Outdoor furniture made from ipe and jatoba.
SHOP OWNER: Steve Hahn
LOCATION: Atlanta, GA
There has been some interest in ipe recently, so I thought I'd send along these pictures of some of the work I've done with it. This Adirondack chair set is built with ipe and jatoba (Brazilian cherry). I think the jatoba grain is a little more interesting than the ipe, and the contrast is nice but not overpowering.
The slats are actually flooring rejects, so the price was right. They are bevel-cut to maximize the face width when removing the tongue and groove from the flooring. This had two unintentional side benefits: the smaller width on the back of the slat makes it seat better on a curved surface, and I like it aesthetically. The slats are secured with counter-bored and plugged screws with a dab of polyurethane construction adhesive. The plugs are contrasting (ipe in jatoba, jatoba in ipe).
The back support is connected to the arms with loose tenons as I was looking for a more refined look than a bolted-on back support provides. To add further refinement, I used a bent lamination for the top back rail. Finding glue that would hold adequately for this was a challenge. Even epoxy had trouble but urea resin worked acceptably. In the future I plan on trying resorcinol, or cutting curved pieces out of solid stock just to be sure.
The finish is a penetrating oil stain followed by thinned, wiped on spar varnish. Of course the nice thing about ipe is that you can just let it go gray if you like the rustic look. Pictured right, is an older chair, which has been left untreated for the past five years.
I like working with ipe and I even like the smell. I find it planes well, but I buy it surfaced and I just cleaned it up with a light pass. I don't think a square chisel mortiser would be effective, but a slot mortiser works very nicely. These chairs are very heavy so you wouldn't want to move them around much, but you can leave them out during hurricane season! The little table in particular has quite a bit of wood in it and weighs about 30-40 pounds. I would really appreciate any and all feedback on how I can improve the design and construction of these chairs.. . . Steve Hahn
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