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Old 15-01-2013, 10:43   #1
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Ipe wood cabin sole

Has anyone used Ipe wood for a cabin sole. It is extremely durable, looks similar to teak ( I know it not teak but looks great). What my question is what adhesive should I use to bond it to the sole. It is a power boat so weight is not a problem. It is as oily as teak. It is also very stable dimensionally so I will be doing the seams with thickened pigmented epoxy. Because of all the oils and the hardness of the wood I have done some tests and almost anything found on a boat won't stain it. The planks that I will be using will be 2 1/4"x3/8" thick. If anyone has any advice it would be greatly welcomed
Thank you in advance for all the advice.
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Old 15-01-2013, 10:59   #2
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Re: Ipe wood cabin sole

I think Ipe would be a good choice. As far as fastening it, screws and bungs with Thikol as an adhesive like an exterior boat deck. You wouldn't need to spread the adhesive over the entire surface, just in spots. What surface are you putting it down over? Plywood? A fiberglass pan? You could use a tung-oil based finish over it like Waterlox as long as it does not have a finish on it already. It will turn very dark with the finish, so that's one potential negative of using Ipe.
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Old 15-01-2013, 11:08   #3
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It is going over plywood skinned with fiberglass
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Old 15-01-2013, 11:30   #4
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Re: Ipe wood cabin sole

Is any of the floor exposed to the elements where it will get rained on etc? I know some powerboats have the cabin floor extend out into the cockpit area. If this is the case, you probably will want to treat it like an exterior boat deck.
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Old 15-01-2013, 11:41   #5
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No it is all in the cabin. Even if it a was outside it would be fine. We have a Ipe table on the dock that hasn't had a finish ever put in and it is going on 5 years and still looks new. That's the great thing about Ipe. IT'S JUST DAM HEAVY. LOL
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Old 15-01-2013, 11:52   #6
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Re: Ipe wood cabin sole

Yup, Ipe can take all of the weather as teak can, but I asked because it affects how you put it down and what kind of finish you can use on it. I do a lot of professional woodworking, mainly furniture and cabinetry but I will do an occasional deck and I have worked with Ipe. One thing that Ipe does do is if left unfinished when exposed to the weather, it develops micro-checks (little cracks in the grain).
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Old 15-01-2013, 12:02   #7
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I totally had forgot about the checks. Do you recommend something to seal or that won't make it to dark
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Old 15-01-2013, 12:24   #8
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Re: Ipe wood cabin sole

I work with Ipe decking a lot, as well as other South American hardwoods. The comment about the micro checks are correct.

If it won't get much sun, then it's not really a problem. The best UV/Oil up here is Messmers. It has the finest particulates so I'm told, so it won't create a build up on the surface. It's also not a bad idea to seal the ends with end coat or a similar product. This is best done right after cutting, as the heat from the blade can cause a checked end. Personally, I never seal the ends, but I'm building decks, not boat floors.

It sounds like you already have the Ipe. I'm curious as to where you found it, that's an odd dimension? 3/8" might be a little thin for exterior/wet applications. I use primarily 3/4" x 5 1/2" material, and it will cup if not fastened properly. You may want to think about 3/4" x 3 1/2", especially if you are relying the glue to hold it.

If you are not stuck with the material, I would encourage you to look at Garapa. It's more of a golden brown colour. It's a little softer than Ipe, but just as stable, and not prone to checks. The grain is also a little more consistent. It would be my choice.
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Old 15-01-2013, 12:37   #9
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No I already have about 15 Ipe logs that are 12' by 30-45" diameter. The admiral loves the wood and so do I. I have done alot of work with 3/8" thickness as well as the table that I was talking about, the whole top is made of 3/8 " slats and nine has checked or cracked.
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Old 15-01-2013, 12:48   #10
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Re: Ipe wood cabin sole

Cool. I can't imagine lifting those logs!!!!
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Old 15-01-2013, 13:01   #11
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Re: Ipe wood cabin sole

I built a deck out of ipe. You do need to seal the ends or they will split. It is an oily wood so it needs to be wiped down with acetone before gluing it or varnishing it. It is also an exceptionally hard wood. Another interesting thing is that it sinks in water...yes, it is that dense.

It is an exceptionally beautiful wood oiled. I think better looking than teak.
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Old 15-01-2013, 18:47   #12
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Is it possible to use 5200 or secaflex if the wood is wiped with acetone or would it be better to use thickened epoxy. SS screws with bungs.
Thanks again in advance.
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Old 15-01-2013, 19:19   #13
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I will be posting pics of the cabin sole as the project goes. The logs that I have will be getting milled at the end of March so the project will start in mid may when the weather worms up.
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Old 16-01-2013, 03:34   #14
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Re: Ipe wood cabin sole

I've worked with Ipe a lot. About 50,000 SF for exterior decks in coastal and Sierra Nevada foothills in California. (moist, cold, harsh exposures) A few things about this beautiful wood;

First, while the wood is not prone to splintering, even with grain run out, if you do get a splinter in you (mostly during cutting and installation) stop everything and get it out! The pain of rapid infection will not let you forget. I kid you not, a small splinter on a finger tip and within 1/2 hour the pain is so great you wish your whole hand would fall off. Yucky is a proper term here, as in, severely inflamed, yucky, pus-forming.

Do treat the ends to prevent checking. Paraffin wax in liquid form applied with a brush will suffice. Be careful to avoid dripping onto the walking surface as it will be noticeable, ie, unsightly.

Use carbide tools only. HSS is not up to the task.

Pre-drill for screws, etc. The torque required to drive a screw through the dense grain will snap any fastener. Nails? Fuggedaboudit.

Wear a dust mask if needed. Spores in the wood, etc.

Use only stainless steel for fasteners. The wood oils will corrode other metals.

Of adhesives, the only adhesive I found that worked was Gorilla Glue.

IPE responds very favorably to using biscuits for tight joinery.

With God as my witness I wish I could remember the manufacturer of the coating product I used. It beats every other product out there. Yes, Messmers too. A product description may help you find it:

Water soluble, urethane-like qualities, eco-friendly, low VOC, none to little smell, UV inhibiters, manufactured in Northern California or maybe Oregon, manufacturer name begins with "P". Around $30/gallon.

I've tried them all, this product is the best I'd ever found for Ipe.
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Old 16-01-2013, 08:06   #15
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Re: Ipe wood cabin sole

Richard,
I'm not a big fan of Gorilla glue, I find that it is much weaker and will break down over time, especially with UV exposure. Plus, if you don't clean it up right away with lacquer thinner, it is very hard to clean off. Fine Woodworking did a glue comparison a few years ago and they really tanked Gorilla glue (polyurethane). Here's the link: http://www.oldbrownglue.com/pdf/HowS...urGlue_FWW.pdf
This article even compares the glue using Ipe.

I really think that Thikol would be appropriate, especially on a boat where it will be subjected to flexion.
The micro-checks shouldn't be as much of an issue on the interior as long as it is sealed as soon as possible.
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