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Saw blade for cutting ipe

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  • Saw blade for cutting ipe

    I have a bunch or small pieces of Ipe that I scrounged from a deck project on a house down the street from me. I have mostly 5/4 X2" (various lengths and other widths ripped from wider boards on site. I have been using some of the 5/4 X 2" for garden trellises etc. also I have about a 6' 4" X 4" that was apparently split when fastening it to other structural parts - the holes were probably too small and the bolts were too large and the would split.

    I am trying to figure out some use for the pieces and I will probably make some mallets out of 1 X 4 by cutting them to size (with slightly angled faces) and then sandwiching two of them together with smaller pieces to allow for a rectangular opening for a handle out of IPE or oak. I might even make a mallet ( large with long handle for driving stakes into the ground?) from the 4" X 4" piece that I have although I imagine drilling a hole for the handle will be tough and slow.

    I can use my BT3K or Hitachi miter saw to cut the pieces - I am trying to figure out the best blade to use. I have a 100 tooth carbide blade that is for cutting ferrous metal and I am wondering if that is a good choice. The blade works great for aluminum but I am concerned that the Ipe may damage or severely dull the blade. I have other crosscut blades that I can use.

    Would Ipe turn very well on a lathe?

    Any comments on projects with Ipe and the type of blade to use will be appreciated.

  • #2
    I have large amounts of Ipe that I've been using over the years. I've never treated it in a special way, but I have a larger table saw and carbide on my jointer. I've just used the same blades I use for everything else and never had an issue. I would not use a metal-specific blade. This stuff is hard, but it's not as hard as some other woods. It's also generally easy to work with. Note that certain varieties have made neon-lime-green sawdust, which is surprising the first time you see it. It's also mildly toxic and quite allergenic, so good protection is critical. Don't touch your face near your eyes until your hands are clean. A few people have an extreme reaction to it.


    • #3
      I've cut ipe on a BT3K using the stock blade and it did struggle. On my cabinet saw with a Woodworker 2, there waa no problem.

      Definitely use a splitter if you're not sure how dry it is. It could pinch the blade.

      Also be sure all the screws or nails are out of it. I used some reclaimed ipe decking from the Restore and although I could see almost all the stainless steel screws, I still went over the boards with my HF metal detector to be sure.


      • #4
        I guess I should add that I only acquired the Ipe after I'd upgraded to a Unisaw and a Hitachi 12" SCMS, both with high end blades. I've never tried working it with a low-power table saw.


        • #5
          Thanks guys,

          i hope to to give it a try soon as the wood is gathering dust and taking up space in my shed. I have mostly small pieces in the shed and a few approx 1 x4 and 1 x 6 in 2 - 4 ft length plus the 4x4 I mentioned in my original post. Iíve got a woodworker II and another good blade (Chopmaster?) for my miter saw. I donít see much ripping except for some af the 4Ē or 6Ē wide pieces.

          Any comments in regard to turning and/or drilling fairly large holes will be appreciated. I have an old 10er shop-smith this will be my lathe and drill press


          • #6
            I've used the Chopmaster and Freud fine crosscut with good results. Drilling is GREAT in this wood, it's so easy and smooth to drill. But largest I've done is about 2".

            I have not tried turning this stuff.

            Here's a sink for my marina slip made from it (got the wood as free defective planks from the marina). I've also made box planters and other outdoor stuff. It's very rugged.

            Click image for larger version

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