Ipe Pergola - Sliding Dovetails - Water Protection

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Forum topic by TheOtherMrRogers posted 09-13-2014 10:56 PM 1119 views 0 times favorited 2 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View TheOtherMrRogers's profile


41 posts in 1598 days

09-13-2014 10:56 PM

My friend and I have a question for the Lumberjocks community.

He’s buiding an Ipe Pergola. It looks AWESOME!!! He’s using stopped sliding dovetails,

open at the top, for the jointery of the beams. Very nice fitting, he’s doing a great job.

The joints are nice and tight.

We live in a Northern State, and we were wondering about the risk of water seeping into the joints, freezing and causing damage.

So here are the questions:

1: Should we be worried about freezing?
2: What actions, if necessary, should we take to protect against freezing damage?

Any info / advice would be appreciated.

-- For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?

2 replies so far

View AandCstyle's profile


2533 posts in 1674 days

#1 posted 09-13-2014 11:41 PM

I have no experience with this so take my thoughts with a large grain of salt.

1. When the water gets into the joint and freezes, it will about double in size so 1/32 gap filled with water will become 1/16 ice. Is that enough to do anything to the joint?
2. Clear silicone caulk would prevent any water from getting into the joint if it is well done.
3. Drill a small weep hole into the bottom of the joints so any water has a way to drain out and ice has room for expansion.
4. Bottom line I don’t think it will cause any problems, but maybe it has never been done that way for a reason. :D

-- Art

View Ger21's profile


1045 posts in 2548 days

#2 posted 09-14-2014 12:31 AM

I doubt that freezing water would do any damage. If the joint is decent, there shouldn’t be hardly any water in there anyway.

-- Gerry,

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