Ipe wood is a popular choice for outdoor decking and other woodworking projects due to its durability, beauty, and resistance to decay. However, there are some things about Ipe wood that manufacturers and retailers may not want you to know. In this article, we will reveal 10 of these things so that you can make an informed decision when purchasing Ipe wood.
1. Ipe wood is sometimes not sustainably harvested: Ipe wood in the past has been illegally harvested from the Amazon rainforest, which is one of the most threatened ecosystems in the world. Unsustainable harvesting practices can lead to soil degradation, habitat loss, and deforestation. This has been addressed recently by listing the species on CITES which requires additional documentation and oversight in its production.
2. Ipe wood is difficult to work with: Ipe wood is hard, dense, and brittle, which makes it challenging to work with. It requires special tools and techniques, and even then, it can be prone to splitting and cracking.
3. Ipe wood is expensive: Due to its high demand, Ipe wood is often priced significantly higher than other types of wood. This can make it an unaffordable option for some consumers. It is also the best wood in the world, so longevity and durability can make up for the cost.
4. Ipe wood can be dangerous to handle: If you don’t use the right respirators the dust created by sanding Ipe wood can cause respiratory problems and eye irritation. In addition, the sawdust can cause skin irritation and even allergic reactions in some people.
5. Ipe wood is not always eco-friendly: Many manufacturers and retailers claim that their Ipe wood products are environmentally friendly, but this is not always the case. This is why you should only deal with reputable manufacturers.
6. Ipe wood can require maintenance: Despite its durability, Ipe wood requires regular maintenance to keep it looking dark, otherwise, it will turn grey. This includes cleaning, oiling, and sanding to remove any signs of wear and tear.
7. Ipe wood can be difficult to match: If you are trying to match Ipe wood with other materials, such as paint or stain, you may find that it is difficult to find a color that complements the wood. This is because Ipe wood can vary in color from one piece to another. This is also something that many people love about it, and it gives the wood an exotic look.
8. Ipe wood can crack or warp: Despite its strength, Ipe wood can still crack or warp over time due to exposure to the elements. This can affect the appearance and stability of your deck or another project. This is why we recommend going with thicker boards if you are looking for the longest life from your project.
9. Ipe wood is not a renewable resource: Unlike other types of wood, Ipe wood is not a renewable resource. Once a tree is harvested, it will not regrow, and it can take years for a new tree to reach maturity. This is addressed in sustainable and legally harvested forests. But again, be careful who you buy from.
10. Ipe wood is not naturally fireproof: Ipe wood is often marketed as being highly fireproof, but this is not entirely true. While it is more fire-resistant than most other types of wood, it is not completely fireproof and can still ignite if exposed to an open flame or high heat for an extended period of time.
In conclusion, Ipe wood is a beautiful and durable option for outdoor woodworking projects, but it is important to be aware of its drawbacks. Some pros can be cons and some cons can be pros. Before making a purchase, consider the sustainability, cost, and maintenance requirements of Ipe wood and weigh them against the benefits. Then again it still is the best option for most outdoor projects, nothing is without its drawbacks.