Dining Table, Ipe

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Project by rob_clements posted 03-18-2010 05:21 AM 4596 views 2 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Dining Table, Ipe
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my first experience with IPE…..

In late 2007 I bought some rough Ipe material from a retiring woodworker and so began my back pains and sore throat from working with this extremely heavy, solid wood with toxic dust. Thankfully the sore throat only occurred once before realizing the toxicity of it. My respirator takes care of me now.

-I had dreams of a dining room table and with some input from a friend with a professional wood shop, was convinced to create breadboard ends with a continuous stub tenon and three long tenons, dry pegged in slotted holes to allow movement.
-The top was glued up with biscuits as one 96” x 34.5” x 7/8” slab, before cutting the two 18” extensions off
-2.5” wide breadboard ends applied to the main slab and each of the extensions
-3.25” maple skirt and 2.75” x 2.75” maple tapered legs, painted black
-The extensions have long cantilever arms that slide into slots on each end skirt, therefore no mechanicals
-We bought maple captains chairs from a mennonite shop, painted black to match
-I then built a 2-3 seat dining bench for one side, similar Ipe top/maple legs composition (listed as a separate project)
-All Ipe finished with Penofin penetrating oil for exotic hardwoods

-- Rob, Elmira ON

12 comments so far

View Riehlez's profile


24 posts in 3072 days

#1 posted 03-18-2010 05:32 AM

Great job, good to see you followed through with some good advice on using the breadboards

Ipe….. your a brave man. I hope you have a sharpening stone!

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 3336 days

#2 posted 03-18-2010 05:39 AM

Very nice table. I can certainly appreciate the hard work you had to do in builing it from Ipe…
I have worked with Ipe before and it is a beautiful wood with finished properly…but it is so darn heavy.

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3202 days

#3 posted 03-18-2010 06:12 AM

Ab-so-lute-ly beautiful table.

Thanks for sharing. Really exceptional outcome!

-- -- Neil

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3701 days

#4 posted 03-18-2010 06:15 AM

Nice dining room table.

View cathyb's profile


798 posts in 3272 days

#5 posted 03-18-2010 07:12 AM

You are a brave soul! Back in the day when I was making lamps, day in and day out, I, too, thought ipe would be a great wood to try. Most of my lamps were laminates of various woods and then turned on the lathe. The day I turned that lamp with ipe I didn’t realize what I was in for. In the first place that yellow sawdust (which is a misnomer) you can’t call that stuff dust. It’s full of oil that sticks to you, your clothing and all of your tools. I got one incredible headache before donning my hazmat suit to finish the job. In defense of ipe, it is so heavy that I did use it again as the inner layer for my lamps. As I turned my lamps the layer were revealed to show different woods and I never went as deep as the ipe. The weight of the ipe really balance my lamps on the lathe.
But you made a TABLE, wow. I bet it weighs at least a 100 pounds. That wood is beautiful with a polish. Congratulations, Rob.

-- cathyb, Hawaii,

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3102 days

#6 posted 03-18-2010 03:23 PM

Very well done. I also have experience with ipe. I’ve used it as a decking material and I have made several outdoor furniture pieces. I think it is great for outdoor furniture (if you can put up with working with it). I’ve never seen it used for finer furniture like this table. OTOH – This is beautiful wood and, as your table shows, it can make beautiful furniture.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View JimNEB's profile


239 posts in 3096 days

#7 posted 03-18-2010 04:37 PM

That is a beautiful table. I really like the way the edge pieces contrast. You should put some more pics up with the whole set, chairs and bench. Also I’d like to see how the extensions work.

-- Jim, Nebraska

View rob_clements's profile


10 posts in 3023 days

#8 posted 03-18-2010 06:52 PM


I’ve just finished the bookshelves that accompany this table and bench, and we’re likely to redecorate in our dining room a bit, so I’ll take some shots once we’re complete with that. I’ll see about getting the extensions shot soon though.

thanks to all for your kind comments. I still have some Ipe left, just not sure what to tackle next…..

-- Rob, Elmira ON

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3331 days

#9 posted 03-18-2010 09:47 PM

your table is did a very fine job..great joinery and the finish makes it pop..great job rob..

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View Alexg's profile


43 posts in 3034 days

#10 posted 03-19-2010 05:08 AM

I am looking to make a dining table for my home, this looks grate. nice job. Ipe is not easy to work with. we have used it alot for hardwood floors.

-- Alex

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3102 days

#11 posted 03-19-2010 05:21 AM

For anyone thinking about working with Ipe – - The dust is toxic and you should take precautions. I find that it is not too hard to cut with a sharp saw. However, it is very difficult to drill. Drill bits tend to overheat and deteriorate quickly in this wood. Somewhat to my surprise, I found that when putting down some decking I could successfully pierce the wood with my finishing nail gun if the psi was close to the max (about 90). I secured all of my decking with marine glue and finishing nails.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View a1Jim's profile


117126 posts in 3605 days

#12 posted 03-19-2010 09:59 AM

Fine table Rob . I bet it’s really heavy.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

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