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What Is Ipe?

Ipe (pronounced “ee-pay”) is a large tropical hardwood tree that grows abundantly throughout Central and South America. Ipe wood is prized for its durability, strength, and its natural resistance to decay, wet conditions, and insect infestation. Ipe’s remarkable properties have already made it the top choice for commercial and residential decking. It is the wood used on the famous Atlantic City boardwalk!

Given its well-established reputation as a premium decking material, Ipe wood is an obvious choice for outdoor furniture. In addition to its strength, it has a beautiful dark color and a tight grain that gives it a very consistent coloring.

You may be wondering why Ipe is not more widely used for outdoor furniture. The answer is simple – the wood is so hard that it can be difficult to machine into a finished product. At New Hemisphere, we have solved this problem with advanced manufacturing techniques and we are proud to offer you our exceptional Ipe wood outdoor furniture priced for a great value.

Physical Properties of Ipe

Hardness: The physical hardness of Ipe is remarkable. The graph below shows the relative hardness of Ipe along with several popular woods. The ratings are from the Janka test, commonly used to measure wood hardness. It is the number of pounds per square inch required to drive a small steel ball half its diameter into the surface of the wood. Ipe wood is more than 368% harder then Teak wood!

Density: The first thing you will notice about our Ipe wood furniture is how heavy it is. In fact, Ipe is the heaviest wood that is available for commercial usage. As you can see below, Ipe is super-dense, as measured by the weight of the wood in pounds per cubic foot. Ipe wood is 40% heavier than Teak wood!

Sources for Wood Measurements – Wood Handbook: Wood as an Engineering Material, US Forest Service; Tropical Timbers of the World, US Forest Service.

Environmental Considerations
Ipe is a commercially valuable tree that grows throughout South America in many types of habitats. Ipe is not an endangered species. Some of our current stock of Ipe wood furniture has a Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification, which is by far the most respected forestry practices certification in the world. New Hemisphere is currently assessing the supply of FSC certified Ipe wood and we will strive to offer as much FSC certified product to our customers as possible. New Hemisphere encourages sustainable forestry practices, which offer the best remedy to exploitative deforestation.

Additional Ipe Information
These days, there are many claims made about different woods used for outdoor furniture. We encourage you to research Ipe for yourself. Searching the web for “Ipe wood” yields plenty of information, especially about Ipe decking, and you can see for yourself how highly this wood is praised.

Ipe (or Ipé) is also known as Ironwood, Brazilian Walnut, Pau Lope or Lapacho. Ipe generally refers to all species of the Tabebuia genus.