Ipe for Woodworking Projects – Tips to Make Woodworking Easy

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ipe hardwoodAre you looking for a sturdy kind of hardwood on your next masterpiece? Then you should totally try ipe for woodworking projects.

Primarily grown in Brazil, ipe is sometimes called “ironwood” because of its unique density and strength.

Try picking up a piece of ipe because you will instantly notice how heavy it is compared to other hardwoods.

Ipe has tight grains and a color that looks similar to mahogany.

Most varieties of ipe are stable because it only has a few knots which can also make it resist water. This special trait is why people often use this wood on boat decks, and other types of woodworking projects for the outdoors.

What Type of Wood is Ipe?

Basically, when you go to a fine wood supplier, you’ll find all kinds of ipe. Although all of them come from Brazil with almost identical characteristics, they are quite different but are sold together as ipe. Should this even matter? Yes. If you’re planning to work on a large project, always remember that these species will probably have slight variations in color which might look a bit different after finishing so to be sure, order all of your stock from a single, trusted supplier and just get enough to complete the project.

Usage of Ipe

Because of the strength and density ipe has, you might have some difficulty in creating a clean cut. You might also find that blades and bits dull quickly as you cut your wood. When it comes to sanding, you might have guessed that it can become time consuming. Ipe will also produce really fine sawdust and can irritate your eyes and respiratory system so it’s best if you worked outdoors with your protective gear.

Apart from its density and strength, ipe is quite brittle. You might find that driving a nail into the ipe with a mere pneumatic nailer will only split the wood, and by driving screws through it you’ll have the heads breaking off easily. To avoid this problem, when you’re using ipe for woodworking projects try pre-drilling holes and use stainless steel screws when fastening ipe boards together.

Gluing can also be a challenge for you because other woodworkers may say that they used epoxy formulas, while others will say that weather-resistant yellow glues worked for them. You can try using acetone or denatured alcohol to wipe the surface down before you apply your choice of gluing material to ensure that everything’s clean and will likely stick surfaces together.

Finishing Touches

Although some will want to preserve the ipe’s rich color, others will want to have it exposed to the weather to resemble the grayish tint of teak. Protectants usually have problems when used on ipe since it doesn’t adhere well because of the wood’s density. An oil-based protectant will oftentimes take weeks to dry out, and varnishes will look great first, but have problems in the long run. Polyurethane on the other hand simply won’t adhere to it so you’d better avoid this one.

People accustomed to using ipe in building decks have claimed they successfully used tung oil in maintaining the wood’s color. You can try using the protective finishes wooden boats use because they may have formulas which combine tung oil and mineral spirits which can work for your project.

If you’re still searching for your type of finishing, experiment a bit more to find one that meets your taste. Whichever type you choose, just be sure that if you’re using ipe for woodworking projects the wood is dried very well and acclimatized before you apply the finish.

Tips to Make Woodworking Easy

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