I was looking in the free-stuff section of a local website. Obviously, the good stuff goes fast, so I checked it often. I saw an ad for unﬁnished Ipe (a Brazilian hardwood). When I came upon a pile of 3×3 boards, I was ready to discount it as trash. The stuff was in rough shape. It had been used as spacer blocks for Brazilian granite (Verde Ubatuba, to be exact) being shipped to the U.S.
But since this resilient and rot-resistant hardwood got a free ride up here and landed in my hands, I felt I couldn’t pass up this opportunity for a diamond in the rough. I love being able to reuse things that still have life in them, and this Ipe was no exception.
Once my modest 5 x 9-ft. deck was framed, I got a fresh table saw blade and went to work, re-sawing the Ipe into 1-3/16 in. thick boards, about 2-1/2 in. wide. I ran them through a surface planer to clean up the re-saw marks. Then I predrilled the wood and set about fastening it to my deck framing. I then used a plug cutter to create plugs from the same wood and glued them in place with a waterproof glue.
After a lot of sanding, it was time to apply a ﬁnish. I chose an oil-based wood toner with a slight redwood color. As a reclaimed wood project, it highlights the woods previous life with occasional nail marks that give character to the overall appearance. The result is amazing! Next time you come across rough timber that looks like it would be better suited for your ﬁreplace than as a woodworking project, think twice! — Dallin Pedersen