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Date Posted: - Sunday - 01/11/09 - 1:22pm
Author: Lyle Harris
Subject: Ipe for toerail?

The toerail on Starlight (an M31) is broken and soft in a number of areas. I'm thinking of Ipe as a super strong, saltwater resistant alternative to the more costly teak. anyone have experience with Ipe? I know it's very stiff, which might be challenging to curve into shape. I may have to build up the toerail in thin strips with epoxy.

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Replies:

[> Ipe toe rail -- James Scheh, - Monday - 01/12/09 - 12:36am

Lyle

I used ipe for my new samson posts on my M-31(new name on the way). I am a general contractor in S.F. And have been working with ipe on decks for years. I don't think you would have any trouble getting the bend you need for the toe rail. As far as its durability. Ipe would be like a rot proof white oak if there was such a thing. It is also very hard to glue or epoxy because of density and all the oils in it. I would assume that it would not take varnish well either. When it weathers it looks much like teak silver grey but doesn't show it's grain like unfinished teak will. You can also buy it in lengths up to 20'.

James


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[> [> Ipe -- Lyle Harris, - Monday - 01/12/09 - 12:57pm

Hi James, thanks for the endorsement of Ipe for boat work. I've been wondering how it would perform. I think that's what I'm going to use on the toe rail, and put the joints as far forward as possible, where the hull line is straighter, and sees less traffic.
I've only seen this material in 3/4 inche thickness for deck planking. Ideally, I'd like to find 1.5" thick pieces, or 2x4s that I can shape. I'll have to check in with my local suppliers.
I checked the samson posts on my boat. they're still very solid, the but the copper nails on those little post caps have mostly come out.
thanks,
Lyle.


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[> Ipe -- Steve m-32 #59, - Monday - 01/12/09 - 2:09pm

There really isn't a problewm with Ipe per se but something to keep in mind is the weight of the woods you are using. Even though we sail tanks we don't need to weigh our boats down more than they already are. Ipe is an extremely heavy wood and while it will work for certain applications I would be reluctant to use lots of it just simply for the weight.


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[> [> Ipe -- Dan M32 Independence, - Thursday - 01/15/09 - 12:40am

Steve,
I agree with you, ipe is very heavy and I would think twice about putting very much on my boat.
Dan


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[> [> [> Ipe seem not a good alternative. Other recomendations? -- Lyle Harris, - Thursday - 01/15/09 - 12:44pm

Gentlemen,
I'm in agreement with you both that Ipe would be too heavy, and while it's very rot resistant, not a good alternative. If you have any wood species that you'd recommend as alternative to the super expensive teak, I'd love to know. I would imagine that there's a list of marine worthy woods that I might find on the 'net.


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[> [> [> [> Alternative woods -- Steve M-32 #59, - Thursday - 01/15/09 - 6:24pm

From a practical point try to keep in mind what teak is good for on a boat. Its' primary use is as a decking material because it has non-skid properties. It is beautiful when varnished but that is more an aesthetic consideration rather than a practical one. So, if you're willing to have the look of another wood a mahogany would be excellent, either Honduras, African, or one of the better Phillipine varieties like Meranti. If it's not going to take much abuse from walking, Red Cedar would be a good choice, Yellow would be even better and both are available locally. If you're willing to keep it varnished, Doug Fir would work quite well also. As you can see there are a lot of choices and it just depends on where you want to come down on the cost, durability, maintenance scale.


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