View Full Version : Let's Revisit Ipe

08-17-2006, 08:49 AM
In an upcoming yard period I am going to be removing mahogany or teak (can't tell which it is, but I'm thinking mahogany because of cupping and warping.) decking on my 1964 Connie. After inspecting the underlayment & framing, and making any necessary repairs I am going back with all new deck boards. Teak has been eliminated due to cost. I would like to use Ipe, but after searching this forum I see it has sealing/adhesion problems. My preferred choice of deck seam sealer is polysulfide. So, how does one seal these seams? Ipe may be a great wood, but it is not useful in this application if everything underneath it gets wet. Should I stick with the mahogany?


08-17-2006, 10:51 AM
IPE makes for beautiful decking and I think you should use it.
It cant be anyworse than trying to seal Teak wood and is probabably better than teak wear wise..

08-17-2006, 11:47 AM
I love the look and feel of my IPE floorboards. I resawed (sp ?) 4/4 decking material for 5/16" thick boards because of its weight. It is very dense and heavy; be careful particularly if using it high on the boat.

I didn't have to seal or glue mine so I can't speak to polysulfide adhesion.


08-17-2006, 06:00 PM
Thanks Jeff,
Hadn't thought much about the additional weight, The planks are 3/8" and I'll be covering the entire main deck. She is a flush deck so the weight is pretty high. Perhaps some of the math gurus here can provide me with the formulas for calculating the additional weight.


Rob Stokes, N. Vancouver
08-17-2006, 06:33 PM
A quick search on Goole provided the following:

Teak density = 40 lb/cubic foot (3.33 lb/bd ft)
Ipe density = 66 lb/cubic foot (5.5 lb/bd ft

But other sources claimed a weight for ipe of 6 to 6.5 lbs/bd ft.

If you assume the worst case, assume ipe is approx 1.65 times the weight of teak. Factor in the size of the aft deck and you should have an approximate answer.

gooc luck!

Peter Malcolm Jardine
08-17-2006, 08:29 PM
I like Ipe as a accessory for my boat, (which is a 1964 36 foot chris) and I have used it in a couple of places, but I wouldn't used it as decking, when Iroko is a reasonable substitute for teak, at only slightly more than Ipe... around here, Iroko is about 9.00 cdn per bf. Ipe is too dark for my taste, I would want something closer to teak in color which Iroko has.

08-18-2006, 10:58 AM
Ipe is not only hard and heavy, it's stiff. If your deck curves, rather than running straight fore and aft you may want to do a trial run to see if you can get it to bend.

08-18-2006, 06:40 PM
Mehthinks I'll buy a board, then make up a steam box and see what it will do cause my deck isn't straight.


One more thing. should decking be quarter sawn?

Buddy Sharpton
08-18-2006, 06:45 PM
Ipe is a beautiful wood for house decks, but lord it is heavy and dulls blades noticeably faster than teak, and the silics in teak does a number fast enough. On the house deck you're virtually all cutoffs. A lot of ripping would be a bear. Iroko looks a lot more like teak- ipe is much more like african mahogany in color. Of course all species have a range of colors.

Buddy Sharpton
08-18-2006, 06:46 PM
Decking should be vertical grain. Flat sawn will weather to produce "blades".

08-19-2006, 08:46 AM
Thanks Buddy


P.S. I notice no one has had any comments about the mahogany. This was standard on the Chris Crafts with teak as an option.

08-19-2006, 09:39 AM
Probably because the question was "let's revisit ipe"

Hal Forsen
08-19-2006, 05:21 PM
My 2 cents for what it's worth.
I've done quite a bit of work with ipe and it's a bear to work with; the sawdust is down right obnoxious and as Buddy said it dulls tool edges real quick. I seriously doubt it would steam well unless it were green off the tree which I don't think you'll find.....
For small boat work it's just too heavy for anything but small bits and pieces; big timbers in a ship perhaps but there are plenty of better choices.

08-20-2006, 09:04 PM
Read the fine woodworking review of Ipe. I have had a chance to make some furniture items out of it and was not happy with it's workability. Great for decks and outdoor railings and even thick siding. Maybe for truck decking but not boats imho.

08-21-2006, 12:23 AM
How would it work as a toe rail on a 25 foot sailboat? If tapered at the top edge and screwed down to sheer...what color would it weather? Would it last longer than Teak? Just wondered cause I may replace a toe-rail on a small sloop.


08-21-2006, 06:26 AM
it will weather to silver grey
It will last as long as Teak.
This is a very hard dense heavy wood, it will bend on a very gentle curve but it is very stiff.


The Wood: Ipe heartwood is light to dark olive brown, often with attractive lighter or darker striping and striking contrasts with the lighter color sapwood. It has a fine texture, medium luster, and a somewhat oily appearance. Ipe is very hard (two to three times as hard as oak), very strong and very heavy. It weighs approximately 70 pounds per cubic foot and sinks in water. Ipe is rated as extremely durable.

08-21-2006, 07:04 AM
IpÍ has a specific gravity of 1.3. Over twice as heavy as most woods. I wouldn't use it on a deck, but it is good for rails, covering boards, and other parts that take wear and tear.

As for glueing or bonding Sikaflex to it, all it takes is a wipedown with acetone to remove surface oils, and it bonds fine.

08-21-2006, 07:22 AM
A steam box won't have any effect on Ipe from your lumber yard. You could steam it for a day and a half and it won't bend any easier. Anhydrous Ammonia might work though.....