I'm guessing it's Ipe

  • Advertise with us

« back to Wood & Lumber forum

Forum topic by Mainiac Matt posted 01-20-2012 08:45 PM 1446 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

8548 posts in 2526 days

01-20-2012 08:45 PM

A couple years back, a good friend of mine who moonlights painting houses asked me if I wanted a pile of “mahogeny” for free, as the family who’s house he was painting had built a deck the previous year and had a pile of ~4’ cutoffs left over.

Well, I may not be the sharpest tool in the shed, but I knew the right answer to that question…... YES!

What I received was ~50 sticks of 4/4×4 x ~44” (someone didn’t plan this job very well).

The lumber is dense and straight grained, with a milk chocolate base color and gray weathered surface. All four edges have a ~1/8 radius on them. No wainy edges or other “defects” at all and though it’s been piled up on a trailer under cover in my back yard for several years now, every single stick is straight as an arrow.

Do you guys think I am correct in assumiing that this is most likely Ipe?

I’m hunting and gathering materials to make TNYWS blanket chest and considered using this, but after reading up on Ipe, I think it would be better suited for Adarondack chairs. Would you guys agree with that decision?

-- I yam what I yam and that's all what I yam

10 replies so far

View Brandon's profile


4152 posts in 3149 days

#1 posted 01-20-2012 08:50 PM

Can you post a photo a piece that has been planed?

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3272 days

#2 posted 01-20-2012 09:00 PM

I’ve worked a lot with ipé. I have a 400 square foot deck of ipé and I have built all of our outdoor furniture out of it. It is great stuff and it will last forever.

What you describe sounds exactly like ipé, including the fact that it looks a little like mahogany. I like to think of it as teak at half the price.

Advice – This wood is very hard on drill bits. It seems to be not so hard on saw blades or router bits. I put down my deck with marine glue on the underside and a finishing nail gun. My nail gun would pierce the ipé if the air pressure was above 90 p.s.i..

You have the option of treating or not treating ipé. If you don’t treat it, it will turn grey, but it will still last forever. If you treat it every couple of years it will retain its brown color.

It expands and contracts very little. However, I had one 12’ board, out of about 100, that shortened about a quarter of an inch. I think that was a fluke. All ipé boards are heavy, but some will be noticeably heavier than others. My theory is that the board that shrank was an extra heavy board because it had higher moisture content.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View Jeremiah's profile


82 posts in 2521 days

#3 posted 01-23-2012 04:37 PM

fill your bath tub with water, drop it in. If it sinks, its Ipe :) There is a reason they call it iron wood.

I love the stuff. i made parts of my daughter’s bed out of it. VERY strong and stable. I’ve made Adirondacks chairs, boxes, tool handles and even furniture out of it.

Caution: some people are sensitive to its dust. as a precaution wear a respirator when cutting it. And plan on burning up bits and blades on it. stuff is hard!.

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

8548 posts in 2526 days

#4 posted 01-24-2012 08:53 PM

Finally dug a stick out of the barn to snap a pic….

the first shows a weathered surface

and flipping the board over reveals a non-exposed surface.

The stylus is pointing to a mark (which may not show up well) that I was able to make with my thumb nail.

The wood doesn’t feel super heavy…. I’ll have to cut off a scrap and do the float test.

Any thoughts?

-- I yam what I yam and that's all what I yam

View Jeremiah's profile


82 posts in 2521 days

#5 posted 01-24-2012 09:01 PM

There is the answer…
Unless you happen to be Superman and you are foolishly revealing your secret identity, there is NO WAY on God’s green Earth you could dent Ipe with your fingernail.

So the next best guess would be mahogany. Like all woods there are many different species and the color and grain can vary. If it doesn’t feel too heavy, and it has less surface strength than oak, It probably is a spices of mahogany.

Just a guess on my part.

View TCCcabinetmaker's profile


932 posts in 2552 days

#6 posted 01-24-2012 09:06 PM

IF it doesn’t feel heavy, then it is most likely not Ipe.

-- The mark of a good carpenter is not how few mistakes he makes, but rather how well he fixes them.

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

8548 posts in 2526 days

#7 posted 01-25-2012 04:50 AM

I cut off a stub and it floats like a cork…

Cut on the chop saw with no problem…

Chucked a 1/2” spade bit in my 12 volt cordless and drilled a hole with no significant effort…. No burning or signs of dulling the cheap bit.

If this was used as decking, perhaps it’s Teak??

I’m ready to drop the Ipe theory…..

I’m looking to make TNYWS blanket chest and am beginning to think this might be a good candidate.

Any suggestions for a species for the panels that would complement it?

-- I yam what I yam and that's all what I yam

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

8548 posts in 2526 days

#8 posted 01-25-2012 05:43 PM

getting closer to a conclusion…

here’s a photo of a sanded stub

Specific gravity is rougly .52

three votes for mahogeny from guys with milwork backgrounds at work.

unfortunately….. the boards are all 3.5”, which may limit it’s practical use…

but it’s a nice stash, none the less.

-- I yam what I yam and that's all what I yam

View Burl_Eric's profile


6 posts in 2509 days

#9 posted 01-27-2012 02:41 AM

Free is good.

Send an email to

Paul can most likely be able to ID it for you. You will need better photos and end grain photos.

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 4091 days

#10 posted 01-27-2012 03:51 AM

Ipe doesnt float………put a chunk in your tub

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics