Ipe / Ipe Decking (Handroanthus)

Formerly placed in the Tabebula genus; A wood of extremes; extremely dense and durable, as well as extremely difficult to work. Its incredible hardness and strength make it well suited for flooring applications. Though it is referred to as “Brazilian Walnut” it is not related to true Walnut in the Juglans genus.

Family: Bignoniaceae

Other Common Names: Amapa (Mexico), Cortez (Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica). Guayacan (Panama), GuayacanPolvillo (Colombia), Flor Amarillo (Venezuela), Greenhart (Surinam), Madera negra (Ecuador), Tahuari (Peru), Ipe / Ipe Decking (Brazil), Lapacho negro (Paraguay, Argentina).

Uses: Railroad crossties, heavy construction, tool handles, turnery, industrial flooring, textile mill items, decking, exterior lumber, decorative veneers. And other turned objects.

Thicknesses: Available in 4/4 and 5/4

Description: S4S, E4E

Distribution: Throughout continental tropical America and some of the Lesser Antilles. The tree grows on a variety of sites, from ridge tops to riverbanks and marsh forests.

The Tree: Sometimes 140 to 150 feet in height with trunk diameters of 6 feet. Frequently to heights of 100 feet and diameters of 2 to 3 feet. Boles are clear to 60 feet and more, with or without buttresses.

The Wood

Weight: Basic specific gravity (oven dry weight/green volume) 0.85 to 0.97; air-dry density 66 to 75 pcf.

Mechanical Properties: (First and third sets of data based on the 2-in, standard, the second on the 1-in. standard.) Janka side hardness 3,060 lb for green material and 3,680 lb at 12% moisture content. Forest Products Laboratory toughness average for green and dry material is 404 in. –lb (5/8-in. specimen).

Drying and Shrinkage: Generally reported to air-dry rapidly with only slight checking and warping. Kiln schedule T3-C1 is suggested for 4/4 stock. Shrinkage green to oven dry: radial 6.6%; tangential 8.0%; volumetric 13.2%. Movement after manufacture is rated as small.

Durability: Heartwood is very resistant to attack by decay fungi and termites; not resistant to marine borers. However, is reported to have good resistance in Panama waters.

Preservation: The wood is reported to be extremely resistant to preservation treatments.

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