using IPE for decking replacing teak - Page 2 - SailNet Community

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Old 08-12-2011
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A major issue with all these woods are their stability.
They are typically sold for house decks. They may shrink a lot.

I bought some "mahogany" for about a dollar a lineal foot for 1 x 4 that I loved the look of. It had a very rich beautiful grain. I knew it was wet so I dried it for two months in a closet. I made paneling and kitchen cabinets with it.

My cabinets were the standard frame with recessed inset panel made of 1 x 4 rabbited boards. I fitted the panels loosely on purpose. Fortunately the panels were fitted into a rabbit on the back of the frame not in a groove as is standard. After a particular high humidity month I noticed a panel that was make loose was very tight. I took it out to check and had to plane off at least an 1/8th of an inch to get it back in. It had swelled over 3/16 of an inch in a 14" panel. The cabinets have been in for several years and work great and my design allowed for movement of the wood.
This kind of movement in a deck would probably ruin it, especially considering a deck gets a light drier and a lot wetter than kitchen cabinet doors.

So another property of teak must be extreme dimensional stability.
Unless you know the mystery wood you were using has this kind of stability you will probably create a mess.

Also even if I found a board that seemed to behave properly the way these trees are harvested there can be significant difference in species that are harvested and cut and sold together.
In a deck it don't matter much. In my kitchen and walls I expected it and built accordingly.
In a boat deck I don't know how you could control it unless your made your own manufactured lumber by cutting it into 1/4" strips and gluing it together and encapsulating it like they do with bamboo floor or glue-lam beams.
You probably don't have the equipment to do that.

Last edited by davidpm; 08-12-2011 at 01:43 AM.
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Old 08-13-2011
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one important thing i haven't seen covered here is the finish durability. it doesn't last because the wood is too dense/hard. it does shrink a lot and twist. it is also called iron wood for a very good reason
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Old 08-13-2011
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What about cork or synthetics? Synthetic Teak Decking for Boats
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Old 08-13-2011
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It will sink
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Old 08-15-2011
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Originally Posted by 24seven365 View Post
It will sink
Which one- the boat decked with teak or a single piece of ipe wood?
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Old 08-16-2011
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IpÍ is native to Brazil and used a lot for house floors in Brazil. It's not exactly a cheap wood here. It is a great wood, though heavy and sometimes hard to work with, as noted above. It is also used a lot in boatbuilding in Brazil. IpÍ is an excellent wood for building hulls and wooden decks and is used extensively for building wooden fishing boats and schooners. It's also commonly used for small deck applications (over fiberglass decks) instead of teak, such as on swim platforms, at the bow (to protect the deck from the chain), cockpit seating and such. It's a terrific wood for this kind of application and has tremendous longevity and won't rot. I can't say I've ever seen a whole deck covered in ipÍ, but then again, wooden decks over fiberglass are so rare in Brazil to begin with, that it's possible that no one has tried it out on decks. Is it that much cheaper than teak in the US??
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Old 08-16-2011
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Wood movement in decks is a real issue. I have a stack of Indonesian Mahogany that has worked well in interior applications. But when I used some for a small step outdoors the finish failed in short order. Too much wood movement.

The problem with replacing teak with ipe is you're adding twice the weight on deck -- something the boat's designer didn't take into account and you can't predict if that will effect the boat's handling.

There's a reason teak is the prefered wood for decks. Small movement in service, naturally oily, and small pores. Ipe shares these traits. You might think about getting around the weight issue by planing the ipe thinner than the teak that's on there now...

The price difference makes it pretty tempting ipe: $6.60 board ft vs teak: $25 board ft locally. Both are 4/4 finish planed.
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