Uses for Ipe

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Forum topic by ellen35 posted 03-22-2009 12:53 AM 3038 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2651 posts in 2469 days

03-22-2009 12:53 AM

Topic tags/keywords: wood ipe question

My neighbor gave me some ipe wood. He used it for a deck railing. I am not really interested in building a deck…or a railing. Can Ipe be used for anything else…like cutting boards (or parts of cutting boards) or band saw boxes or other indoor woodworking projects? It is hard as hell, dense and heavy. Will it ruin my new bandsaw blade or my mitre saw blade? I am used to working with mahogany…a much softer wood and more pleasing to the touch. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. He says he’ll give me more (so far a couple of 3’ 4×4’s and a few other pieces.) I would really rather have the cherry he has hanging around but I think I have to take this stuff too..or first!

-- "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." Voltaire

13 replies so far

View Julian's profile


880 posts in 2562 days

#1 posted 03-22-2009 12:57 AM

I built a pair of adirondak chairs out of ipe. It’s tough, dense, and hard to glue. I don’t know what hobbiest things you would want to make out of it, but anything that will be used outdoors would be a good start.

-- Julian, Park Forest, IL

View Boardman's profile


157 posts in 2798 days

#2 posted 03-22-2009 01:36 AM

A boat anchor comes to mind….the stuff actually sinks in water. Beyond that it’s pretty much just a pain. It makes this sickly green/yellow sawdust that’s like talcumn powder, requires oversized pre-drilling as it will snap screws like matchsticks if the screw meets much resistance, and is just plain heavy as lead.

Besides that…..well, it looks kinda pretty.

View Steve2's profile


75 posts in 2607 days

#3 posted 03-22-2009 02:18 AM

Use the IPE to form a rack to get the cherry and store it until next winter in Cape Cod, then you could put it under your firewood to hold it out of the snow. :)

-- Regards, Steve2

View Chris 's profile


1869 posts in 3028 days

#4 posted 03-22-2009 05:19 AM

I have seen it used for Decks, Arbors, Gates, Outdoor furniture, etc…. If I could get my hands on enough of it I would like to make a English Garden bench. Notice these are all outdoor projects? I personally know someone in Alaska who had their deck made out of Ipe 10 years ago; Guess what? The nasty weather up there has not hurt it at all.

-- "Everything that is great and inspiring is created by the individual who labors in freedom" -- Albert Einstein

View Chris's profile


338 posts in 2394 days

#5 posted 03-22-2009 05:24 AM

It makes a great deck, but I’ve heard from the friend that used it on his deck that it really is tough on tools, bits, and sawblades. I have no quantitative facts to back that up, however, so I don’t know how much wear a few pieces are going to cause.

-- Chris

View PurpLev's profile


8520 posts in 2685 days

#6 posted 03-22-2009 06:03 AM

I wouldn’t go about bandsawing this one… maybe use it for a workbench, or outdoor furniture/fixtures (planters etc?)

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1503 posts in 3161 days

#7 posted 03-22-2009 07:48 AM

I used it for a threshold, and I’ve got some more of it as scraps from the deck place that I want to play with. It actually mills fairly nicely, but the sawdust is some of the most noxious stuff on the planet; I don’t always wear a respirator in the shop, but when I’m working with Ipe I open all the doors to get airflow and wear a full-on filter.

Because of that I definitely wouldn’t use it for cutting boards, but I’ve thought about it for chairs, maybe boxes, places where really hard wood is a plus.

I don’t have a band saw, but I had no problems cutting it with the jigsaw.

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California,

View motthunter's profile


2141 posts in 2835 days

#8 posted 03-22-2009 08:10 AM

It is great stuff, and I love to work with it when I am making anything for the outdoors as it can last forever.

Consider projects like birdhouses, doorway thresholds, exterior trim, outdoor furniture, etc.

Beware of blade wear. Also, pre-drill everything. It will not take a finish and if you glue, you may want to use polyurethane glue like gorilla.

-- making sawdust....

View dadefreese's profile


42 posts in 3058 days

#9 posted 03-22-2009 01:56 PM

I have read that Ipe is like walnut in that the dust is more of an irritant than most other wood species. That could be because of the minerals in the wood or perhaps the specific oils which make it hold up so well outdoors.

The recurring theme here and elsewhere is that it’s almost always recommended for outdoors use. As for me, I have been thinking of using it for a blanket chest but these cautions keep popping up any time I research ipe.

View ellen35's profile


2651 posts in 2469 days

#10 posted 03-22-2009 08:35 PM

Thanks everyone. Your help, as usual, has been invaluable.
The ipe is going back…hopefully to be traded for something else in my neighbor’s woodstove “burn” pile.
I’ll never understand burning cherry…or oak…or any other hardwood!!
Also, for such a dense and hard wood, it certainly makes for a TON of splinters!

-- "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." Voltaire

View Chris 's profile


1869 posts in 3028 days

#11 posted 03-22-2009 08:51 PM

One other item I ran across…. In South America (I think…) local utilities use this tree for utility poles.

-- "Everything that is great and inspiring is created by the individual who labors in freedom" -- Albert Einstein

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

5313 posts in 1365 days

#12 posted 01-10-2012 06:16 PM

resurecting this thread from three years of sleep…

Looks like my stash of 5/4×4x40” Ipe cut offs (given to me by a paiter, who hauled it off of a job site) is not going to be suitable for a blanket chest….

I’ll have to save it up for Adarondack chairs….

I know a guy who did short term mission work in Honduras and he said they use mahogony planks for concrete forms :^O

-- Pine is fine, but Oak's no joke!

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

3950 posts in 2997 days

#13 posted 01-10-2012 06:22 PM

Plumb bobs, tool handles, wedges, bench vice faces, bench dogs, mallets, CLUBS FOR THE BOUNCER AT THE LOCAL BAR. Oil and wax finish on it.
My ideas.


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