Ipe decking questions

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There seems to be some, but not a lot of ipe data already on this newsgroup. I'm preparing to have a ~500 ft^2 deck replaced using 1x6 ipe (the old deck was 2x6 cedar). Because there is almost no local experience using ipe I've had to spec out everything myself to decking contractors. I think I have most of the topics covered (anchorseal, ss fasteners, carbide teeth on saws). I'd really appreciate if anyone could provide their suggestions on:
1.DRILLING: What is the optimal drill type for drilling & counterboring for 3/8" plugs? My current ideas are: a. drilling two separate holes: 3/8" carbide forstner bit for the plugs and 3/16" carbide brad tipped for the screws or b. HSS drill bit/countersink/counter bore kit from Lee Valley Any recommendations on material/drill type/ease of sharpening?
2. My existing deck is 25 years old. The framing is 2x10 treated @ 16" centers and upon inspection it looks very sound- no rot/soft spots. I'm not sure how to evaluate how many years may be left in it. Of course, I don't want to put a 40 year deck on a frame with 10-15 years left on it. Does anyone have real experience with life expectancy of 1980 treated lumber vs. today's treated lumber? These joists look a lot straighter than what I've seen lately at Home Depot. Cost to reframe is ~$2500 using 2x8's.
Any and all advice from experienced ipe users is welcomed! Thank you.
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On 12 Jul 2003 18:24:58 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net (jeffthorpe) wrote (with possible editing):

I've had limited experience, but imo it is much stronger (it won't sag like Trex), better looking, and wears like iron, hence it's other name "ironwood".
-- Larry snipped-for-privacy@lmr.com
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5/4 x 6 from Yukon Lumber in Norfolk VA should be under your numbers for 4/4; also - try Advantage in Buffalo, NY...I can't tell you what I paid for 1500 LF of 5/4 x 6 stuff; however, delivered, it was still well under what you've been quoted.
There have been several threads on Ipe decking - do the Google search. Also - try Fine Homebuilding's Breaktime Forun for lots more info.
Finally - the material is about the same cost as the better composites, but there is more labor. If you are doing the work, you can save some money.
"L. M. Rappaport" wrote:

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Thanks. Another question. Is there very much of an advantage to getting the Ipe locally instead of having it shipped from NY or Norfolk at a cheaper price. I'm waiting on prices from Yukon in Norfolk but Advantage is about $300 less shipped than I can get it for locally. I'm wondering if it's worth it to pay the extra $300 and go to a local yard where I can pick pieces that are straight with no damage.
...and on using 5/4 instead of 4/4 with joist at 24" OC, I was looking at the load data online today (at Everwood in TX I think) and 4/4 was fine at 24" OC and the material cost would be about $800 to $1000 cheaper depending on where I get the material.
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On 14 Jul 2003 18:59:48 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net (jeffthorpe) wrote:

IPE is a pretty clean wood. seldom do I find defects or cracks. get some ancorseal on the ends as soon as the wood is cut so you don't get checking.
--
Knight-Toolworks & Custom Planes
Custom made wooden planes at reasonable prices
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snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net (jeffthorpe) wrote in message

I heard they just completely reconstructed the Boardwalk in AC with Ipe. A google search should confirm and give some details.
-Chris
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sounds very expensive...is that were the money loses go....

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George Berlinger spaketh...

About the same as cypress or cedar, but supposeably more durable
http://www.hardwoodstore.com/ipe.html
--
McQualude

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If I recall, the ACY boardwalk has had a steadily growing Ipe section - oldest part is 14 years.
My cost for Ipe was under $3.00 per board foot.
McQualude wrote:

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Woodshop news had an article about a few years ago. IIRC they actually saved money in the long run due to lowered maintenance costs. Something like 1 or 2 boards that had to be replaced in a year, instead of hundreds. Joe
George Berlinger wrote:

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snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net (jeffthorpe) wrote in message

I built a deck with Ipe flooring two years ago and we've been very pleased with the result. Given the fact that it stays much more attractive for longer than other materials I've seen, I think it was a good deal, even with the price of Ipe.
I would advise you to go to the extra effort to use one of the hidden fastener systems. The end result will look much better, and the overall cost difference is, again, pretty small. You wouldn't be considering Ipe if you didn't want a superior end product. I used Eb-Ty with McFeely's stainless screws, and have two complaints: cutting the biscuit slots in the right places was a pain in the ass, and I didn't have a square-drive bit that was small enough to get between two boards.
I've recently read of people using boards pre-milled with a slot along their entire length to fit the ties, which would save a lot of time, and although I can't say specifically what's wrong with that idea, it just feels wrong somehow. The driver wouldn't be an issue if you installed the Ed-Ty's according to the directions, but I found that it was necessary to start the screw, add the next board, and fniish tightening the screw.
I would expect most deck contractors to be reluctant to work with any material they're not used to. Any extra work, including developing new techniques, kills profit in that business pretty quickly, so if it takes two days to do your deck instead of one, he'll want to get double the profit from you. And any contractor specializing in using premium materials like Ipe are doing it because they think they can get higher margin jobs.
Using a local supplier may be worth a little extra money, but only if it's a stocked material. You should expect any Ipe you buy to be usable and not need culling. I bought 10% extra, and had about 10% damaged in shipping, so it worked out that I only had one "good" board left over. I paid a premium price for long (20') pieces, and I expect any $35 board to be in pretty good condition, including being straight and not warped.
Go for 16" centers instead of (or in addition to) the thicker decking--you'll end up with a stiffer assembly, and unless you have a very small deck or a complex design with multiple platforms, the extra joists will cost less than the thicker decking.
Good luck!
Heath
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Ipe Clips are circular versus biscuit shaped, so slot placement is less critical. Ipe Clips come in gray or brown, so less obvious in use with thinner stock such as 4/4. Advantage sells both Ipe Clip and EB-TY, and does not see any real difference in performance
Heath Roberts wrote:

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Ditto - other than ordering three boxes too many ($300!!!), I'm happy.
snipped-for-privacy@remove.this.hotmail.com wrote:

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Here are some images of my IPE deck using the IPE clips. http://webpages.charter.net/mayhewhamm/deck /
I used a slot cutting bit and a router and I just did the sections that I needed for each joist. The sawdust is very fine and apparently toxic. (twitch, twitch) I STRONGLY suggest you do it outdoors.
_________
says...

because
I
have
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HSS combo bit and countersink would be the way to go. It will take half the time and will be cheaper to replace as you wear the bit out. Drilling really goes easily on Ipe. Use sharp carvbide Blades and cutting and sand the edges of all the cuts.
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Also, use dust masks. Some woodworkers have found the sawdust, and swarf from sanding, to be a respiratory irritant.
Joe aka 10x
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I agree HSS will cut faster and last a long time. Knight-Toolworks http://www.knight-toolworks.com affordable handmade wooden planes
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I use either a forstner or brad point for the plug hole, then use the approriate sized drill for the screw. I'd also use stainless screws with square drive from McFeelys.

I'm thinking of doing the same thing on my deck in a year or so. The structure is very sound the deck boards are getting crappy looking. Yes, I'm going to leave the structure as it. It is sound and will probably last longer than me. It dos not get the abuse that the horizintal surfaces get from sun, snow, etc. I like mahogany with Penofin oil finish but iwll consider Ipe also. This year it is just getting a coat of stain to prolong it.
--
Ed
http://pages.cthome.net/edhome /.



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500 Feet squared is 500' X 500', that is one big deck. Do you mean 500 sqft?

I recommend the inexpensive HSS drill-countersink combo type. Buy a bunch of them and throw them out as they become too dull to use. Drilling the same hole twice is a huge waste of time, especially when you are talking about several thousand holes. Buying expensive ones and trying to resharpen them is also more time and hassle than it's worth.

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I just finished a small project working with Ipe for a client. While most of the troubles I had won't apply to you, I will warn that I will most likely never use the stuff again. It is by far the hardest, densest, and foul material I have ever worked with.
Two router bits broken, half a dozen drill bits, and I need to replace or sharpen every blade that touched the stuff.
Maybe I was doing something wrong, but I don't think so
Andrew
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