Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to investigate the effectiveness of locking or staking of fasteners with epoxy material systems to prevent loss of preload in aerospace environments. Design/methodology/approach - A quantitative experimental method is adopted to evaluate epoxy material systems for staking of fastener assemblies subjected to varying dynamic and thermal loads. A statistical design of experiments is employed to probe specific design parameters. Findings - Results show that epoxy application can provide satisfactory fastener locking under a variety of service conditions. It is found that: Epon 828 epoxy provides superior fastener locking compared to 3M Scotch-Weld Epoxy 2216; epoxy application around screw threads is more effective than application around screw head; and abrading the plate surfaces with 180 grit SiC paper is not an effective or useful surface preparation technique. Research limitations/implications - The paper is limited to two commercial epoxy material systems and does not consider important qualitative considerations for industrial use such as cure time and viscosity. Practical implications - This and future paper may form the basis of new standards for epoxy staking in the global aerospace industry. Originality/value - This paper is believed to be one of the very few original experimental studies of fastener staking available in the open literature. Copyright © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.