Ironwood

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Does anyone have experience working with ironwood? I have a client that has requested its use in the construction of his bed, and I have no experience at all with it. Looking around online I found that its from Hawaii and very dense, and supposedly hard on tools as a result, but was hoping for someone who could confirm or deny that from first hand exerience.
Thanks
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

that
from
Ironwood is also known as Ipe or Pau Lope.
It has some interesting qualities.
One of the major woodworking mags ran an article entitled "Ipe, Wood or Metal?" within the last few months.
Fascinating.
If you like, I can locate the article for you once I get home from work.
Gus
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A scout camp I go to in Wisconsin has Ironwood trees all over. It sure doesn't look like Ipe to me. We even used an Ironwood tree to make a new flagpole for our camp site.
Brian Elfert
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I've had experience with Pau Lope (also called Ipe). It's called ironwood for good reason. It's dense, heavy stuff. IIRC if you've ever been on the boardwalk in Atlantic City, it is made of Pau Lope because it never rots. It's devastating to carbide. I chose to buy a bunch of cheap disposable blades as opposed to dulling expensive ones.. Predrill for screws, or they'll just snap off. It'd be quite extreme for use as a bed. Charge accordingly. --dave
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I plunge cut hundreds of 1.5" long slots 3/8" deep and wide in Ipe and have had better luck with a 4 flute HSS end mill bit than with a carbide bit. I also resaw and make hundreds of cut into Ipe with a Forrest WWII blade. I would say that Ipe is tough on carbide but certainly would not say that it is devastating to carbide unless the carbide is a cheaper grade that Forrest uses.
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Man, i put an indoor deck around a exercise pool coupla years ago out of Ipe. The stuff seemed to dull the freud blades i bought for the TS and MS almost to the point of needing sharpened before lunchtime the first day! After that i bought the cheapest blades money could buy just to keep the project moving along. In retrospect, it may have been wiser to invest in better quality blades. Thanks for the insight! --dave

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Some iron woods are known as Ipe.
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There are a dozen woods called ironwood, from hop hornbeam to lignum vitae. I hadn't heard ipe calle ironwood, but okay... Some are not commercially available
I can't think of any reason to use such a wood for a bed. They are all a bear to work; so I suggest you get your client to better identify the wood, and charge accordingly.
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

You don't want to go there.
What ever price you would charge for say white oak construction, multiply by 100 to work "ironwood".
If client still persists, add a 1000% surcharge.
HTH
Lew
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Tell him to pick one. So far he has simply told you that he wants a bed built with a very hard, hard wood. One of the most common Iron woods is Ipe. Ipe is a very common decking material. I pay about $20 for a rough cut 1"x 6" x 8'. Keep in mind that Ipe is 3 times harder than Oak. And, yes iron wood is hard on your tools. You want sharp carbide tools to work it.
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On 24 Jan 2005 09:21:25 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

First, what do you mean 'iron wood'? The name is applied to a number of different species, generally whatever local wood is hardest and heaviest.
Around here it means 'desert ironwood' -- a small tree with a dark, highly figured heartwood. Pretty but it doesn't come in large pieces, is difficult to work, dulls tools and the dust is toxic.
--RC
"Sometimes history doesn't repeat itself. It just yells 'can't you remember anything I've told you?' and lets fly with a club. -- John W. Cambell Jr.
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it can be some of the most beautiful wood too. with all of the silica it really can get a deep grain to it. smells like a dead animal though (G)
--
Knight-Toolworks & Custom Planes
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really can get a deep grain to it. smells like a dead animal though (G)
*** Actually, silica content is zero.
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There is a huge variation in the appearance of woods called Ironwood.
I've worked both Hophornbeam and Ipe, and they are, IMO, not as difficult as some others have implied. They are hard and heavy, but sharp tools will handle them nicely. Ipe dust gave me the sniffles.
snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

that
from
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LOL... Have you gotten the dust on a sweaty arm yet? It turns blood red.
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Leon wrote:

Ironwood.
but
sniffles.
red.
It's the strangest thing. The wood is brown, the sawdust is bright yellow, but it stains things red. I had pink hair for a week.
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I never noticed any stains.
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So back to the drawing board with the whole making the bed. No ironwood, regardless the actual species...
Now, why does Steve Knight think that purpleheart is easier to rip than maple?
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You can do it if you want to work with Ipe, because it is commonly available as decking everywhere. Sold priced in linear feet. Super strong wood, I can get it at $2.70. Steve Knight makes handplanes with it.
--
Alex
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Not with Ipe decking, The decking is still wet so to speak and will shrink more as it dries.
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