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What is Ipe Wood?


all modern ipe

The Luma outdoor bench in ipe from All Modern.

Photo courtesy of PriceGrabber

Definition: Ipe is a hardwood from Brazilian rainforests that has garnered lots of attention in the past decade or so. Why? For one thing, it's as hard -- or harder -- than nails. Ipe is so dense that it often needs to be pre-drilled before pieces are connected. Some compare its strength to that of steel.

Other attributes of ipe wood include:

  • Durability: Ipe can last more than 25 years outdoors.
  • Eco-friendly; 100% natural wood.
  • Mold, fire, weather and pest -resistant.
  • Resists surface scratches.
The term ipe lumber or ipe wood is often clustered with other tropical hardwoods that share similar characteristics, especially for outdoor furniture. These woods include teak and shorea.


Pronunciation: Eee-pay

Also Known As: Brazilian walnut, Brazilian hardwood, ironwood, Amapa, cortex, Guayacan, Flor Amarillo, Greenheart, Madera negra, Tahuari, Lapacho negro, Poui, Bethabarra, Tajibo, Mataverde, Tabebuia, cumaru (Dipterix odorata) and jarrah (Eucalyptus marginata). In France, it is known as bois ipe.

Alternate Spellings: Ipê, Ipe, ipe

Common Misspellings: ipay, ipey

Examples: Amy chose ipe over teak for her new outdoor furniture because it was less expensive and is equally if not more durable.

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