What is Ipe Wood?

Ipe wood is known by many names: Brazilian Walnut, Ipe Brazil, Amapa, cortex, Guayacan, Flor Amarillo, Greenheart, Madera negra, Tahuari, Lapacho negro. It has a number of trade names: Ironwood™, Pau Lope™ & Brazilian Walnut… these are commercial names given to Ipe lumber by large Brazilian exporters.

Ipe Heartwood, is typically reddish brown, sometimes with a greenish tinge, often with lighter or darker striping. It can be covered with a yellow lapachol powder. Ipe looks a bit similar to a teak wood. Ipe wood comes in good long lengths with limited warp. Sapwood is much lighter white or yellow usually removed at the mill, although small strips along the edge can be present. Ipe hardwood has no distinctive odor or taste.

Ipe Railing & Stair Parts

Ipe wood products contain no added harmful chemicals so Ipe stair parts can be used near water without potential contamination, although its dust can cause a number of respiratory and contact dermatitis allergic reactions in humans, if not careful. Nonetheless, we offer Ipe as one of our wood types for railing, handrails for stairs, Ipe or Brazilian Walnut wood stair treads, steps and more.

Additional info about Ipe Wood

Working Properties: Ipe lumber can be somewhat difficult to work with, especially with hand tools. Can have quite a blunting effect on cutting edges. Recommended that you use a reduced cutting angle, keep edges sharp, and always predrill for nails or screws. Have numerous extra drill bits handy. Ipe planks do not bend well, but the wood finishes and sands quite smoothly, with no splintering.

Weight: specific gravity of .85 to .97 .. air dry density 66-75 pcf

Drying: Ipe planks are reported to air dry rapidly, and can show some checking especially with thick timber like 4×4, particularly, if dried quickly in full sun. This can cause warping, especially powerful in large timber like 2×12, that can actually pull fixing screws out of pressure treated stringers… thus recommended to use 2 pieces of 2×6 instead. I have seen recommendations to use anchorseal for sealing ipe end cuts to limit end checking associated with drying.

NOTE: Once you receive your IPE stair parts please seal the ends ASAP, as the density and oil content of the wood makes it very susceptible to cracks.