Working with Ipe decking


Currently on the job, we are building a curved deck that is being decked with 5/4 Ipe. We have used Ipe a great deal in the past but never on a curved deck. We have been kicking around ideas about how to cut the decking to final length. My current favorite idea is to rough cut it to length and then rout it to final length with a flush trim bit.
What can I expect routing the endgrain of Ipe? I am thinking that I will first rout it with a couple of layers of tape on the piece that the bearing will ride on, then remove the tape and make a final pass removing only a small amount.
I know that Ipe is tough on cutters. I have approximately 60 ft of decking to rout. Should I plan on more then one bit? What will the problems be, (i.e., tearing burning, all of the above)? What combination of bit speed and router speed should I use?
I plan on doing some experimenting today and we will hopefully be doing the final work on Friday. Any thoughts would be appreciated as there is little room for error.
SteveP.
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I just did this in the Spring. We have a deck that includes most of a 16-food diameter circle, and one other corner that has a 36-inch radius. The deck is 4/4 ipe, nominal 6-inch width, laid diagonally, but the entire perimeter is flat 1 x 8 ipe. I installed the diagonal field boards first, leaving them long. I then marked the radius with a pencil and metal strap pivoted at the center of the curves. I used a skill saw to cut within maybe 1/8 of the pencil line. I then attached a router to the metal strap, and went around the circumference with a new straight bit. The one bit did the entire job, but was noticably duller at the end.
I considered putting little wedges between the boards to reduce splitting at the edge of the boards, but the splitting didn't seem too bad, so I didn't bother. I then did a 3/32 roundover of the cut edge, and applied Anchor Seal on the endgrain.
I cut and fitted an MDF pattern for the curved 8 inch perimeter boards, and used it to make the boards out of glued-up ipe, each one a 45-degree segment.
I'm pretty happy with the way it looks. I'm now working on a pipe-and-cable railing.
Highland Pairos wrote:

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On 10/11/2005 2:13 PM, ed_h wrote:

You made a deck out of food??? Man, if I did that I'd *never* be able to get rid of the raccoons! (Sorry, couldn't resist :-)
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Highland Pairos wrote:

My choice would be a good jig saw followed by a belt sander.
--
Jack Novak
Buffalo, NY - USA
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Not to answer my own question, but I did some experimenting today and found that the Ipe routed fairly trouble free. I intentionally went slow and even tried to burn the wood, but came out burn free. I am considering putting something between each deck board to prevent tearout. The only question not answered today is the longevity of the bits. I will hopefully find out more about that tomorrow.
SteveP.

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Highland Pairos wrote:

Start with CMT bits. I find they keep an edge for a long time.
BTW, ease any corners and sharp edges with a small roundover bit to minimize, tears, burrs, etc.
Good luck.
Lew
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I have gotten great mileage, better than carbide out of HSS End Mill Bits routing through slots in Ipe.
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