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
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.
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
I'm pretty happy with the way it looks. I'm now working on a
Highland Pairos wrote:
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.
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