1 . Ipe Is Too Hard
Ipe is, undoubtedly, one of the hardest woods in the world. There are harder species of wood, but not many. A Janka Hardness scale is used to measure and compare materials based on their hardness. Most reliable sources place Ipe in the top 10 of hardest woods. Of the top 10, Ipe is one of only three or four that are commercially available.
To put Ipe’s hardness in perspective, Ipe earns a Janka Rating of about 3,684. Compare that to White Oak, a domestic hardwood known for its hardness, at about 1200. Hardness is important to a materials longevity and durability. The benefits of being one of the hardest woods in the world are numerous. A high hardness rating lends to incredible longevity, durability and resistance to insects, fire, moisture penetration, mold and rot.
But, wait! Doesn’t Ipe’s hardness negatively affect its workability? Won’t I need special blades to cut it? Isn’t it too strong to straighten curves in the boards? The short answer; no, no, and no. But there are some tips that can make working with Ipe much easier,
- Special blades are not required to cut through Ipe. Standard chop saw blades work just fine on Ipe. However, it is highly recommended to use blades with carbide tips. In our experience, the number of teeth or the configuration of teeth, do not matter. Of course, using a jig saw or Sawzall will require a bit more effort, but these tools aren’t often used on decking projects. Contractors that use Ipe regularly know that sawing through harder wood simply takes longer.