Am turning several mallet heads for a fellow using Ipe. Boy this stuff is
really dense. Only sharp tools do the job, but they dull quickly. I'm told
the dust is an allergen too.
Anyone have any tips?
In article ,
Well, I have not turned it as yet, but I've read enough to know that it
dulls things quickly due to a silica content, similar to teak -
built-in-tool-dulling-rock...so expect to keep sharpening a lot.
I've got a small chunk that's been hanging around the shop for a couple
years - one of these days ...
Anyway, if it dulls tools because of the silica content, shouldn't it
sharpen them also? I know this sounds off the wall, but how about rubbing
the bevel on the off side to sharpen?
Lobby Dosser wrote in
It didn't work with anigre. 2 passes on the bowl, 1 on the wheel,
who has some ipe in the wood rack, too, and is thinking that there are
higher callings than the lathe for that wood.
Know the dangers, don't put yourself in harm's way for the sake of a
Tropical woods which have had to contend with insects and standing water for
a few hundred thousand years are loaded with "extractives" in the form of
fungicides and insecticides. There isn't really a way to determine an
individual's sensitivity as far as allergies, but it's sure that these
chemicals are not good for your mucous membranes, designed as they are for
Since the dust is merely the carrier of the chemicals, a simple mask may not
be enough to protect you from airborne chemicals in the oils and vapors.
Further, since you have pores in your skin, you may also develop urticaria
("hives"), or even contact dermatitis from prolonged contact.
Keep some antihistamine like Benadryl handy whenever you're turning, and be
prepared to _stop_ if you experience respiratory symptoms, remove yourself
from the irritant, and dose.
Then, when symptoms subside, get a chemical (charcoal) mask and some rubber
gloves on and clear up the dust and shavings.
Throw them out with the turning.
I've turned quite a bit of ipe. You already know that it's hard (I mean
HARD) and dense (some pieces won't float in water) and it dulls tools
quickly, requiring you to sharpen often. But it also polishes to an amazing
sheen with very little effort and transforms from the dirty yellow sawdust
to a rich chocolate brown with just a swipe of oil. And it's very
I like it.
Wear a good mask, as with all tropical woods.
Michael Latcha - at home in Redford, MI