Ipe Vanity table

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Project by EPJartisan posted 07-22-2010 04:26 PM 4513 views 3 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I was approached by an interior designer for an Ipe vanity table for a high-rise condo. This was 8 years ago, and I had never worked with Ipe before. I researched the heck out of the wood and tree and designed this vanity to extend into the shower. Loved working Ipe.. dulled all my blades, but that just made me get better and faster at sharpening… and a new stock of table saw blades. This was before my jointer and planer.. so I did it all with hand planes. Got intimate with the nuances of this wood. The chrome rods are ceiling fan extension rods. I was most happy with the inclusion of the toilet paper holder.

The hardest part was learning how to finish the wood with stain and varnish. I had to add a slight green tint to the legs to match the naturally green-brown top, but the wood’s oil resisted, until I just soaked the oil out with denatured alcohol and then the stain took. Five coats of Marine spar varnish.. though now I know a far better finish for Ipe.

This piece had a sad ending though. Unsure about moisture in a high-rises, I asked over and over to be sure… if the bathrooms was mostly moist of dry. The designer insisted it was moist.. so I designed the construction to move away from the wall and deal with the piping accordingly. HE WAS WRONG… it was so dry the top pulled against the wall and split the vanity in half. Lesson learned.. don’t trust a non-woodowrker for vital information. At least I got paid for it.

-- " 'Truth' is like a beautiful flower, unique to each plant and to the season it blossoms ... 'Fact' is the root and leaf, allowing the plant grow and bloom again."

4 comments so far

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3224 days

#1 posted 07-22-2010 04:39 PM

This looks great.

I am a big ipe fan. I initially put down 400+ square feet of ipe on my deck. Then I made all of our outdoor furniture out of ipe. I have never considered it for indoor applications – - but why not?

This project helps me realize that ipe is not just for outdoors anymore.

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

View tyskkvinna's profile


1310 posts in 3135 days

#2 posted 07-23-2010 01:18 AM

I LOVE!!!! this design! So much!

-- Lis - Michigan - -

View a1Jim's profile


117243 posts in 3726 days

#3 posted 07-23-2010 02:40 AM

Good looking vanity and good material.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View RexMcKinnon's profile


2593 posts in 3345 days

#4 posted 08-03-2010 10:04 PM

Nice, I bought some Ipe but have not have the chance to do anything with it yet. Great tip about the denatured alcohol.

-- If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail!

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