Manasquan, I know about the smart bit. No reason to get all hot about it.

You can post any supplier or product you want us moderators are fine with that.

You can use that system, buy the total package glue and all and it will most likeley work of for Ya. Or you can buy a forstner and an 1/8'' drill bit buy your own glue/plugs. Its less money to do the second choice same labor. One downside with the smart bit is adjusting the drill bit so it wont go into your frame.

Doing such a small project you might not need the bowwrench,but if you dont want to fight it, buy one.

The usual way and what you might call the non usual way are the same with the slight advanage to the forstner bit far as control goes. I have a lot of experience doing both but if ya want someone else to chime in just take a seat and wait.
John Hyatt

RE: All-in-one Ipe deck drill/screw/plug system?

Thanks John! That definitely helps. From your previous posts, it seems like you favor #7, 1 5/8" trimhead screws for 1x4. I'm assuming that would be the same for either method of drilling.

RE: All-in-one Ipe deck drill/screw/plug system?

Bowrench: Hey, aren't you always looking for an excuse to buy more tools? I know I am. If your pocketbook squirms, then buy a used one on ebay, use it, then resell it.

Plugs: Now you're taking the opposite approach. You've only got 140 plugs to put in and you're going to buy a whole contraption for it? Of course this is coming from someone that put around 2,000 plugs in a deck, painstakingly by hand last summer, so 140 sounds like a coffee break to me. :-) I'd vote for the forstner bit and plug-by-hand method. It's not rocket science, just a bit tedious.

Then again, you said you didn't mind the screw heads showing, so go for that if it floats your boat. I'm just a big fan of the high-end seamless look you get from the plugs.

RE: All-in-one Ipe deck drill/screw/plug system?

We plug rail detail but the few times the deck got it all around I bought two little plastic boxs on wheels from homecheepo garden dept. My workers just rolled around on it pulling plugs,glue,screws from its deviders.

Ipe/South American being harder than say cedar/redwood you dont have to get on it as fast with the random orbital sander to stop the glue bleed out but we try to do it right away. J.

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