Ideas for filling gaps in threshold

One of the wood structural beams (4x8) of our porch serves dual use as a "step". However, over the many (~100) years, part of it has work down so that it is no longer flat with the amount of wear varying between 1/4 and 1/2" For many reasons, I do not want to replace the beam but I would like to level it off and restore it to its original height.
The 3 ideas I am considering are: 1. Sand it down to an even level and then fill it with a uniform thickness board. My concern is that it could be a fair bit of work and that I would prefer not to take off more wood.
2. Fill and level off with an expoy-type mixture. Not sure though what would be the best materials to use and how strong/durable it would be.
3. Hybrid approach. First fill to get the surface level and then cover with final uniform 1/4" piece of material (though not sure what would be best to use that would weather well and stand up to some abuse)
Any thoughts on whether this or other approaches would be recommended?
Thanks!
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blueman wrote:

Either #1 or #2 would work. Forget number three. A 1/4" material will not stand up to much of anything much less foot traffic as a step.
The easiest would be #2. It wouldn't be very pretty unless you stain or paint it, and that won't last, but it would be very strong. Don't use an epoxy type mixture, use epoxy. There are several that are designed for wood restoration. Try www.rotdoctor.com or West Marine for epoxies or you can find them at your local cement products place.
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Robert Allison
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"Robert Allison"

Coincidentally, I was thinking of doing something like this too. Recently with the purchase of a wide screen LCD TV, I gutted my entertainment center, removing some vertical panels that had half lap stile faceframes attached to them. I need to fill those half lap holes in the shelf level faceframe rail. The one thing I'm concerned about is colour matching with the existing oak stile. Can epoxy be colour matched to a certain degree? If so, does it dry darker than when first applied?
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Upscale wrote:

I have never tried to color match epoxy. There are two types of epoxy; clear (actually kind of yellow) and gray. The gray can be colored but only in solid colors gray or darker. The clear is just that, clear. I don't think you are going to match any wood colors with it, but again, I have never tried.
Since you brought this up, it has got me to wondering, so I am going to try some experimentation with some paint tint and some clear to see what happens.
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I would do none of those options. I would take a router and cut out to the bottom of the lowest depth, say 1/2". Then cleanup the edges square with a chisel.
Then I would get a piece of wood to replace this section, (consider a hardwood replacement which will stand up to time) .. same size, epoxy it in place. This will last the next 100 years. Avoid nailing or screwing so the next guy can do the same assuming the house lasts 100 more years..
blueman wrote:

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On Jan 10, 5:53am, tiredofspam <nospam.nospam.com> wrote:

What he said.
But, I'd consider adhesive caulk instead of epoxy. You don't need hardness in the glue, you don't need high strength, you just need it to weather well. And the caulk will fill gaps around your patch if you don't get a perfect precision fit...
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I'm leaning towards doing it this way using some white oak.
I'm not sure what you mean by adhesive caulk. Woud a good construction adhesive work or are you referring to something else? If something else, can you suggest some trade names so I can try to get some.
Thanks
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Well, it you just need to fill something and then cover it over with a strip of would, then at trade name you might use is Bondo. If it weathers on a car, it will weather on a woodworking project.
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wrote in message

Bondo does not weather well unless it is sealed or primed and painted. Hank
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wrote in message

Sorry, I should have read the post a little more carefully. If Bondo is not exposed to UV and moisture, it will probably be okay. I've used a whole group of Bondo through the years, but only as filler and never as an adhesive. Might work. Hank
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Most towns have long term Bondo exposure tests is progress. The OP could ask the tester how the product is working in the local environment. <G>
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Exterior caulk comes in a variety of consistencies; I was referring to the sticky kind (not exactly construction adhesive, but close). GE recommends their silicone caulks for best adhesion (and the acrylic caulks for quick/easy paint application).
It's really gap-filling that most concerns me in an outdoor step application; if a crack holds moisture, it degrades the wood fast.
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I would do none of those options. I would take a router and cut out to the bottom of the lowest depth, say 1/2". Then cleanup the edges square with a chisel.
Then I would get a piece of wood to replace this section, (consider a hardwood replacement which will stand up to time) .. same size, epoxy it in place. This will last the next 100 years. Avoid nailing or screwing so the next guy can do the same assuming the house lasts 100 more years..
blueman wrote:

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blueman wrote:

#3. No. Too thin IMO. If you do it, white oak would be a reasonable choice of wood. NOT red oak.
#2. The "restoration" epoxy someone mentioned is not meant for the purpose you intend...it is very non-viscous and is meant to penetrate into the wood (helped with drilled holes) in order to consolidate weak/rotted wood.
Regular epoxy is much thicker and could level if you constructed a dam along the sides; however, It wouldn't last well over solid wood. Plywood yes (especially with fiber glass), solid wood no.
#1. This is your best bet, I think. But don't sand, it would take forever, use a morticing bit in a router...set up boards on each side of the one you want to level, attach the router to another board so it spans those and have at it...just like leveling a cement pour.
I'd cut it down by about 3/4" to not only level but take off some weathered wood and to provide enough depth for an easily obtained 3/4" board. If you know or can determine what the old one is, I'd use the same thing; if not, white oak or locust should work well...both are hard and resistant to rotting/weathering.
I would screw the new to the old countersinking the screw heads and filling with face grain plugs. I would also set the new in a layer of bedding compound. That is a putty used for the same purpose on boats...it is basically plumber's putty with copper napthenate (a wood preservative). The reason to use it is to fill up areas between the two wood pieces that are not in perfect contact. Excess will squeeze out when the fasteners are tightened and one just scrapes it off. If either of the wood pieces are oak do NOT use steel fasteners...oak is acidic and will react with the steel. Use either stainless steel or bronze. Brass won't react but is very weak.
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blueman wrote:

Having built a boat, have used more than my fair share of epoxy fairing compound; however, advice is worth what you pay for it.<grin>
Assuming you will paint the repaired beam to protect it from the sun as well as the elements, the following will do the job:
Usre a small right angle grander equipped with a 24-36 grit sanding disc and remove any damaged/worn wood.
The idea is to get back to fresh wood leaving a coarse surface for the epoxy to bond with so it doesn't need to be level, only clean and fresh.
Coat surface with epoxy using a throw away chip brush.
Mix up some fairing putty using some Cab-O-Sil and microballoons, nothing magic about the recipe, just a little of both.
Apply putty to wood about 1/2" thick max.
Allow to cure for at least 48 hours, then scuff with 24-36 grit and repeat filling, if required.
Final application of putty should be done with a plastic spreader and left proud by about 1/16".
Allow to cure for at least a week to achieve some strength.
Now it is belt sander time.
Level out patch finishing with 100 grit, remembering to break front edge of patch by say 1/8"@45degrees.
(Use a straight edge as a fairing batten check that patch is flat and level)
When fairing patch is finished, apply a final coat of epoxy with a chip brush and allow to cure for a week, then paint after washing patch surface with soap and water to remove any blush.
Lot of work, but you already knew that.
Lew
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blueman wrote: ...to repair a worn area subject to foot traffic...
I'm of the "cut 'n patch" bunch more than the epoxy fill for this purpose, meself... :)
But, I'll throw out yet another option I've used in similar situation -- cut back the area to get an adequate depth and place an 1/8 up to 3/16" plate as the wear surface. If wanted, can use an angle for the corner.
It's pretty easy as don't need as precise a fit underneath as for the inserted wood patch so the difficulty of achieving the perfectly flat bottom and square ends is minimized and it's a permanent fix.
Disadvantage is it has to be painted and doesn't blend in as the wood repair can be made to do if that's important.
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http://www.bondo-online.com/catalog_item.asp?itemNbr
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