A neighbor recently gave me 6 6×32" pieces of what he saysv is Brazilian walnut (ipe). Also is a 4×4 about 4 feet long and a 28 gallon tub full of 6-10" long cut off pieces from building his deck. Any ideas on what I can do with this wood? From everything I have read this stuff is tough to finish. ...hard to cut…hard to glue…sounds like a pain in the ass to work with…but sure is pretty to look at. I'd rather not just waste it (he wanted me to throw it in my fire pit) any suggestions or tips for working this wood will be greatly appreciated
The 6 6X32 pieces could make a top for an outdoor table. The top would be 36X32 if you use them all. That might work for a low(ish) outdoor coffee table. For a higher side table you might want to scale the size back some.
Ipe is great for outdoor furniture, but all screw construction. If you have enough, a couple of patio end tables with a reclaimed rustic top? Sounds like you got enough for at least 1 foot stool to go with an adirondack chair.
Yes on screw construction. Countersink them then add dowels.
Does the Ipe have a groove in the edge? If so, you can use blind fasteners.
If not, you can make a groove in the edge with a biscuit jointer. They aren't cheap, and you probably couldn't get just a handful… Except … Wait for it… It should be somewhat obvious that I have some. PM me and I can send em to you. You pay shipping.
All that said, using plugs is legit, and it looks just like a dowel in the finish. It actually is a nice accent. Just lay them out on even intervals and in a straight line across the entire surface. I go with went one inch in from the edge on my most recent project (in locations where two scres/plugs per framing member were needed).
I have some scrap, and intend to make a couple moulding planes with it. Perhaps a bench plane, for the experience.
A couple other ideas:
Ipe is noted for movement, but it sounds like your longest piece is only 36 inches. Not a huge concern here.
It really is beautiful wood. Don't breathe the dust.
When I first saw the title of this topic I thought it read, "What to do with pie".
Looks like everyone else already gave good answers regarding the real question but if anyone is uncertain about appropriate uses for pie, just send the pastries along to me and I'll take care of the problem.
Great feedback guys….I gather from the response that gluing is out of the question? I like the mallet idea…as for the tiny deck idea…cool….but I'd have to keep it a secret. ....wouldn't want everyone to know I have a tiny deck! (However…I heard that if you trim the bushes around your deck it looks bigger. ...)
I have made several boxes from Ipe and glued them up with Titebond II with no subsequent problems. Used both splined miters and box joints. As far as finishing, it is open grained (like oak) but I filled the grain with Timbermate and it finished beautifully!
Some people report problems gluing ipe, some don't. One possible issue could be that the name "ipe" is used for several species of wood and isn't actually a species of its own. This could be why glue works for some people then fails for another.
I've heard mixed reports on gluing. Those who claim success generally add that they had used acetone or other solvent to clean the Ipe prior to gluing.
I have seen it glued in photos, and have recently glued some in the wild, to find out for myself. Time will tell. (I did use the acetone wipe down method, and the foaming gorilla glue. That stuff is messy. I have heard Titebond III works well if the surface is cleaned with solvent)
All hearsay. My experiment is just a couple weeks old. A year is what I've heard is the failure point for glues on Ipe.
It glues up fine if you use a solvent to remove the oil the wood produces from the surfaces. It is hard and so heavy it sinks like a stone if dropped in water. Ipe is pretty stable once it's fully dried, shrinkage of boards that haven't been properly acclimated is the only issue. It's so dense it doesn't absorb moisture from the air like many woods so seasonal movement isn't a problem. It finishes well but you need to use a good sealer to lock in the oils that will cause most finishes to bubble and peel. It's a difficult wood to work with but once a project is completed it's as durable as concrete. Have fun and have some extra blades on hand, you'll need them.
I use Ipe for my table saw sleds and fence, all finished with coat of wipe on poly… once dry.. very stable and reliable .. as long as the environment is stable and reliable. Outdoors is different story.
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