Ipe Wood Problems

An exotic hardwood from South America, ipe offers durability with natural pest and fire resistance.

Density

Despite its benefits, the wood does pose problems when utilizing it in construction.

Highly dense, the wood requires carbide blades and drill bits. It will quickly dull standard drill bits and chop-saw blades Exceptionally heavy, it weights approximately twice as much as southern yellow pine wood per board. Ipe wood does loose its dark coloration when used outside without a sealant. The wood takes on a silvery-gray coloration.

Splitting

Ipe wood contains a high moisture content which makes it split easily once cut. The cut ends of ipe wood decking often begins to suffer severe splitting less than an hour after cutting. The cut ends of the wood require immediate sealing to prevent the splitting.

Considerations

The sustainability of ipe wood is in serious question as large scale logging and deforestation of the rain forest occurs. Prior to purchasing the wood the buyer should verify its origin. Ipe wood dust often causes skin and breathing allergies in sensitive individuals. All skin should be covered when working with the wood and a dust mask worn.

About the Author

Based in Oregon, Kimberly Sharpe has been a writer since 2006. She writes for numerous online publications. Her writing has a strong focus on home improvement, gardening, parenting, pets and travel. She has traveled extensively to such places as India and Sri Lanka to widen and enhance her writing and knowledge base.