View Full Version : Ipe for fingerboards & bridges

11-27-2011, 03:36 PM
I've gotten several cutoffs of Ipe & am wondering if anyone has
experience with it. Would it be good for fingerboards & bridges? It is very hard & is reportedly hard on cutting tools. I'd appreciate any information about it.


11-27-2011, 04:02 PM
Ipe, other than the oil in it would work great. I have made many three string cigarbox styles with it. I am not sure if it is just me but it kills me when cutting it and sanding it. It is a hard wood and lots of memory.

Rick Turner
11-27-2011, 04:52 PM
That is one of the most enigmatic posts I've seen here...

"a hard wood and lots of memory..." Whose memory?

I remember several with that kind of longing...

11-27-2011, 04:57 PM
Rick, you kill me.

11-27-2011, 06:54 PM
Sorry, I build traditional archery bows. when I say memory I mean that it does not like to bent and it will do what it takes to hold its shape. Blood wood is the same and I have seen one thin lamination of it straighten out a bow that was in a form to be reflexed. So just my bow virbage coming out.

Michael Smith
11-27-2011, 08:27 PM
I've used it for fretboards. It worked well and polished nicely. I didn't find the large pores very attractive. If I used it again I would fill the pores with matching color pore fill. I have installed thousands of feet of Ipe decking and didn't find it much harder on tool edges than other hardwoods. It surely meets the hardness test. The Ipe you buy is very seldom dry enough for instrument building but if you have some dry stuff, go for it.

11-28-2011, 01:29 PM
A constructioneer friend gave me a bunch of figured ipe from a deck job. It was almost dripping wet when I got it. Many months later I made a banjo rim and neck out of it, and one unfinished uke. When I went to rout the uke for binding the side tore loose of the lining and sort of exploded. It mended, but I think I'll discard it and maybe start over. Maybe not. At any rate, it was my fault. I found the wood to be quite toxic, and will never sand it without a good dust mask again. I was in a daze for a couple days and felt quite uncoordinated. Stupid mistake. Should make decent fingerboards, though.

Ken W
11-30-2011, 05:43 PM
I've used it for fingerboards and bridges on several ukes and find it to be satisfactory in those applications. The wood I have came from a loading pallet and, even though it seemed dry when I got it, I dried it in my shop for over a year before using it. I have noticed that it has bled a yellowish color into the bone nut and saddle on a uke I recently completed.