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I was just reading about this wood called Ipe that is three times stronger than oak. Supposedly it it hardly warps at all. I began to think about its possibilities in a guitar. I would probably be too heavy to make a solid neck out of it. Has anyone ever experimented with an ipe neck, or ipe neck laminates? Just curious :D

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Ipe is a very heavy....very oily....dark wood. It sometimes has an interesting curly figure present. If you build outdoor furniture or decking, this stuff is bulletproof!.......Being so oily, you may have to wipe it down with acetone or naptha before you glue.

....BTW,,,,I have a source for some curly Ipe....if you are interested, I'll pass along the info.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I just bought several board feet of it last week. (Since I live within twenty miles of High Point NC, the "Furniture Capital of the World" I'm able to score all sorts of odd stuff.)

The stuff is HEAVY AS HELL!!!!!! :D I have a chunk of it sitting here trying to figure out what to do with it. . . a piece 1X6X22 (inches) weighs as much as the body of my son's squire bullet that I just took the neck off, complete with bridge and pickup!

It is so damn dense I'm afraid to even start working it. The guy at The Hardwood Store warned me that it's hell on tools. (I picked up a half dozen cutoffs just to play with.)

I thought about doing a thin SG style body with it, but even that would weigh a ton. It's a pretty Walnut colored wood but I have the feeling it's going to be more trouble than it's worth.

Anyway if you're interested the Hardwood store has a bunch of shorts (cutoffs) like the one I described above for about $2 each. (Or they did last Wednesday.) The shipping would probably cost you more than the wood. . .

And BTW, I'd LOVE to get details on the curly stuff! It would be outrageously gorgeous!

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Hi Moojiefulagin :D :

The past year i bought a nice piece of "IPÉ" (called here in Chile like "TAJIBO"). This wood come from Bolivia. Is a very very very hard ans strong wood (1,100 Kg/m³) :D , and i observed that this wood is very cold and it has the consistency of the steel. Yeah! Je Je. According to a luthier´s friend, this woods is very hard to work, is possible but not easy, literally one eats the tools. Is special for necks and fretboard. The picture is "Ipé" Neck and fretboard.


For more info see this links of D´ALEGRIA BASS GUITARS from BRAZIL: http://www.geocities.com/rwerneck/dalegria/engl/woods.html

Regards from Chile. Bye Bye B)

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Since I figured out how to post pictures I'm going to do a show and tell with the Ipe shorts I bought last week. Here are three of them next to a piece of American Walnut, a chunk of mahogany, some curly maple and a strip of zebrano.


The stuff is so dense I bet it would sustain like hell, but like I said, I'm afraid of breaking my tools. . .!

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Well yes, but...

You can have a fair amount of highs and still have either a tone-dead or a tone-ful guitar.

What you're saying about woods is like, Poplar is like not using any salt in the stew, Maple is like using too damned much salt in the stew.

The 'flavor' of the stew is not dependant on the amount of salt alone.

I like using Birdseye Maple (VERY hard, dense, and bright) as a capper over some Perota or Poplar or Basswood, stuff like that.

So that wood could be used, but I would use it as a capper maybe, not one huge freaking chunk of it making up the core of the body...too much, I think the tone will suffer tremendously and it will be too heavy to be a viable instrument on a level with store-bought instruments.

Long story short, I think it would completely suck tonally. It would never be an option for me to use that wood as a corewood. I've built a guitar that was a little overtly heavy, and I only had to do it once to learn my lesson. :DB)

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I agree it would make a great top or fingerboard, but the stuff is just so tough. I tried to dig into a piece with a chisel just to see what would happen. The Ipe won. . .

Seriously, It would take a lot of patience, sharp blades and durable tools to work this stuff. If anyone manages to do it, I'd like to know how it went. Also it's so oily I'd be concerned about glue joints holding. What do you guys know about that?

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I've never worked with Purpleheart, but this stuff is harder than walnut, curly maple, oak or zebra wood. A few minutes ago I went at a piece with one of my sharpest handsaws. Instead of producing sawdust I got tiny chips. The consistency is almost like stone or something.

Still, I'm really intrigued by the possibility of using it for fingerboard material for my first few builds and saving the piece of rosewood I snagged years ago.

So my question for you experienced builders is this: how do you think using such a dense wood on a fingerboard would affect tone? I'm afraid it would make it way too bright.

Maybe I should just build a deck. Avery small one. . .

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