IPE Butcher Block Table

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I happen to stumbled across an inexpensive source for a wood called IPE http://www.woodfinder.net/woods/ipe.htm and am considering making a butcher block table top out of it. It's slightly dark for my taste, but SWMBO really likes it for some reason. The sample I have is very hard and very dense - it barely floats. I'm considering an end-grain top with dimensions somewhere around 22x34x10 inches glued from 3/4 stock. I've never worked with this stuff (IPE) before, but it seems *plenty* hard and very fine grained - a good combination for a butcher block top. BTW, the sample I have comes from a deck supply wholesaler.
The top alone would be heavy (around 300 lbs), which implies very stable if the base is constructed correctly <g>. No problem, other then moving it around when it's finished...
(1) Does anyone know what the toxicity of IPE wood is, or care to comment on it's suitability for this application?
(2) In it's natural state, this wood feels somewhat "oily" (for lack of a better term). Is TightBond II going to hold it together assuming it's planed/jointed/clamped appropriately, etc., or will I need another type of glue?
Any other experiences working with this wood appreciated, including answers to any questions I should have asked but didn't (or didn't know to ask)
Thanks,
++ Dave
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O
The sample I have is very hard and very

ipe is very hard for sure. it may dull your knives (G)

it is a oily wood is I don't know if it would be a great idea. but it would hold up to water very well. it would outlast you.

you need to freshly mill it then use a poly glue gorilla glue is the best. dampen both sides too.

lots of very fine dust. cuts cleaning and planes well too. a lot of work to sand though.
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Is your source a public source that others of us can use?

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I buy it locally no problem.
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It's a hard abrasive wood. I hope you like sharpening knives.
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solvel(laquer thinner, etc) immediately before gluing up. I know this is the method West epoxy resin recommends for teak in boat work.
The only toxicity reports seem to be that some individuals have skin irritation from sawdust created by maching operations.
The dimensions you mention are similar to the tradition butcher block that were in common use in the U.K. in the past. I once was asked to re-condition one of these and found they were through bolted in both the X & Y axes to counter act the tremendous seasonal expansion/contraction pressure, these blocks were usually made from beech and were subject to daily scrub down. Just a thought.
Bernard R
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the problem with sol;vents is the can bring up the oils. gorilla glue is far easier to use.
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No one has mentioned this yet and you may want to give this some heavy consideration. I work with Ipe quite often and your findings are correct. BUT, TRY this for yourself. When Ipe is cut you end up with a brown saw dust and a yellowy green powdery dust. This dust reacts with salt and some mild citric acids. Basically if you get the dust on your sweaty hands the dust will turn BLOOD RED. Using citrus based blade cleaners will also turn this powder BLOOD RED. Now with that in mind, many of the foods that you prepare on this surface will probably react with the top and make the top and or some of your foods turn BLOOD RED.
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I never noticed that with ipe. but I have had problems with ebony dust the stuff would not wash off. but if it reacts to your sweat that could be a problem for sure.
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wrote:

Shoot, do y'all sweat ut thar in Aregon? ;~)
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not in my shop the hottest it gets is 78 usually it is around 60.
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You know Steve, August in Houston, 78 is the low just before sun up.. LOL
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well you need a bat cave for a shop like me (G)
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No kidding.. There are quite a few caves in Texas and especially in the hill country. It stays nice and cool in them year round.

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Steve Knight wrote...

My hands are often discolored by certain woods, especially when I'm turning for several hours at a stretch. Walnut, for example, leaves a dark purplish stain. It doesn't wash off, but seems to go away somehow within a day or so. I've had similar staining, though different colors, from cocobolo, bloodwood, gaboon ebony, rosewood (d. stevensonii), and I'm sure some others. Is this common, or is it something in my sweat?
Can it be washed off? I've tried soaps (including lava), citrus based hand cleaner, and who knows what else. And if not, why does it disappear so quickly, relatively speaking? A day or so doesn't seem enough time for it to wear away.
Jim
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.spam.com says...

I wouldn't use it for anything in the kitchen where you would be preparing food. When building my deck, I had to use a really good respirator when doing any milling/cutting operations. The yellow pollen is nasty stuff in the lungs - I can only imagine what would happen if you got some in your digestive tract.
Stick with maple.
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well you're going to quite a bit of trouble to make a huge end grain butcher block top. i would make a small cutting board (say 8x10x2 or so) first and see what happens. maybe feed the stuff to your dog first to make sure its not poisoned <g> that said, only maple is FDA approved, but just about any wood will work as long as you keep it well oiled.
the fact that i cannot find a single instance of anyone using ipe for a butcher block by searching the web says something also...
so in short, make a small cutting board first.
randy
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I made a very small edge-grain (about 5x7x1) board to test the glue strength. Tightbond II seems to hold it together just fine. I haven't used it for cutting though. Ipe kind of smells like cinnamon when sanded, which reminded me of how distinct rosewood smells when working with it and how toxic that stuff is, so I thought I'd "ask the experts" :-) since I couldn't find anything myself.
++ Dave
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when I tested the glue joints I broke them with a hammer. gorilla glue did the best of anything. yellow glue would let the joint fail before the wood.
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well im no expert and i cant find a single thing about using ipe as a butcher block :(
is it just me or have the days of searching and actually finding useful information in the internet over? it seemed there was a golden year or two where you could find stuff until the 'business models' kicked in and the search engines are now just glorified advertising agencies.
randy
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