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It's exciting to work with new kinds of woods. It seems we are always looking for the “ultimate” wood. One that is stable, easy to work with, long lasting, and something that is versatile and that looks great without having to be a professional “finisher”. Well ... we may have found one of those woods, AND the company that provides it ... and much more.
First of all lets talk about the wood. Ipe is actually a South American hardwood and is sometimes called Madera, Brazilian Walnut and Greenheart. Ipe is hard and dense wood which means your projects will be able to handle more wear and tear and be more resilient. The wood it'self is virtually free of knots and tends to maintain it's straight grain without too much wood movement.
Ipe is also extremely weather resistant which makes it ideal for out door projects like decking, furniture, gazebos and pergolas. Outside, Ipe stands up very well to ultraviolet light, resists rot and insects, and provides durable long lasting structures. Ipe is often slightly reddish brown in color and provides a most pleasing, rich color, which is one of it's most desirable aspects. It's truly an attractive, eye catching wood.
The company that provides Ipe lumber, Everlasting Hardwoods, has been in business for over 40 years and are knowledgeable, friendly and helpful. They can be reached toll free at 1-800-999-7616 or at www.everlastinghardwoods.com
Working with Ipe requires the same techniques as with many other dense hardwoods. Tools need to be sharp in order maintain good clean, nicely finished edges. As with ALL woods avoid dust exposure when cutting and ensure you good eye protection. All screws used for fastening parts should be pre-drilled to prevent wood cracking, and for out door use stainless steel is recommended. As with all projects for outdoor use, your joints should be snug to help minimize wood movement between the huge swings in temperature and humidity. In terms of finishing, there are a number of options, or you can simply leave the wood natural, which, if left out of doors, will allow the wood to gradually turn a very pleasing grey tone over time, and which can be later lightly sanded to restore the original wood color.
But ... there is even more ...