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Matt Day
11-02-2017, 2:59 PM
A friendís parents are moving and offered me a pile (about 500 sqft) of ipe for free. it was used as a deck for a few years, not sure why it was taken down. I checked it out today and took a few pictures.

We have an enclosed back porch with ugly stained concrete floor, with screen walls. I was thinking about putting down sleepers and installing the ipe over it.

The ipe has been used of course, and needs a pressure washing. It was installed with plastic biscuits which I think is good because there arenít existing holes Iíd need to plug. It also has 45ís cut at each end which Iím guessing was for a certain look when installed.

Sontheres work to do - pressure wash (I have one), trim each end square, lay sleepers, install.

What do do you guys think? Worth it? Hard to beat the price.

John Lanciani
11-02-2017, 3:19 PM
Free sounds good. If it were me I'd be running it all through a sander to freshen it up, especially since you want to use it in an enclosed porch.

James Waldron
11-02-2017, 3:30 PM
Ipe is hard to work, but unbeatable for deck or other uses. I've also been using it for boxing on wooden planes; it polishes to a wonderful surface and is incredibly hard and wear resistant.

Use very sharp blades or you will A.) wear out your tools, B.) wear out yourself. I've given up on trying to cut it with a band saw; I've lost three blades to Ipe so far. A slow feed rate is your only hope.

I'm not much for pressure washing any wood. If there is any to stand up to a pressure wash, it's Ipe, but I'm still against it. At least make a small test before you go wild with the pressure action.

Jim

Matt Day
11-02-2017, 3:43 PM
I thought about running it through my drum sander first, I may consider that.

Whatís the concern with pressure washing it? And what would be the alternative to removing dirt/surface mold? Bleach?

David Helm
11-02-2017, 7:39 PM
If you have good sharp knives I would run it through the planer. The oiliness of the wood will clog your drum sander. Ipe actually machines well but you want to wear a respirator when machining. If ripping on the table saw, do not run your finger along the newly cut edge. It will cut your finger. I think it will make a nice floor for you.

Frank Pratt
11-03-2017, 9:59 AM
I have an Ipe deck that I used to refinish every couple of years. Deck cleaner & a pressure wash brought it back to nearly new, followed by a coat of oil finish. Now I have decided to just let it go grey.

For an enclosed porch, I would use the cleaner & pressure wash followed by sanding & then a finish of your choice. The pressure wash will mean less sanding, & as David said, Ipe tends to clog (and wear out) the paper quickly

Mike Hollingsworth
11-03-2017, 12:18 PM
There's a reason bugs hate the stuff. You'll find out why after working with it for a while.

Frank Pratt
11-03-2017, 12:39 PM
There's a reason bug's hate the stuff. You'll find out why after working with it for a while.

That's the truth.

Matt Day
11-03-2017, 12:58 PM
I think Iím going to end up passing on the stuff. I went to check it out yesterday and it seems to have grayed almost all the way through. I found out it was a deck for at least 10 years and has been stacked for a couple years, I think it is at the last stages of life and I donít want to waste time with it if itís just going to be gray. My friend is going to cut a board in half to see if it has any life inside of it.

Thanks for the comments everyone.

Mel Fulks
11-03-2017, 1:29 PM
I've heard of it lasting 20 to 30 years in ocean board walks. Would be quite surprised if grey color goes all the way thru.

Ted Phillips
11-03-2017, 1:42 PM
Great stuff. I got some end cuts from someone's Ipe deck a couple of years ago (they were post/trim pieces, not decking). I decided to turn it into a wooden front door mat for my wife. You've probably seen the type I'm talking about with the wooden slats dadoed in a cross-hatch pattern. Anyway, the Ipe just about killed me. I'm mostly a hand tool user, and the Ipe just laughed at my puny handsaws and chisels. And don't get me started on what it did to my router plane...

Long and short: Project got completed. Saw got sharpened again. Chisels got sharpened repeatedly. Router plane had a couple of pieces replaced and the blades sharpened again.
Lesson learned: only tackle Ipe and its ilk with sharp power tools...

TedP

Mike Henderson
11-03-2017, 1:43 PM
The best kind of wood is free wood. Go get it and machine some of it to see how it looks/works. The worse case is you have to dispose of it.

Mike

Frank Pratt
11-03-2017, 3:24 PM
I can't imagine it being grayed more than a couple of millimeters. That stuff lasts for decades in wet tropical environments.

Terry Wawro
11-03-2017, 5:46 PM
I built a front porch out of recycled IPE. Don't run it through the planer, it's so hard it will eat your knifes. Mine was gray in color due to exposure to the sun but a quick preasure wash and it was like new.

Another hint. Wear gloves as it is brittle. The splinters are fine and sharp. You will have a dozen before you know it.

Matt Day
11-06-2017, 10:03 PM
Well i decided to go for it. My friend crosscut a piece and it looked beautiful. I hauled half the load today and will get the rest Wednesday. Heavy stuff!


I plan to first just rinse the crud/dirt/rolley poolleyís off with a hose, light pressure wash, then install. After install iíll rent a vibratory plate sander (think plate compactor with sandpaper), theyíre supposedly much better at not eating a divot like a dnum sander would.


Project is slated for the spring.

Frank Pratt
11-07-2017, 10:25 AM
Good news. Please follow up with photos of the finished project. Ipe's beautiful stuff when it's got a finish on it.

Terry Wawro
11-08-2017, 8:33 AM
Another thing about IPE I wanted to let you know about. When it's freshly pressure washed, it's a beautiful rich color. But if it is exposed to the sun, it is darn near impossible to keep it from turning gray. I spent hours online researching the best finish to put on our IPE porch. Everyone said give up but I had high hopes for "Penofin's hardwood oil" with UV inhibitors. It looked gorgeous for three weeks then started to fade so I applied another coat. By three months it was really faded and by four months is was pure gray.

Matt Day
11-08-2017, 9:15 AM
Thanks Terry, good to know. I am putting the wood over concrete under a covered porch and we have tons of trees around, so very little sunlight will hit it. Hopefully it keeps itís beautiful brown for longer than yours did.

Frank Pratt
11-08-2017, 10:41 AM
I can't remember what I used on mine, but it stayed looking good for a full summer. By the next spring it was getting gray though. If your's is covered & in the shade, the finish should last a few years anyway.

Mel Fulks
11-08-2017, 11:38 AM
Interesting to see these posts on the greying . Ours is in full sun in Virginia ,has been down about 20 years with no grey.
its had a Penefin treatment several times. When I bought the stuff I ran best sides through wide belt sander, but I doubt that has anything to do with it.

Frank Pratt
11-09-2017, 3:10 PM
Interesting to see these posts on the greying . Ours is in full sun in Virginia ,has been down about 20 years with no grey.
its had a Penefin treatment several times. When I bought the stuff I ran best sides through wide belt sander, but I doubt that has anything to do with it.

I will qualify the greying. It's not the silver grey seen with oak or cedar, but a darker brown/grey. At least that's the case with my deck. Actually, it is quite attractive.

David Helm
11-09-2017, 7:12 PM
Interesting to see these posts on the greying . Ours is in full sun in Virginia ,has been down about 20 years with no grey.
its had a Penefin treatment several times. When I bought the stuff I ran best sides through wide belt sander, but I doubt that has anything to do with it.

ot sure but I think Penofin (chlorpentaphenol) is illegal these days.
N