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Anyone work with ipe?
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I'm just about finished installing a set of steps with ipe treads (9' wide and 6' deep), and I'm getting conflicting advice on how to finish the surface. Sanding or not sanding, cleaning or not cleaning, Cabot's Australian Timber Oil (it's good or it sucks) or Sikken's or something else, etc. The screws are countersunk and plugged (all 168 of them), so there will be sanding involved, so I'm thinking I need to sand the whole thing (but with 80-60 grit to leave a nap).

Any advice would be appreciated. Oh, and some advice for others: never, ever attempt to screw down a piece of ipe without drilling the pilot hole (I forgot (I did the counterbores first, then the screw hole) on two holes, and one screw is permanently attached halfway: had to recut the piece)

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Re: Anyone work with ipe? [Just Old Again] [ In reply to ]
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Ipe is a naturally hard, and I mean very hard, rot resistant wood. When sanding, be sure to wear a mask or respirator. The dust has toxins in it which can produce a wicked rash if you happen to be even slightly alergic. That said, I have seen it left natural and also sealed with an oil based finish. Sorry, I don't remember the name. I would imagine if you used a good quality product you won't have problems. Try asking the guys where you bought the Ipe in the first place, they can probably give you good recommendation.

Just curious, how many bits did you go through when installing it?

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Re: Anyone work with ipe? [Brokeneck dave] [ In reply to ]
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Ipe is a naturally hard, and I mean very hard, rot resistant wood. When sanding, be sure to wear a mask or respirator. The dust has toxins in it which can produce a wicked rash if you happen to be even slightly alergic. That said, I have seen it left natural and also sealed with an oil based finish. Sorry, I don't remember the name. I would imagine if you used a good quality product you won't have problems. Try asking the guys where you bought the Ipe in the first place, they can probably give you good recommendation.

Just curious, how many bits did you go through when installing it?


Luckily, I haven't had any issues with reactions to the dust. We want to maintain the original look, so we're going to oil it. The ipe supplier (who is only about half an hour away, luckily) suggested the Cabot's, but the local building supply store (not a big box) said the Cabot's is crap (even though they sell it), and the label is wrong when they say to use a lambswool applicator (the store says to use a brush!). Saw on an old deck forum a recommendation away from Cabot's. ipedepot.com recommends Messmer's. Ipe Clip sells Ipe Oil. Sigh.

I didn't break or wear out a single bit. About 150 holes (only 8 to go!), and here's how I did it:

1) Make a storyboard for the holes for the long boards (I did picture framing on the top landing and the two steps)
2) Use a drill press for the counterbore (3/8" Speedbor spade bit)
3) Use a portable drill guide for the 1/8" pilot hole

Did all the drilling on my garage floor. The spade bit left a perfect guide hole for the pilot hole and went nearly through the board; the drill guide kept me from changing the angle of the bit as it went in and came out. Now I have three extra unused 1/8" HSS bits...

When doing the counterbore, I could feel the heat about three inches away. When cutting the plugs after install with a japanese saw, the thing got so hot I had to blow on it every once in a while so I could hold it.

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"i disagree with your analysis [or judgment], nevertheless you have the responsibility of moderating this board so i honor your authority to make the moderating decisions."
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Re: Anyone work with ipe? [Just Old Again] [ In reply to ]
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Ask here:
http://woodcentral.com/

Just Triing

Triathlete since 9:56:39 AM EST Aug 20, 2006.
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Re: Anyone work with ipe? [Just Old Again] [ In reply to ]
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Sorry, don't know about Ipe, but Pie on the other hand, I know that shit.



"It takes courage to do it, to be a runner. We all found that out a long time ago. Because it's about more than fatigue. It's about pain, and dealing with it for a long time. And its about resolve." - Quentin Cassidy
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Re: Anyone work with ipe? [DavHamm] [ In reply to ]
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In Reply To:
Ask here:http://woodcentral.com/[/reply[/url]]

After reading that and a bunch of other stuff, I went with Penofin:









A friend now tells me he heard that ipe doesn't play well with glue (too much oil?) and that using wood glue might result in the plugs coming up in the future. Sigh.

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"i disagree with your analysis [or judgment], nevertheless you have the responsibility of moderating this board so i honor your authority to make the moderating decisions."
Last edited by: Just Old Again: Jul 21, 10 7:15
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Re: Anyone work with ipe? [Just Old Again] [ In reply to ]
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First - very nice job Ken.

As to glue and ipe- yup it is a bear to glue. Two things work against you here - yes it is oily, and also it is, as you know, very dense. As such the glue has a hard time penetrating pores to make a good bond. You will hear a lot of stories about ipe/glue failures, but these are mostly people trying to use glue as a structural bond, which is not your case.

If you were to need to replace plugs keep some ipe scraps around. I would really recommend using a tapered plug cutter (Veritas makes really good ones, though there are some Asian knock offs coming out on the market now). Second, to re-glue get the strongest non-polar solvent you can find and clean all glue contact surfaces. Toluene or xylene would be preferred, though acetone works in a pinch. Forget alcohol. Make sure you give enough time for the solvent to flash off before applying your glue.

As to glue choice, Fine woodworking test strength/failure of various glues on a variety of woods, including ipe. Though convential wisdom is to use epoxy or Polyurethane (ie Gorilla glue), the strongest bonds were made with Type 1 PVA (Titebond III). This will give you water resistance on the glue joint as well. I would let the re-glue set up for a couple of weeks if at all possible before re-applying your finish to allow the glue to fully set.

Again, nice job - you can see a lot of attention to detail there.

Jim
"In dog beers, I've only had one"
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Re: Anyone work with ipe? [jriosa] [ In reply to ]
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First - very nice job Ken.

As to glue and ipe- yup it is a bear to glue. Two things work against you here - yes it is oily, and also it is, as you know, very dense. As such the glue has a hard time penetrating pores to make a good bond. You will hear a lot of stories about ipe/glue failures, but these are mostly people trying to use glue as a structural bond, which is not your case.

If you were to need to replace plugs keep some ipe scraps around. I would really recommend using a tapered plug cutter (Veritas makes really good ones, though there are some Asian knock offs coming out on the market now). Second, to re-glue get the strongest non-polar solvent you can find and clean all glue contact surfaces. Toluene or xylene would be preferred, though acetone works in a pinch. Forget alcohol. Make sure you give enough time for the solvent to flash off before applying your glue.

As to glue choice, Fine woodworking test strength/failure of various glues on a variety of woods, including ipe. Though convential wisdom is to use epoxy or Polyurethane (ie Gorilla glue), the strongest bonds were made with Type 1 PVA (Titebond III). This will give you water resistance on the glue joint as well. I would let the re-glue set up for a couple of weeks if at all possible before re-applying your finish to allow the glue to fully set.

Again, nice job - you can see a lot of attention to detail there.


I've got a bunch of scraps lying around (when your supplier has only even lengths and your boards are mostly just over 8'...); I've also read about the nightmares of cutting your own plugs (between the smoke and the gunk building up on the cutter). There are these Extreme Plugs that have ridges on the side that might work better. My friend the woodworker also suggested using acetone. I used Titebond III (good advice from a store, I guess).

As for attention to detail, I'm like Salieri in _Amadeus_: gifted by God with the desire, but cursed with the lack of skill to carry it out.

Oh, my buddy claims that he can dent ipe by hitting it with a piece of oak. I disagreed. I tried it with a 1' piece of oak threshold and a scrap of ipe, and all I got was a tingling up my arm and crushed corners on the oak. :-)

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"i disagree with your analysis [or judgment], nevertheless you have the responsibility of moderating this board so i honor your authority to make the moderating decisions."
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Re: Anyone work with ipe? [jriosa] [ In reply to ]
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Just revisiting this (reading Herbert's deck material thread), and I thought I'd say that five years later, not a single plug of the 168 has moved.

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"i disagree with your analysis [or judgment], nevertheless you have the responsibility of moderating this board so i honor your authority to make the moderating decisions."
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Re: Anyone work with ipe? [klehner] [ In reply to ]
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Just curious how the Penofin is holding up. How often have you had to refinish?



"Honestly, triathlon is a pussified version of duathlon on that final run."- Desert Dude

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Re: Anyone work with ipe? [teekona] [ In reply to ]
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teekona wrote:
Just curious how the Penofin is holding up. How often have you had to refinish?

The Penofin usually only lasts a season or two. I just redid it a couple of weeks ago after not doing it for a couple of years. It looks great, and still not a single plug has popped. Excuse the paw prints on the bottom step...


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"i disagree with your analysis [or judgment], nevertheless you have the responsibility of moderating this board so i honor your authority to make the moderating decisions."
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Re: Anyone work with ipe? [klehner] [ In reply to ]
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That looks great.
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Re: Anyone work with ipe? [klehner] [ In reply to ]
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Google where Ipe comes from. Unless you are getting certified wood and you are confident of the program you might be shocked.

klehner wrote:
I'm just about finished installing a set of steps with ipe treads (9' wide and 6' deep), and I'm getting conflicting advice on how to finish the surface. Sanding or not sanding, cleaning or not cleaning, Cabot's Australian Timber Oil (it's good or it sucks) or Sikken's or something else, etc. The screws are countersunk and plugged (all 168 of them), so there will be sanding involved, so I'm thinking I need to sand the whole thing (but with 80-60 grit to leave a nap).

Any advice would be appreciated. Oh, and some advice for others: never, ever attempt to screw down a piece of ipe without drilling the pilot hole (I forgot (I did the counterbores first, then the screw hole) on two holes, and one screw is permanently attached halfway: had to recut the piece)

Life is full of froth and trouble, two things stand in stone
Kindness in another's troubles, courage in one's own
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Re: Anyone work with ipe? [len] [ In reply to ]
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len wrote:
Google where Ipe comes from. Unless you are getting certified wood and you are confident of the program you might be shocked.

klehner wrote:
I'm just about finished installing a set of steps with ipe treads (9' wide and 6' deep), and I'm getting conflicting advice on how to finish the surface. Sanding or not sanding, cleaning or not cleaning, Cabot's Australian Timber Oil (it's good or it sucks) or Sikken's or something else, etc. The screws are countersunk and plugged (all 168 of them), so there will be sanding involved, so I'm thinking I need to sand the whole thing (but with 80-60 grit to leave a nap).

Any advice would be appreciated. Oh, and some advice for others: never, ever attempt to screw down a piece of ipe without drilling the pilot hole (I forgot (I did the counterbores first, then the screw hole) on two holes, and one screw is permanently attached halfway: had to recut the piece)

Seven years ago, but thanks.

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"i disagree with your analysis [or judgment], nevertheless you have the responsibility of moderating this board so i honor your authority to make the moderating decisions."
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Re: Anyone work with ipe? [klehner] [ In reply to ]
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Years ago I knew an old guy who was of all things a retired professional wrestler. I knew he had a barn full of old wood he had collected and I wanted an aquarium stand build so I went over to take a look. Honduran mahogany that was used to make crates to ship engine parts years ago that he rescued from the scrap heap. I bought as much as I could.

klehner wrote:
len wrote:
Google where Ipe comes from. Unless you are getting certified wood and you are confident of the program you might be shocked.

klehner wrote:
I'm just about finished installing a set of steps with ipe treads (9' wide and 6' deep), and I'm getting conflicting advice on how to finish the surface. Sanding or not sanding, cleaning or not cleaning, Cabot's Australian Timber Oil (it's good or it sucks) or Sikken's or something else, etc. The screws are countersunk and plugged (all 168 of them), so there will be sanding involved, so I'm thinking I need to sand the whole thing (but with 80-60 grit to leave a nap).

Any advice would be appreciated. Oh, and some advice for others: never, ever attempt to screw down a piece of ipe without drilling the pilot hole (I forgot (I did the counterbores first, then the screw hole) on two holes, and one screw is permanently attached halfway: had to recut the piece)


Seven years ago, but thanks.

Life is full of froth and trouble, two things stand in stone
Kindness in another's troubles, courage in one's own
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Re: Anyone work with ipe? [klehner] [ In reply to ]
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Still looks good. Do you have to sand it before refinishing?



"Honestly, triathlon is a pussified version of duathlon on that final run."- Desert Dude

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Re: Anyone work with ipe? [teekona] [ In reply to ]
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teekona wrote:
Still looks good. Do you have to sand it before refinishing?

No, I just scrub it with water and a brush. Ipe really doesn't take well to sanding. You have to use that green sandpaper that is used for metal. Seven years on, there really isn't anything protruding to sand. It's not like other woods (even teak) whose grain gets raised by washing.

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"i disagree with your analysis [or judgment], nevertheless you have the responsibility of moderating this board so i honor your authority to make the moderating decisions."
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Re: Anyone work with ipe? [klehner] [ In reply to ]
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I was looking at a video on the Penofin website, and for a deck in the condition that mine is in (grey, weathered) they recommended cleaning, brightening, sanding and then refinishing. At least that is what I recall. I was looking at a lot of ipe care info one night.



"Honestly, triathlon is a pussified version of duathlon on that final run."- Desert Dude

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