Author Topic: European mailbox out of Ipe - Woodworkout!  (Read 4298 times)

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Offline grobkuschelig

  • Posts: 143
European mailbox out of Ipe - Woodworkout!
« on: March 02, 2017, 05:53 PM »
Hi there.

I thought I might share my current project, to maybe get some advice along the way or at least give someone something to laugh about. ;)

I have been doing low tech woodworking for all my life, but have recently been able to get some tools to bring my quality and possibilities to a new level.
I do not have a shop. I either need to work in a small shared space in the basement, where everyone park their bikes, or in my living room.

I promised my Mom a new mailbox for her birthday which is rapidly approaching, so I really need to get to it.

Somehow a mix of naivety and stupidity convinced me to feel obliged to try Ipe as a wood for this project.
The only Ipe I could get were some left over planks from my wood supplier.

Since they are 25mm thick, I need to get them split. The mailbox does not need to weigh a ton. ;)

I only have a TS55 to get this done, in the beginning I thought I might be able to cut 55mm into the 145mm wide planks from both sides and cue the rest by hand.
Man was I naive! At least with my limited tools, it's impossible.
So today I cut small strips from the planks (plan to make Dominos out of these strips. [emoji41])
I left roughly 115mm of plank and cut this from both sides. With some effort, I was able to cut the remaining Xmm by hand.

Now the stuff has to be hand planed, or maybe routed in some way, in the weekend. Wish me luck, or even better, give me some good ideas on how to get this hard stuff under control. [emoji51]


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Offline RustE

  • Posts: 166
Re: European mailbox out of Ipe - Woodworkout!
« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2017, 07:03 PM »
If I'm following correctly, the planks are still 25mm thickness and you would like them thinner?

Do you have a router with a template bushing and a good carbide straight bit?  You could make a template to remove material from the center of the boards and leave the edges thicker.

Offline mwildt

  • Posts: 357
Re: European mailbox out of Ipe - Woodworkout!
« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2017, 08:12 PM »
Maybe there is a local woodworker with a planer that can assist or the wood supplier perhaps. If not then a hand plane or an router sled could be used.

Never worked with ipe my self.

Offline grobkuschelig

  • Posts: 143
Re: European mailbox out of Ipe - Woodworkout!
« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2017, 01:11 AM »
Sorry, if I was not clear enough. It was very late... [emoji42]

So. I cut the boards all the way around with the TS55, then took a handsaw to  saw through the remaining couple of mm. The boards are now around 10-12 mm thick.

Before doing so, I cut 4x 5mm Strips of the boards to get the width down from 145mm to 117mm.

So now the pain will be to remove the "saw marks" and the burrs left in the cut-side.
I will try to hand plane this, but might get the router out, If hand planing proves to be too much of a pain...

Keep the tips coming!
...before, I though about going the router way to just remove material for weight savings. But that would have lead to a whole bunch of saw dust and not many boards to use.


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Offline grobkuschelig

  • Posts: 143
Re: European mailbox out of Ipe - Woodworkout!
« Reply #4 on: March 04, 2017, 06:20 PM »
So. I spent most of the day hand planing the saw marks and burrs on my split boards.

I really need to get a bigger plane. It worked on the block plane, but was a tough fight. [emoji58]

Hopefully everything will come together nicely on the end, to make all the sweat and pain worthwhile.

Do any of you guys have tips for finishing the Ipe?
Wax?
Oil?
Which kind?

Thanks for your suggestions/accounts of experience!


Offline kevinculle

  • Posts: 141
Re: European mailbox out of Ipe - Woodworkout!
« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2017, 08:06 PM »
Do any of you guys have tips for finishing the Ipe?
Wax?
Oil?
Which kind?



I redid my 750 ft^2 (70m^2) deck in ipe 3 years ago...for outdoor use if you want to keep it pretty I've had good luck with Deckwise Ipe Oil, but it's an annual application for horizontal surfaces.  I've also made a lot of shop doodads with the offcuts and for indoor use I just hit it with a couple coats of Seal Coat.  Hand planing ipe is not my idea of fun...I did use my deck build to justify Byrd heads on my jointer & planer.

Offline Tracky

  • Posts: 18
Re: European mailbox out of Ipe - Woodworkout!
« Reply #6 on: March 05, 2017, 02:27 PM »
I like Cutek Extreme in Walnut color for my Ipe deck. But as mentioned earlier, it must be done annually to prevent silvering.

Offline grobkuschelig

  • Posts: 143
Re: European mailbox out of Ipe - Woodworkout!
« Reply #7 on: March 05, 2017, 02:49 PM »
Thanks for the great tips!

I finished glueing up the wider boards for front, back and top cover of the mailbox today.
Done with D4 wood glue (resin based) & self made dominoes out of the same Ipe boards.
Making the dominoes was fun. Cut strips from the boards with the small parallel guide on the TS55 and planed them to shape by hand. I had not expected it to be so easy.
Now I'm already into preparing some domino sticks in 5mm for later use.
I chose to go for the mid-width fit. Just fit the source material best...

I hope everything keeps together. [emoji56]

I will finish the layout during this week. Since I have to travel a couple of days it will give me some time to research the finishes you suggested and see what I can get here in Germany.

For the annual refresh, how do you handle this?
Just re-applying or do you need to do the whole shebang including sanding etc...?

I hope to find something that will just be a "wipe on"-once-per-year solution. This should be easily doable with the mailbox...




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Offline Tracky

  • Posts: 18
Re: European mailbox out of Ipe - Woodworkout!
« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2017, 03:05 PM »
Great looking Dominoes!

For the annual refresh, how do you handle this?
Just re-applying or do you need to do the whole shebang including sanding etc...?

We found that sanding is not required, if you stay on top of things. I usually just wash the deck with a power washer, let it dry and then 'mop' it with a staining pad on a long handle. Takes about 2 hours for an 800 sq.ft deck. One day I may just give up and let it silver, but for now we really like the oiled look.

Offline grobkuschelig

  • Posts: 143
Re: European mailbox out of Ipe - Woodworkout!
« Reply #9 on: March 27, 2017, 09:44 AM »
Thanks for the input!

So I finally got to around to do some more work.
Boards are in the process of being cut and prepared for assembly. Only the front and some alignments are missing.

I will most likely just route the mail slot and the openings for the paper/magazines.
I hope to be able to dry fit everything tonight and then sand it before glueing.

I plan to leave the front a little wider/longer and just route with a flush trim bit afterwards. Hope that pans out! [emoji1317]


Offline jobsworth

  • Posts: 4440
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Re: European mailbox out of Ipe - Woodworkout!
« Reply #10 on: March 27, 2017, 04:08 PM »
That is a very good idea on how you re sawed the wood to thinner pieces. Im going to have to remember this, I know it wll come in handy..
Loving the Calif sun....

Offline grobkuschelig

  • Posts: 143
Re: European mailbox out of Ipe - Woodworkout!
« Reply #11 on: March 30, 2017, 06:30 AM »
@jobsworth : yes. I am quite proud of myself for that one. ;) worked a treat that small jig. And very easy to adjust.
Just be careful with the height on the "saw-guide" because the TS really dives deep!
The one showing above needed to be replaced. I'll check if I have another shot of the final version...

The project is slowly coming along. I mean sloooooowly. ;)
How come woodworking always takes more time than expected?! Maybe I'm just bad at planning. [emoji41]

I used my newly acquired MFS conglomerate to route the letter slot and hope to domino the last things today and get going with the front.
Hardware is already purchased..

Offline grobkuschelig

  • Posts: 143
Re: European mailbox out of Ipe - Woodworkout!
« Reply #12 on: May 11, 2017, 04:07 AM »
So. Long time no update...

I finally got around to finish the thing. Felt like it took ages to do, mostly because I was only able to dedicate the odd hour here and there to it.

I proceeded to glue everything up as described above. Worked a charm. Although I have to admit that I would choose a lighter wood that is easier to work with, the next time around.

In my experience, you definitely should have the right tools (Bandsaw, Planer etc) if you opt to work with something as hard. On softer woods I find it quite easy to get by with my limited tooling...

I inlayed a couple of U-profiles to top & bottom of the door to make it more stable.
The hinges are far from perfect, but they were around and I did not find anything better for now.
I will need to change those to a couple that allow alignment later on!

The top "flap/cover" bowed on me. Might have to make a new one out of the leftovers. I also hat to fix a couple of "breakouts" which most likely happened due to me being impatient and too fast on the machines (Domino & Router). When I took my time, everything seemed to go well. [emoji56]

I am quite happy how it turned out, given my abilities and not-up-for-the-task tooling.
The "customer" is also happy with the product. But since it's my Mom, can I trust on an unbiased opinion?! [emoji12]

Finished with one coat of Festool Surfix Outdoor Oil.
Second coating will be applied when I change the hinges...

Offline kevinculle

  • Posts: 141
Re: European mailbox out of Ipe - Woodworkout!
« Reply #13 on: May 11, 2017, 08:21 AM »
Very nice work...your mailbox appears to be under an overhang in the last pic, if so that should allow you to extend the time between oiling as UV is the enemy here and if it is in the shade during the high sun part of the day that will help preserve the finish.

Offline jobsworth

  • Posts: 4440
  • Burger Babe Says: I Even Buy Green Bananas
Re: European mailbox out of Ipe - Woodworkout!
« Reply #14 on: May 12, 2017, 03:31 PM »
 Great job, it came out looking great. I have to build a gate when I get back home. I'm going to look into IPE . It might make a sick gate
Loving the Calif sun....