Wood Repair - Will Epoxy hold weight?


Hi All -
First of all, sorry for the long-ish post. My problem is easy to describe when looking at it, but is a bit convoluted to describe in words.
Looking for some suggestions on repairing a piece of walnut - it's the end of part of the top frame of a canopy bed. Basically the tip of one of the horizontal supports has split off. Roughly a 1" by 2" triangular piece. The "bonus" is that this is part of the support that sits on top of one of the posts and has a hole in the middle of it where a doweled finial sits, holding the support in place on top of the post. The split took out about 1/2 of the hole. (Imagine a ladder sitting on top of four posts. Each end of the ladder, and each post, has a hold that a dowel fits into to hold the ladder onto the post. One of the ends of the ladder has split so the hole is now a semi-circle, and the dowel won't hold it onto the post.)
The dimension of the piece (which is basically a half-lap) is about 1/2" thick by 2" wide by 3" long. I call it a half lap because this part of the frame is thinner than the rest to allow it to sit down on top of the post. I don't think the weight that the frame supports is that great. The frame itself is pretty light, and the cloth that goes on top is not heavy material.
This is a pretty old piece of furniture, hand made by my friend's father. My friend has passed it along to her daughter, so she wants to make it functional again. The joint itself is hidden from view, so there's a bit of margin away from perfection.
Because the split is so irregular, and there isn't much to work with in general, I'd like to avoid crafting a piece of walnut to fit the piece. Ditto with cutting the end off and replacing with another. (To complicate matters, there's a slight curve to the piece.)
Here's my question.
Could I shape fast-setting liquid epoxy to do the job? It won't be bonding anything together, just basically being used to form a piece on top of existing wood. Is there a putty-type epoxy or filler that would work better than the liquid? Or some other material that would be strong and easily shaped?
I guess what I'm trying to do is similar to applying auto bondo to a big dent, and will sand/paint to match. Except this will have to hold a bit of weight.
Thanks in advance for any thoughts or suggestions!
Jeff
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I've been a big fan of West System epoxy for many years. Their web site (www.westsystem.com) has a lot of good technical information about various kinds of fillers you can add to fill gaps. The downside is that it's not cheap, and only available in relatively large sizes (I think the smallest is a quart).
They put out a free magazine called Epoxyworks, with back issues available online. I see a few articles which might be aprpos (especially the last one):
http://www.epoxyworks.com/15/staircase.html http://www.epoxyworks.com/22/chair.html http://www.epoxyworks.com/19/Repairing_Chair.html
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On Sun, 20 Mar 2005 22:01:00 -0500, the inscrutable Roy Smith

LIVING PROOF that one can never have too many clamps. ^^^^^^^^^^^^
--

People will occasionally stumble over the truth, but
most of the time they'll pick themselves up and carry on.
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Jeff wrote:

NO!!!
YES.
Epoxy mixed with micro-balloons to form a fairing putty the consistency of mayonnaise would knock this job out in a day or two.
You do not want to apply fairing putty more than about 1/2" thick at one time.
Epoxy will not stick to plastic packaging tape so you can use it as a dam to confine the fairing compound while it cures.
You could even use packing tape covered paint mixing sticks and screw type hose clamps to form a splint to hold the pieces together while the epoxy is applied and allowed to cure.
I could do this job in a heartbeat, and so could you; HOWEVER, not sure you want to do it.
The repair would be functional, but on a piece of furniture, especially an old one, it would be BFU (Butt f**k ugly).
Get a pro to look at this job before you do something you may live to regret.
HTH
Lew
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Thanks Lew, this is helpful, thanks. Along with Roy's suggestons (thanks Roy!) I'm starting to envision a better approach (I mean, who wants BFU?!). I think I may go the route of re-doing the area by fitting a new piece of walnut in, but I may be able to use epoxy instead of mechanical fastiners.
I appreciate the quick feedback from both of you!
Jeff

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I've used this stuff to do all sorts of wood repairs (esp exterior redwood window sills)
http://www.abatron.com /
wood epox is the right stuff, see if they have a local distributor to you
cheers Bob
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Lew Hodgett wrote:

consistency
You can also mix it with wood flour which is the dust you obtain from sanding with 220 grit or finer sandpaper or by grinding sawdust or wood shavings in a coffee grinder. That will be denser and have better tensile and shear strength that microballoons, plus it will look more like wood is that's an issue.
--

FF


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Why not simply epoxy the piece that broke off back into place? There is nothing that will fit as well as the original piece.
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Dave W wrote:

is
That would be my preference as well but sometimes the piece that broke out is too badly damaged.
--

FF


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Unfortunately the piece is no longer amongst us.
Thank you all for your suggestions. Here I go.....!
Jeff

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