Author Topic: Questions about Ipe's qualities  (Read 9347 times)

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Questions about Ipe's qualities
« on: April 05, 2007, 09:46:36 am »
We just received a 10,000$ delivery of Brazilian walnut on the deck job I'm working. There should be plenty left over for a couple dozen bows. I'm gonna have to make the general contractor one to get the wood.  But I did score a buncha piese 39" long and 1 1/4" wide that I plan to start experimenting with.
 What I'm looking for is information about this wood. Never dealt with it before. What are some good dim.s for bows? Is it better in tension or compression? How much grain violation will it stand with a hickory or boo backing?  Does it require special glues or drgreasing techniques to ensure good glueing results?
 Basically I just wanna learn about what to expect from it so I won't make stupid mistakes.
 Any help would be appreciated.
 You heard that joke? Blonde lady's readin' the paper, headline says" Brazillians injured in soccer riot" she turns to the guy next to her and says" How many is a brazillian anyway?"

Offline Pat B

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Re: Questions about Ipe's qualities
« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2007, 09:53:49 am »
Chris, I have made a few ipe bows, all backed with hickory. I used TBIII for these backings and degreased with acetone. I'd say make them simular to osage. You don't want them wide and narrow. My first one was wide and by the time I was finished, the backing was thicker then the belly.  With those short pieces you can do a splice at the handle and back them.  Some here have made unbacked ipe board bows with good success.   Pat
Make the most of all that comes and the least of all that goes!    Pat Brennan  Brevard, NC

Offline snedeker

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Re: Questions about Ipe's qualities
« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2007, 12:27:36 pm »
Pats comments are on the mark. You can get a lot of bow out of a 1 1/8" wide piece of ipe.  can go short too. I did a self bow from a piece with 2 grain violaions - both in the upper half of one limb, and used burnishing to help hold them down.  Just went for 50# on that one.  Doesn't likek urethane for finish.  Tru oil or tung oil.



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Re: Questions about Ipe's qualities
« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2007, 02:28:54 pm »
I've made a couple unbacked Ipe bows.  A couple broke, one or two worked.  I didn't have much experience then.  With a bamboo back, Ipe can be made to 1:1 ratios.  Saffold made a 70# bamboo-backed Ipe bow 3/4" wide!  Incredible compression strength.

            J. D. Duff

Offline markinengland

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Re: Questions about Ipe's qualities
« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2007, 10:34:26 am »
An ipe bow will end up very skinny for it's draw weight. if you make it as wide as other woods you just own't be able to pull it or it will end up very shallow in depth. This can be a real problem with a boo backed Ipe bow.
Ipe doesn't much like to bend, so pronounced recurves etc are difficult.
Ipe can come in diffeent basic colours and types as Ipe is a family of trees rather than a specific species. Some will have a green tinge, others yellow or reddish. Ipe means  "BOW WOOD" in the native language!
The natives make unbacked bows similar to Englsih longbows, but these are failry long and lowish in draw weight.
It is very strong in compression and works very well in a bow backed with hickory or bamboo.
I have got 100lbs draw out of a bow 1 less than 1.25 inches wide.
I have used resorcinol and found it works well. I degreased with acetone of cellulose thinners.
The dust is not good for you so wear a face mask.
Darker areas of the wood tend to be harder and stronger and give stiff patches.
Ipe is very resistant to taking set. It'll put up with a lot of abuse so though difficult to work is quite good to learn on.
I have found that going slow and taking off wood with scrapers and files is the best way to tiller. Exercise the wood well, scrape, exercise well, check shape, scrape. Take your time as rushing can give hinges or a suddenly underweight bow. All of a sudden the wood will give in and weight can drop quite suddenly or shape change.
I have found Danish oil a good finish as it really brings out the colour and g rain of the Ipe.
I have built some durable backed bows that have had quite dramatic grain run off.
Don't build a narrow highly reflexed bow. It will make you cry!
Mark in England

Rich Saffold

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Re: Questions about Ipe's qualities
« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2007, 10:03:24 pm »
what is interesting about ipe is with the 100 or so species of the wood being shipped all over the world there is this wide range in what everyone gets and how the woods condition is..

First I have never had to degrease any ipe for glue-up, and only once did I lightly wash the it with dish soap..I think  the oil  is a combination of heat and humidity during shipping may bring out the oils in the wood..

I find ipe that is nearly black in color, but rarely use it as the grain tends to be too wild to use..

My favorite glue to use with ipe is titebond 3, and bicycle inner tube strips to wrap the assembly together..

While I have used files on ipe, normally the tool sequence for me is bandsaw or table saw, bench sander, and scrapers, and a little sandpaper.