Ipe indoor furniture

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Forum topic by Wineworker posted 07-25-2013 07:47 AM 3651 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2 posts in 1941 days

07-25-2013 07:47 AM

Anybody have any experience finishing Ipe? I am completely new to the wood, but had a bunch given to me for free and decided to make a double pedestal sliding dinning room table from it. It is very hard, but I have very good quality tooling, and making the table was actually not that hard… Now comes the finishing. I tried Behlen Rockhard table top urethane varnish, and it simply didn’t stick. It would never dry and remained tacky. Any help?

5 replies so far

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1533 posts in 2535 days

#1 posted 07-25-2013 11:52 AM

I finished this ipe table with “Cabot Australian Timber Oil”, left in the hot sun for a week before bringing it inside. The oil cured well. I also did a small test piece in Bona Mega waterborne floor finish, which turned out great. That or Varathane waterborne poly floor finish is what I’d use for a film finish.

-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

View Barbancourt's profile


9 posts in 2256 days

#2 posted 07-25-2013 04:39 PM

I don’t have any experience with ipe, but you can try wiping it down with mineral spirits before applying the finish. If a wood is naturally oily, sometimes the oil based finishes have a hard time curing. Sometimes, you have to wipe it down and then seal it with shellac before you get a good cure. I would try these on a scrap and see how it turns out.

View Hammerthumb's profile


2902 posts in 2149 days

#3 posted 07-25-2013 05:33 PM

I agree. Seal it with de-waxed shellac and then finish with waterborne poly. Done a lot of Ipe floors that way. If I had a dining room table to finish, I woud use that method. Furniture that I have made with Ipe that do not need as much protection (ie. picture frames), I just use BLO and wax as the wood will buff out to a very nice luster without a surface finish.

-- Paul, Duvall, WA

View Wineworker's profile


2 posts in 1941 days

#4 posted 07-26-2013 02:58 AM

Thanks for the help everyone! I tried washing it down with acetone prior to the BRH, it still didn’t stick. I did not try mineral spirits though. I have heard that the Cabot ATO works. I tried a few scrap pieces with good old fashion brushing lacquer, and it seemed to work great, it stuck anyway ;-) Not sure if it will have any longevity though… Thoughts? Hammerthumb, that seems like a great method, I will have to trial a piece. After a bit of reading up on Ipe, now I am concerned that the glue joints may not even hold! The whole top is T&G, and others have posted that the oil prevents the glue from holding. There is no fasteners in the whole thing, it all T&G, M&T, and dowels. It may just fall apart anyway!

View Purrmaster's profile


915 posts in 2267 days

#5 posted 07-26-2013 06:59 AM

I’ve been able to glue and finish ipe as long as I wiped it down with naphtha first. The good news is that the extreme hardness of ipe and the natural oils make it quite tough stuff

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