using IPE for decking replacing teak - SailNet Community

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Old 08-11-2011
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using IPE for decking replacing teak

Anyone have any experience with IPE for decking. Im considering replacing my team decks on nauticat 33 with 1/4 x 1 1/4 ipe over non cored fiberglass deck
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Old 08-11-2011
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If you do use Ipe it should last forever and look nice.
Ipe is more difficult to work with then Teak and a bit heavier per bd/ft. Ipe is so dense that it may not float. The extra weight might be a consideration.
Ipe Lumber- ipe wood's properties, toxicity, hardness etc.
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Old 08-11-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nautisailor View Post
Anyone have any experience with IPE for decking. Im considering replacing my team decks on nauticat 33 with 1/4 x 1 1/4 ipe over non cored fiberglass deck
I have it in my house and it is good. I would not use it on my boat. It is very hard- contractor used a carbide saw to cut. It is also very heavy (because the tree takes up minerals from the ground- also why it is hard to cut) kinda like petrified wood. I do think its weight would change the stability of your boat- I think the wood does sink (I see sg is almost same as water slightly less so it would float just below surface. The other think, the wood can splinter, and if it does, the splinters are very long and very sharp. I have seen decks made from this wood- the walkway over the Brooklyn bidge for example, and the wood does not hold up forever- it will split and crack.

Think twice before you use-

Last edited by casey1999; 08-11-2011 at 06:30 PM.
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Old 08-11-2011
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IPE is about double the density and weight of teak (specific gravity .97 vs .55), so you're adding a lot of additional weight to the deck.

I think you'd be better off finding a good teak wholesaler if cost is the issue. Call around. Teak prices can vary widely. If you're around the Chesapeake or Jersey shore PM me and I'll forward the names of some people to call.

Jim
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Old 08-11-2011
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I know of a few people who have replaced wooden bits with HDPE bits. HDPE is a type of plastic, sold a few different ways by different companies. There are different grades and such, just like with any synthetic material.

In general terms, though, HDPE is quite durable, easy to work with (normal woodworking tools and techniques work overall), quite UV resistant (some HDPE more than others, of course, but it's all superior to canvas or wood) and it doesn't rot or splinter.

It is heavier than most species of wood. It can be purchased in sizes ranging from 1 foot by 1 foot sheets of half inch thick to 4 foot by 8 foot at 4 inches thick. Probably bigger, even.

It's an interesting material, lots of people have used it with success, and is probably worth your time to look into.

Post pictures of your completed project!

--Tim

Edit: Oh, it does float, though just barely. specific gravity is somewhere around .96, I recall, though there are some variations in different builders/grades
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Old 08-11-2011
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As deck builder, (house decks folks) I've built a dozen or so large Ipe projects. It's fantastically strong and durable.

I've never come across splintering after a deck has been laid down, although I have had the occasion of getting sliver handling rough cut pieces. Those bad boys are unlike any other wood sliver. Even the tiniest ones are quite painful, and you can have bad reactions to the resins in the wood.

It's very dense wood, yes it floats just below the surface. The darker cuts from the heart of the tree, (almost black) will fully sink.

Would I use it for grab rails and decorative touches on a sailboat. Yes, absolutely.

As sailboat decking? No. For three reasons. It's too heavy. It can be slippery due to its density. And there's a remote chance of getting a sliver in your foot.

There are other South American species which may be more suitable. I would suggest looking into Garapa. Cheaper and less dense than Ipe. It has a deep golden hue.
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Old 08-11-2011
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I have also gotten splinters from scrap pieces of ipe. The splinters are more like what you would expect when working with steel. The splinters can be very long and thin, most wood like this would break if you tried to stick yourself, not ipe, it is like steel- it will stick you and deep!
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A product I have seen on three boats here in south Florida is From TEK-DEK. No more leaking decks, looks good and from the people I've talked to it seems to last. If I had teak deck I think this would be worth looking at. FWIW
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Old 08-11-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ninefingers View Post
As deck builder...

There are other South American species which may be more suitable. I would suggest looking into Garapa. Cheaper and less dense than Ipe. It has a deep golden hue.
Here is a link about Garapa wood: Garapa | The Wood Database - Lumber Identification (Hardwoods)
Interesting. Garapa has a specific gravity of .66 and therefore should float. The link also states: "Garapa has a medium texture and small open pores. The grain is usually straight, but can also be interlocked."
Another name for Ipe is 'Iron Wood' which supports the aside discussions about very nasty splinters from this wood.
I'd look for some other S. American species as Ninefingers suggests and maybe Garapa is the one.
I once cut a small piece out of a hunk of Ipe I fabricated to be the core of a knee wall supporting our aft stay and the excess dropped into the salty LI Sound and sank! Must have been heart wood as it was dense as he11.
There is always Mahogany.
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Old 08-12-2011
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I was a carpenters assistant building decks in the Chesapeake Area and did two jobs using Ipe. Let me tell you that unloading the wood for those jobs was WORK!
I agree with the above~Ipe is too heavy.
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