IPE Deck fastening

I am putting down 800 sq ft of 1x4 IPE and plan on screwing/plugging. I am interested in getting specific advice/recommendations for doing this. I am using pressure treated hem/fir joist. What size stainless screw and length? What type of drill bit (manufactor/type of metal) and size? What to use for boring holes for plugs ? How deep do you put screw below surface and should screw be countersunk? Ever try making plugs yourself using cutter? Anyone have a source for plugs cheapter than $.15 per plug that I was quoted? Thanks for any suggestions you have time to write. Rick
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Did that a few years ago.
I made the plugs (over 1500 !!@@##!) with at veritas tapered plug cutter. The one with three "tines" that do the cutting. I have a drill press so this went fairly quickly. I then set up a band saw jig to cut off the plugs. This was not that bad a process and was most likely a lot cheaper than the price you were quoted since the plugs are made from scrap and cutoffs.
I used 5/4 mahogany with 3'' screws. I made a simple jig to align the drill holes so that they were uniformly spaced and so the bore was square to the deck surface. I used a combo counter bore and drill bit to do the holes. I went through three of these.
After counter boring and setting all the screws I started the plugging process. I used polyurethane glue. I would just dip the end of the plugs into the glue, set them into the hole and drive them down with a hammer. Once the glue cured, I cut off the proud ends of the plugs with an offset saw and sanded smooth with an RAS.
This is the third summer since I completed the work, and the plugs still look great. I have a friend who did the screw from below thing. He likes his but commented on how the plugs give it a neat look.
One thing that I did do was to plan the deck board layout so that I knew where the board ends would butt. You will need to screw the ends of both boards at that location. To make that process easier I sistered an additional joist at those locations. I felt that that was well worth the effort.
Good luck!
Rick C wrote:

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Re: Sistering joists - my deck has doubled joists separated by 1/2" treated ply at the 6, 10, 14, 18, 22, 26, 28, and 32 foot points. Ipe is sold in 2 foot increments from 8 to 22 feet, so this worked well, and allowed the butt joints (actually not butted - went with 1/8" separation) to drain water.
Ray Mandeville wrote:

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with at veritas tapered plug

I would like to have seen you cut 1500 plugs out of Ipe. Ipe is 4 to 5 times harder than African or Honduras Mahogany.
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I cut roughly 500 in Ipe - no big deal. Did a hundred or so per night (about what can be done in a 1 ft x 6" 5/4 offcut - about 30 minutes to mill and 30 to snap out) after loosing the light for outside work. Mahogany is softer, but also tends to tear out more if there is any wobble in the stock. A sharp cutter does the work with very minimal pressure, so it's not like using a mortiser (no increase in pressure).
Touched up the cutter twice (once at about the 200 mark and once again after finishing off what I thought I needed (plenty of left-overs as it turns out). The trick is to cut at the lowest speed, and to avoid any side load. Also avoid overlapping holes.
Don't bother with the precut plugs if you are using polyurethane - the foam will force them out - use plugs cut with tapered plug cutters. I also graded plugs by color to get a better match; however, in retrospect, this was overkill.
Leon wrote:

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Rick:
If I were installing IPE decking, I would use the Eb-Ty fastener system. It is slower than simply screwing the decking down, but you need to pre-drill IPE anyway, so there probably isn't too much of a time penalty involved. Eb-Ty installs from the top, which is a very nice feature. The fasteners are basically little football shaped disks with a stem on the underside. To install them, you cut a slot in the IPE with a biscuit cutter, then use a stainless tseel screw to fasten the ebty in place, and lock it to the deck board. The Eb-Ty forms a type of tongue and groove connection with the decking. The nice thing about Eb-Ty is that it installs from the top, requires plugs on just the first starter board, and the fasteners are virtually invisible (you can see them if you look between the boards where the decking crosses a joist.
In the interest of full disclosure, McFeely's sells Eb-Ty.
Please call us if you need further info, and ask for tech support (1-800-443-7937)
Jim Ray, President McFeely's Square Drive Screws www.mcfeelys.com

am
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Also look at Ipe Clip, EB-TY's competition. Differences are minor, and some Ipe suppliers sell both systems. If you decide to do screws/plugs, McF's also carries a good SS trim head screw for the purpose - similar to that provided in the EB-TY kit..
Jim Ray wrote:

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Been there - works fine, but def more expensive - about double screws and plugs.
Hensonator wrote:

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Unless you plan on buying drill bits and plug cutters by the "gross", I would suggest you look at "Deck Master" fastners.
Take a peek here: http://www.deckmaster.com /
I bought mine from: http://www.mcfeelys.com /
They are the "way to go" in your particular story....
Rick C wrote:

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Mmm...not my experience. Bought 4 - 7/64" PC quick change TiN bits, and after almost 600 sq ft of 5/4 Ipe, I've still got two left. Did not manage to wear them out - both snapped due to side load courtesy of my less skilled laborers (the little guys have to learn somehow). Same deal with forstner bit and countersinks - touch them up every few hundred sf, and they should last the project.
As for plug cutters, I did roughly 200 plugs with an already pretty well used Veritas Snug Plug cutter, and another few hundred after sharpening. If you can sharpen a chisel, you can hone a plug cutter.
As to the Deckmaster strips, it's already a bear to control cam-out in SS fasteners when the screw heads are in plain sight - not certain that it would be much fun bottom fastening Ipe. Also - the Deckmasters show a shiny strip of metal at each joist when new. This dulls over time; however, it is noticeable. For about the same scratch, clips might be a better idea.
Pat Barber wrote:

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