Family Name-Tabebuia of family Bignoniaceae
Common Names-Ipe ( Brazil), Amapa, cortex, Guayacan, Flor Amarillo, Greenheart, Madera negra, Tahuari, Lapacho negro. It has a number of trade names: Ironwood™, Pau Lope™ & Brazilian Walnut... these are commercial names given to Ipe lumber by large Brazilian exporters Note: some of these trade name woods, include not only Ipe, but also a number of other similar species like cumaru (Dipterix odorata) and jarrah (Eucalyptus marginata)
Distribution-Throughout continental tropical America, in a wide variety of sites, in marshes and riverbanks as well as ridge tops. The Trees may grow to 140 feet in height with trunk diameter of up to 6'. It is one of the tallest trees of the Amazon region.
Wood-Ipe Heartwood, is olive to reddish brown to blackish, often with lighter or darker striping and can be covered with a yellow lapachol powder. Ipe looks somewhat similar to teak wood. The wood comes in good long lengths with limited warp. Sapwood is much lighter white or yellow. No distinctive odor or taste. It contains no harmful chemicals so can be used near water without potential contamination.
Weight-Specific gravity of .85 to .97.air dry density 66-75 pcf
Drying-Reported to air dry rapidly, and can show some checking especially with thick timber like 4x4,particularly, if dried quickly in full sun. This can cause warping, especially powerful in large timber like 2x12, that can actually pull fixing screws out of pressure treated stringers... thus recommended to use 2 pieces of 2x6 instead. There are recommendations to use anchorseal for sealing end cuts to limit end checking associated with drying.
Working Properties-Somewhat difficult to work with, especially with hand tools. Can have quite a blunting effect on cutting edges. Recommended that you use a reduced cutting angle, keep edges sharp, and always predrill for nails or screws. It does not bend well, but finishes and sands quite smoothly.
Toxicity-Can have a fine yellow dust on the surface that may cause dermatitis in some individuals that have skin sensitivities and/or cause allergic reactions in those who breathe it in. so wearing a dust mask is recommended, but it contains no toxic chemicals, so it can be used near water, with no potential contamination.
Durability-Heartwood is very resistant to attack by decay fungi and termites, but not resistant to marine borers, it has the durability and strength of teak, for a lot less money. The U.S. Department of Agriculture and Forestry rates Ipe as "Very resistant to attack by decay, fungi and termites."
Fire Rating-A Class A fire rating, the same rating given to concrete & steel.
Preservatives: The wood is very dense, and as such is extremely resistant to preservation treatments, although I have had, a number of finish recommendations for colour retention. Left to nature the UV sunrays and traditional weathering will change the Ipe to a nice consistent light grey. Finishes applied on an annual basis can be used to hold Ipe's original colour. If it has been allowed to grey, Ipe can be power washed back to its original appearance.
General Notes-A newer wood substrate for Dynamic, Ipe is a very dense, very heavy hardwood used generally for exterior millwork. It is very hard on tooling. Sometimes referred to as “Ironwood”, this is a misnomer as there are over 70 varieties of wood categorized as such.