This page provides information about Ipe and
other woods that are commonly used in outdoor furniture.
South American hardwoods are collectively the
superior woods available in the world today, and even among these
woods, Ipe stands out as exceptional. The physical
properties of Ipe surpass any other wood commercially available.
In addition to unsurpassed hardness and density, Ipe weathers
exceptionally well and has a beautiful feel and appearance. These
qualities make Ipe the ideal wood for use in outdoor furniture.
Ipe is already very popular in the outdoor
decking market, where it is the top choice for premium quality
decking. Many municipal boardwalks on the East Coast are constructed
of Ipe, and the famous Atlantic City boardwalk has used Ipe wood for
decades. This is because Ipe wood has significantly lower
maintenance and replacement costs over time compared to any
Ipe wood is remarkably heavy.
Our furniture pieces are much heavier than comparable pieces made
from Teak or any other wood. This quality alone would recommend Ipe
strongly. Yet Ipe wood offers much more than density and heaviness.
It is extremely durable, making it a good investment. It is very
resistant to pests, decay and wood rot. Unweathered Ipe is a
beautiful dark color, and if fully exposed to sun, it weathers to a
consistent and attractive gray patina. Just as thousands of Ipe wood
decks and boardwalks have proved, Ipe wood furniture will stand
strong for years under full weather and heavy use.
Perhaps best of all, our Ipe outdoor
furniture is reasonably priced. Advanced manufacturing
techniques have made it easier to work with this extremely hard
wood. This allows our Ipe wood outdoor furniture to be manufactured
in a cost effective way not previously possible. We are focused on
achieving the highest possible product quality rather than on
spending large amounts of money on advertising (and of course
passing those costs on to our customers). This allows us to keep our
prices low on this exciting wood garden furniture. We are confident
that in the next few years, Ipe wood will become prized as an
outdoor furniture material. ipefurniture.com is committed to
offering top quality Ipe wood garden furniture at low prices.
A Look at Other Outdoor Furniture
Teak is probably the most familiar wood used for outdoor
furniture. Teak has a long history of use in outdoor furniture,
starting when it made the transition from being a wood used for
sailing ships to being used in traditional English garden furniture.
This historical reputation was based primarily on Burmese, or old
growth, Teak. Today, most Teak wood comes from Indonesian
plantations and most Teak furniture is made in Indonesia, an Islamic
Southeast Asian country.
There are wide variations in the quality of
Teak outdoor furniture available on the market. The hardness and
density of Teak are average, as seen in charts on the
What is Ipe page. Good quality Teak does have physical
properties, in particular a high oil content, that make it a durable
and attractive wood for outdoor use. However, high quality Teak
furniture is very expensive. You get what you pay for with Teak
Shorea / Balau
Shorea, also known as Balau, is a Southeast
Asian wood that has appeared on the market as a cheaper alternative
to Teak for outdoor furniture. This is primarily because there is
currently a more abundant supply of Shorea than there is of Teak.
Shorea has physical properties of hardness and density that compare
well to Teak; its hardness is 1,480 - 1640 on the Janka scale and
density is 53 lbs. per cubic foot. However, Shorea is widely
considered to be an inexpensive substitute for Teak outdoor
furniture, lacking Teak's finer appearance and weathering
characteristics. Shorea is typically used in Southeast Asia for
plywood, structural framing, and other non-valuable applications. As
a general rule, inexpensive furniture is a combination of
inexpensive materials and an inexpensive manufacturing approach.
Regarding the durability of Shorea / Balau,
the U.S. Forest Service publication Tropical Timbers of the
World says, "Heartwood durability very variable and should be
classified as nondurable. Sapwood is very susceptible to attack by
This wood is the least desirable of the
Southeast Asian woods being used to make outdoor furniture. It is
typically the cheapest alternative available, and again, you get
what you pay for. It has a hardness of 840 - 1,195 on the Janka
scale, and a density of 38 - 45 lbs. per cubic foot. While these
measurements are similar to Teak, Nyatoh is a far inferior wood in
terms of appearance, feel, and weathering properties.
Regarding the durability of Nyatoh, the U.S.
Forest Service publication Tropical Timbers of the World
says, "Generally rated as nondurable and has low resistance to
termite attack. Sapwood liable to powder-post beetle attack."
Familiar and abundant in the U.S., Cedar is a
softwood that is widely used for fencing, shingles, and other
outdoor applications because it has natural oils that inhibit its
decay. In terms of physical properties, Cedar is inferior to premium
hardwoods, as seen on the hardness and density charts on the
What is Ipe page. Cedar is appropriate for outdoor
furniture made in a rustic hand-hewn style, providing a feel of
classic Americana that will weather well.