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Project by rod66 posted 07-21-2010 06:54 PM 5521 views 23 times favorited 20 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I just finished another swing. I use IPE wood this time. The local hardwood store only had 4/4 Ipe wood. So I had to glue up a lot of wood to get an 8/4. That was no fun. I just rubbed it down with Tung oil. Used titebond III and exterior screws. This is very very hard and heavy wood. I had to pre-drill everything. They call Ipe the mortgage wood…it will last 30 years outside. I included my sketchup images. I love sketchup. I pre-build everything in sketchup first. I work out a lot of issues before I go to the shop. Plus it gives very close image of what your finished project will turn out.

20 comments so far

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 3332 days

#1 posted 07-21-2010 07:27 PM

Nice looking swing. It has to weigh a ton.

View Will Stokes's profile

Will Stokes

267 posts in 3378 days

#2 posted 07-21-2010 07:56 PM

I love your design, looks very comfortable.

View Dchip's profile


271 posts in 3276 days

#3 posted 07-21-2010 08:03 PM

That’s a great swing and it’s nice that it will last for so long. I also really like the sketchup model.

I bought some ipe a while back that I plan on using for a shower seat, but I’ve been hesitant to start since all I’ve read of ipe is the wear and tear it gives to blades. Did you notice a decline in the sharpness of your table saw and router blades throughout this project and after?

-- Dan Chiappetta, NYC,

View CampD's profile


1674 posts in 3510 days

#4 posted 07-21-2010 08:20 PM

Looks great!
I need to do one for my porch.

-- Doug...

View RWJones's profile


127 posts in 2901 days

#5 posted 07-21-2010 08:27 PM

I’m not familiar with IPE wood, but that is one fine piece of work. Looks like a nice place to take a nap.

View ratchet's profile


1391 posts in 3810 days

#6 posted 07-21-2010 08:56 PM

Very nice swing. It looks beautiful. Do you have plans/dimensions so we can copy?
Thx for sharing.

View rod66's profile


45 posts in 3735 days

#7 posted 07-21-2010 09:02 PM

Ipe wood…comes from Brazil. Very similar to Cyprus but a lot cheaper. Cyprus is running around $28.00 a ft and Ipe is around $7.00. As I complete a piece of this swing I would weigh it. In the end the swing weighed right at 200 lbs. After finishing this swing I build a couple of draws for a friend of poplar. After working with the Ipe, the poplar felt like balsa wood:) . I did a lot of router work. The I used up one bit by the time I was done. Saw blade seem a little duller. I told someone the other day, this my be my last Ipe swing. Cutting the wood was a pain. The finishing was a breeze…just wiped on some Tung oil. So I guess it is a trade off.

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3098 days

#8 posted 07-21-2010 09:14 PM

Very nice job. I have done quite a bit with ipe. I originally used ipe as my decking material. Then I started making outdoor furniture. As you say, it’s a hard, heavy wood and it will last a long time.

It’s my observation that ipe is not that hard on saw blades but it is very hard on drill bits.

It is VERY difficult to cut a mortise with a mortising machine. Don’t even try.

Also, I was delighted to discover that my finishing nail gun will drive through the ipe if I have the air pressure on the compressor around 90 p.s.i.. It also glues very well.

In case you did not know, Penofin makes a special preservative for heavy woods, including ipe. We power wash and apply the penofin every 2 years. You have the option of not treating it. It will turn gray (which some people like) but it will still hold up fine.

FYI – Much of the Disney World Village has walkways of gray, untreated ipe.

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

View rance's profile


4258 posts in 3184 days

#9 posted 07-21-2010 09:15 PM

A very nice design, and you finished it well. Did you say it was a commissioned project? How much did Ipe for it? Sorry, I just couldn’t help myself. :)

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View rod66's profile


45 posts in 3735 days

#10 posted 07-21-2010 10:15 PM

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3358 days

#11 posted 07-21-2010 10:19 PM

Nice work and nice design. I’ve heard a lot of good Things about Ipe’, especially for outdoor use. I found out recently that there is a store carrying it in our area and I thought I would give it a try for some small project. Rich said it’s not hard on saws, but I wonder how it is to joint, plane and rout?

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View live4ever's profile


983 posts in 3034 days

#12 posted 07-21-2010 10:32 PM

Looks great! We will be using Ipe for our new deck, so I look forward to using the scraps for some outdoor furniture (my tools probably aren’t looking forward to it). Does the tung oil prevent the graying, or do you need to use penofin to keep the color?

-- Optimists are usually disappointed. Pessimists are either right or pleasantly surprised. I tend to be a disappointed pessimist.

View rod66's profile


45 posts in 3735 days

#13 posted 07-21-2010 11:21 PM

This is the first time I worked with Ipe. I found it easy to glue up. Cut ok on a table saw. Routing to me was bit of a challenge. Drilling was a pain. I have a 15” jet planner and it seem to handle it pretty easy. Ipe is so hard that every time I jointed a board or planned a board I imagined I was dulling away my knifes. The only thing I am sure of…it did dull a router bit. I ended up using 64 board feet on this swing. The swing is 6 full feet inside the arm rest and 8 ft over all. I bought the Tung oil from the local Woodcraft store. The salesman said if I wanted the wood to keep it’s color, I would have to re-apply the Tung oil. Rich probable can answer the Ipe questions better than I.

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3098 days

#14 posted 07-22-2010 12:35 AM

I agree with rod66 that ipe is hard on router bits. I used left over decking material for every piece of furniture I made. (Due to a mistake with the order, I had a lot of material left over.) I have never run any ipe through the planer and I only ran a little through the jointer.

I have only used the penofin on ipe. Right on the can it says it is specially designed for ipe and other similar woods. I can’t speak to how well tung oil works. I usually don’t think of tung oil for outdoor applications. However, the only real purpose of the preservative is to retain the color.

I know that I can go 2 years between application of the penofin. I wouldn’t be surprised if you may have to apply tung oil more often.

Here is the particular penofin product you want for ipe – -

A good power wash will get you back down to raw wood before applying a new finish. A sander will also, but a power washer is easier.

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

View Kindlingmaker's profile


2656 posts in 3550 days

#15 posted 07-22-2010 03:23 AM

A perfect porch swing and it rates in my top five because I could see a gin and tonic sitting in that cup holder! ; ) Looks great!

-- Never board, always knotty, lots of growth rings

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