Does anyone have any suggestions for through mortising a 24"x24" ipe squared log? The mortises are 8"x14" by 24" deep. They need to be relatively neat and line up perfectly through and it is very hard wood.
(Solid Wood Machining Forum)
From contributor J:
Why do you want to do this? It's hard to imagine that a two-foot deep mortise would be any better, structurally, than one half as deep. Timber framers use a chainsaw-based mortising tool, but I don't think they'll do that sort of depth.
I have an electric chain saw mortiser and while it does cedar just fine, I would think it would only smoke on ipe. What research I have done on the big Japanese work suggests large chisels and lots of time. They mostly use softwoods - fir being one of the favorites.
You could clean up the mortise with a power plane that can cut right up to the edge. The power plane I have would fit right in those mortises.
High speed steel can work ipe, but it dulls tools very fast. If you are using a chain saw, you'll need to touch up the teeth every couple of minutes with a file.The same goes with a forstner bit.
When working with ipe, don't let your cutting tool overheat. You'll lose the temper in the steel and goodbye tool. Watch the cutting action carefully. When the going gets rough, stop and sharpen your cutting edge(s).
Contrary to expectations, ipe actually works well with hand tools. It is slow, and, like the edges of power tools, needs frequent sharpening. However, there should be no trouble finishing off the edges of either mortise or tenon with a sharp chisel. Ipe requires patience.
One last word: ipe is toxic. Protect yourself with mask, gloves, and long sleeve shirt. If you doubt this, do a WOODWEB search on ipe.