ipe wood decking

The Complete Guide to Ipe Wood

There are many different types of wood you can use for your home projects. Some people decide to use cedar because it is a very strong and durable type of wood. Others may choose to use oak because it has a beautiful grain and color that will add beauty to your project. But one type of wood that doesn’t get talked about as much, but should be considered when building any outdoor structure, is Ipe Wood.

Ipe wood or Brazilian Walnut is an amazing wood that has various benefits. It’s very durable, available in many different types of grades, and can last for decades with proper care. We are going to cover the most important points about this type of wood so you will understand what makes it so special and why you should choose it for your decking project or any other outdoor project.

Where is Ipe Wood From?

Ipe wood is found in South America especially in the Amazonian rainforest that has very hot temperatures, high humidity, and plenty of rainfall. Strong winds are also common in this area, which makes for the perfect environment to grow these types of trees.

The bark on ipe trees can be thick and they can easily adapt to any climate because they often absorb moisture from various rainstorms that occur throughout the year.

It is sometimes called Brazilian Walnut because it shares a lot of similarities with American walnut trees.

Ipe Wood Appearance

Ipe wood is a beautiful type of Brazilian hardwood that ranges from light brown to a very dark color. It has an intense grain pattern, but the deeper grains are not always visible when it’s finished and sanded. In general, this wood is very strong and dense with a medium coarse texture.

Ipe Wood Strength

The appearance of ipe wood can greatly vary depending on the grade or level you are looking at for your project.

Ipe wood has a Janka rating of about 3510 lbs. It is considered one of the hardwoods in the world.

There are also different levels of hardness that range from semi-hard to hard, which makes it important for you to do your research before you start a project. The more knowledge you have about the exact type of ipe wood you want, the easier it will be for you to find what you are looking for in your search.

Common Ipe Wood Uses

Ipe wood is often used for outdoor projects because it’s so durable and weather resistant. Decking, fencing, gazebos, and pergolas are all popular uses for this type of wood. It doesn’t require a lot of maintenance but does need to be sealed every few years in order to keep its color and protect it for the future.

You might also use Ipe wood to make interior home decors such as furniture, cabinetry, floors, and even decorative molding. Installing ipe wood throughout your home can be a great way to add value to your property by increasing the beauty of every room.

There are many different grades of Ipe wood, so it’s important to know what you are looking for before you make a purchase. The harder grades of wood will be more expensive, but they will also last much longer with proper care.

However, the most common use for ipe wood is decking, furniture, fencing, and siding.

ipe wood decking large

Ipe Wood Decking

Ipe wood is very popular around the world for decking because it’s a strong and attractive type of hardwood lumber. It is one of the densest hardwood decking materials. Due to its high density, Ipe decking is very durable and stands for a long time without warping, rotting, or needing replacement.

One of the biggest benefits of ipe wood for decking is that it’s available in many different grades and levels of hardness, so you will be able to make a smart choice when you are looking to complete your ipe deck projects. As long as you choose the appropriate level of toughness for your area, the ipe lumber can make an outdoor patio that won’t require much maintenance in the future.

The natural color of ipe wood is a beautiful dark brown, but it can also be stained or sealed to match any type of exterior décor. You will need to apply a sealant every few years to your ipe decking in order to protect it from weathering, but this will help keep its color and beauty for many years to come.

Ipe Wood Furniture

Ipe wood is often used to make quality furniture because it’s strong and has a beautiful grain pattern. There are many different types of ipe wood furniture available, but the more expensive pieces will typically be made with harder grades of lumber that can last for decades without warping or wearing down.

This type of hardwood is perfect for indoor and outdoor use, so you can get great pieces of furniture that will last for years to come. Furniture made with Ipe wood is often very heavy and requires two people to move it, but the benefits are well worth the extra effort.

You can find many different types of tables, chairs, couches, beds, and cabinets made with this type of lumber, so be sure to take your time and look for the perfect piece of furniture for your home. Ipe wood furniture is also a great investment that will add value to your property when it’s time to sell.

Ipe Wood Fencing

Ipe wood fencing is a great way to add privacy and security to your property while also increasing its value. This type of lumber is very strong and durable, so it can withstand the weather and keep its appearance for many years. It’s also a lovely material that looks great with any style of outside décor.

When you are choosing a type of fencing for your home, be sure to consider ipe wood. This lumber can be ordered in different grades and thicknesses to make sure that it’s the perfect fit for your needs. You will also need to decide on the height of your fence, but most types of ipe wood fencing come in 5 foot, 6 foot, and 8-foot height options.

Ipe Wood Siding

Ipe wood can also be used as siding for exterior walls to add a touch of elegance and style. This type of lumber is stronger than many other types of siding, so it will stand up well against the weather and other elements that might cause deterioration over time.

It’s also very easy to maintain. You can clean it with soap and water or a commercial cleaner, and you will only need to repaint it every few years depending on where you live. When you are looking for a way to add charm and personality to your exterior walls, this lumber is the perfect option.

How to Clean Ipe Wood

The best way to clean ipe wood is by using a mild detergent and a soft brush. Be sure to rinse the wood thoroughly after cleaning to remove any residue. You can also use a pressure washer if you have one, but be careful not to damage the wood with high-pressure water.

Cleaning your ipe wood deck is a quick and easy process that will help it look its best for years to come. You can use soap and water or a commercial cleaner to get the job done, but be sure to follow these simple steps:

1. Start by sweeping or hosing off any dirt or debris that is on the surface of the wood.

2. Mix a small amount of soap into a bucket of water and use a soft brush to scrub the decking boards.

3. Rinse the deck with clean water and let it air dry.

4. Apply a sealant every few years to protect the wood from weathering.

Follow these simple steps and your deck will look like new for many years to come.

If you have any grease or oil stains on your decking material, you can use a commercial cleaner to remove them. Be sure to follow the instructions carefully and test the cleaner in an inconspicuous area before applying it to the entire surface.

You will also need to reseal your finished deck every few years to protect it from the weathering effects of wind, rain, and sun. Sealing your deck will help keep it looking beautiful for many years to come.

Ipe Wood Pros and Cons

There are a few things to consider before purchasing ipe wood. It is important to be aware of the pros and cons of this type of wood so you can make an informed decision. Here is a look at some of the key benefits and drawbacks of ipe wood:


  • Ipe wood is incredibly durable. It is one of the hardest types of tropical hardwood, which makes it naturally resistant to wear.
  • It has low shrinkage and expansion rates. This means that your flooring won’t crack or buckle over time due to fluctuations in humidity levels.
  • It has a dense composition, making it heavy and stable for an excellent foundation.
  • It has a beautiful color. Ipe wood has a rich dark brown or honey color that looks gorgeous in any home or office space.


  • Ipe is hard on tools, which makes it difficult to work with. It dulls saw blades quickly and requires some extra effort for sanding projects. It is also challenging to drill holes in this type of wood.
  • The cost of ipe wood can be prohibitive for some budgets. It is one of the more expensive types of lumber available, but its durability and beauty make it a wise investment.

Overall, ipe wood is an excellent choice for flooring, decking, and other construction projects in all Brazilian hardwoods. Its long-lasting durability and beautiful color make it a popular choice for many homeowners and businesses. Be sure to weigh the pros and cons before making a purchase, but in most cases, ipe wood is a wise investment.

Is Ipe Wood Eco-Friendly?

One of the beautiful properties of Ipe wood is that it is eco-friendly. It is a renewable resource (tree) and its density prevents it from catching on fire easily. The resins inhibit insects and fungus growth while reducing sap seepage into the heartwood. When properly sustainably harvested, ipe can be safely reused for furniture, flooring, decking, and other applications for years to come.

As well, it is very sustainable, requiring little maintenance and reducing waste. Ipe wood leaves no harmful chemicals or poisons behind when used in construction projects, which makes it a good option for Eco-friendly businesses and households.

Is Ipe Wood FSC certified?


The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) provides third-party certification for the benefits of environmental conservation, social welfare, and economic well-being. Ipe is one of many exotic lumber species that are certified by the FSC. This ensures that it comes from forestry operations that comply with sustainable harvesting practices.


The next time you are planning a construction or remodeling project, give some serious consideration to this Brazilian ipe wood. It is a durable and Eco-friendly option that will look stunning in almost any room at home or work. It is a great choice for those who want the very best in durable wood flooring, decking, and other construction projects. Its rich color looks gorgeous as a floor or as a wall covering and its incredible durability will stand up to your family’s needs for years to come.

About Peter Jacobs

Peter Jacobs is the Senior Director of Marketing at CNC Masters, a leading supplier of CNC mills, milling machines, and CNC lathes. He is actively involved in manufacturing processes and regularly contributes his insights for various blogs in CNC machining, 3D printing, rapid tooling, injection molding, metal casting, and manufacturing in general. You can connect with him on his LinkedIn.

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MX Software – Easy to Use, Easy to Learn – Included with your machine purchase
The MX software is designed to work seamlessly with your CNC Masters machine. It is made to work with Windows PC – desktop, laptop, or an all in one – on standard USB. Use it on Windows 8 or 10 64-bit operating systems.
No internal conversion printer/serial port to USB software or additional conversion hardware is used with the MX.

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2. Clutter Free Interface
The MX is engineered for the CNC MASTERS machine so you do not have to fiddle with a detailed complicated configuration that can be overwhelming. Just load in the MX and start machining!2. Clutter Free Interface
The MX is engineered for the CNC MASTERS machine so you do not have to fiddle with a detailed complicated configuration that can be overwhelming. Just load in the MX and start machining!

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3. Features Tour and Tutorials Included
The Features Tour will give you a quick run-down on all the features the MX can do for you. The Tutorials are easy to follow even for the first time CNC machinist.
Feel free to download the MX on any of your computers. We recommend downloading the MX along with your CAD and CAM software there at the comfort of your office computer to generate your tool path programs. You don’t need to be hooked up to the machine either to test your program in simulation mode.

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4. Navigate and Edit Your Program through the MX interface with Ease
With a few clicks of the mouse or using touch screen technology, you can easily navigate through the MX interface importing saved programs into the Editor from the File drop down menu. Using standard windows features to edit your program you can then lock the Editor Screen to avoid accidental editing, and if you need to insert a line in the middle of a program, just click on [ReNum] to re-number your tool path list.
You can create a program or import CAM generated G-code tool paths into the Editor
The X Y and Z W arrow jog buttons are displayed from the point of view of the cutter to avoid confusion when the table and saddle are moving. You can also adjust your spindle speed and coolant control while jogging each axis.

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5. Feed Hold – Pause in the Middle of your Program
Feed Hold lets you pause in the middle of a program. From there you can step through your program one line at time while opting to shut the spindle off and then resume your program.
You can also write PAUSE in the middle of your program and jog each axis independently while your program is in pause mode.

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6. Hot Keys
Hot Keys is an alternative method to easily control your machine using your hard or touch screen keyboard. One can press P to pause a program, press S to turn Spindle On, G to run a program, Space Bar to Stop, J to record your individual movements one line at a time to create a program in teach mode.

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7. Pick Menu – for conversational mode programming
Write FANUC style G-codes directly into the Editor or select commands off the [Pick] menu and write your tool path program in conversational mode such as what is written in the Editor box. You can even mix between conversation commands and G-codes in the same program.

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8. Pick Menu List of Options
Use commands such as MOVE, SPINDLE ON/OFF, COOLANT ON/OFF, PAUSE, DELAY, GO HOME…. to write your tool path programs in conversational mode.

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9. Draw the Tool Path to verify it before pressing Go
Hit Draw to view your tool path program drawing, check out its run time, or even simulate the tool path in 3D mode. This can be helpful to quickly verify your program before running it. You can also slow down or speed up the drawing or simulation process.
You can also hit Go within the Draw Window itself to verify the cutter’s position on the machine. The current tool path will be highlighted and simultaneously draw out the next path so you can verify what the cutter will be doing next on the program.

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10. Run each tool path independently to study its movement
1. Run the machine on Trace mode. You can run each tool path independently, one line at a time to study the tool path movement on the machine to verify the position of the application and if any fixture/vise is in the way of the cutter’s path.

2. You can also verify your program by clicking on the Trace and Draw buttons together. This will allow you to view each tool path independently one line at a time in the Draw Window.

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11. Counters display in Inches or Millimeters – Continuous Feed
1. When running a program, the counters will display a “real-time” readout while the machine is in CNC operation without counting ahead of the movement.
2. The current tool path is highlighted while the machine is in operation without causing slight interruptions/pauses as the software feeds the tool path to the machine. The MX internally interprets a program ten lines ahead to allow for “continuous machining” avoiding slight interruptions as the machine waits for its next tool path command.
3. “Run Time” tells you how long it takes to run your tool path program.

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12. Use the “Go From Line” command to start in the middle of your program
If you ever need to begin your program from somewhere in the middle of it, use [Go From Line] which you can find under Tools. The Help guide will walk you through how to position the cutter without losing its position on the machine.

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13. Exact Motion Distance without over-stepping on an axis while jogging
Use “Relative ON” to enter a specific coordinate to jog any of your axes to an exact location without having to write a program. It’s like using “power feed” but easier. You can jog an exact distance on any of the axes without needing to keep the key pressed down and mistakenly over-step the movement releasing your finger too slowly off the jog button.
Let’s say you need to drill a hole exactly 0.525” using the Z. So you enter 0.525 in the Z box. Next, adjust the JOG FEED RATE slider for the desired feed rate. Then “click once” on the +Z or -Z button to activate the travel. In this case you click once the -Z button first to drill the hole exactly 0.525”. Then click once on the +Z button to drive the axis back up 0.525”.

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14. Teach Mode – Jog Input
You can create a tool path program by storing each point-to-point movement by simply jogging an axis one at a time. Click on either of the Jog Input buttons to store each movement on the Editor Screen. You can then add Spindle ON, feed commands, and press GO to run the new program as needed. This is a great feature to help you learn to create a program by the movements you make on the machine without necessarily writing out an entire program first.

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15. Override on the fly to adjust the Jog Feed to Rapid or the Spindle Speed during the middle of a program
1. Jog Feed and Rapid with Override: You can adjust feeds using the slider from slow minimum 0.1″ per minute to a rapid of 100″ per minute of travel. You can even micro-step your jog as low as 0.01”/min. The [-][+] buttons allow you to fine tune feeds in 5% increments while the program is in motion.
2. Spindle Speed with Override: You can adjust speeds using the slider from a slow minimum RPM to the max RPM according to the machine setup. The [-][+] buttons allow you to fine tune feeds in 5% increments while the program is in motion.

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16. Adjust Counters using Pre-Set if you cannot begin the program from 0.00
In a situation where you cannot begin your cutter at it’s 0.00 location, you can “Pre-Set” directly into the counters by typing in your beginning coordinate. You can press Go from here to run your program. You can also “zero all” or “zero” your counters independently. With one click of the [Return to 0.0] button, all axes will travel back to its respective 0.0 on the machine.

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17. Set and Save your 0.00 position for future runs
Set and save your 0.00 position on the machine. These coordinates will be recorded as the first line of the program in the Editor Screen. Should you desire to return to this program at a later date, you only have to click on the Set Zero Return button. This will command the machine to automatically jog each axis to its saved “set” 0.00 position according to the recorded coordinates at the first line of the program.

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18. Create a “Home” position to clear your application and run multiple times
Let’s say you need to machine one application times 100 pieces. This usually requires a jig to retain that physical 0.00 position. But in this case, you want the program to end with a clearance of the axes to easily switch out the next piece of stock and start again. With Save Home, you have the ability to save this offset (home) position while still retaining your Set Zero position where the machine will mill your part out. Pressing [Save Home] will record this new position under the Set Zero line in your program.
Pressing [Go Home] will jog your axes back to your “saved home” position where you originally pressed the Save Home command. You can also input GO_HOME from the Pick Menu as its own tool path in your program. At the completion of your program the axes will end at your Home position. Replace your part, then press [Return to 0.0] button to allow the axes to return to its zero position, and press Go to start your next run.

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19. Disable the axis motors to manually hand crank each axis into place
Easily de-energize the axis motors by clicking [Disable Motors] to crank each axis by hand, and then press [Reset Control] to re-energize the axis motors.

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20. Change up to 30 tools with compensation, and store your tool offsets for other programs
The MX supports…

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21. Use the optional ATC rack up to 8 tools for milling, drilling, and rigid tapping applications
The CNC Masters Automatic Tool Changer Rack and Tools (US Patent 9,827,640B2) can be added to any CNC Masters Milling Machine built with the rigid tapping encoder option. The tutorial will guide you through the set-up procedure using the ATC tools.

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22. Use the optional Rigid Tapping Wizard without the need for tapping head attachments
When you order your CNC Masters machine, have it built with the optional rigid tapping encoder. You can take any drill cycle program and replace the top line with a tapping code created by the wizard to tap your series of holes up to 1/2” in diameter.

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23. Use the optional Digital Probe to scan the profile and/or pockets of your fun/hobby type designs to write your tool path program and machine out a duplicate of your original design To “surface” scan an object, you can program the probe along the X or Y plane. The stylus will travel over the part starting on the left side front corner of the object and work its way to the end of the part on the right side. Depending on how the stylus moves, it will record linear and interpolated movements along the X, Y, and Z planes directly on the MX Editor.
To “pocket” scan an object containing a closed pocket such as circles or squares, the scan will start from the top front, work its way inside of the pocket, and scan the entire perimeter of the pocket.
Under the Setup of the MX software you will find the Probe Tab which will allow you to calibrate and program your probe. Your “Probe Step”, “Feed”, and “Data Filter” can also be changed on the fly while the probe is in the middle of scanning your object.

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24. Use work offsets G54-G59 for nesting applications
The work offsets offer you a way to program up to six different machining locations. It’s like having multiple 0.0 locations for different parts. This is very useful especially when using sub-routines/nesting applications.

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25. Create a Rectangular Pocket / Slot with our selection of Wizards to help you build a tool path program
The Cycle Wizards for the mill or lathe makes it easy to create a simple tool path without needing to use a CAD and CAM software.
On this Wizard, the Rectangular Pocket / Slots, can be used to form a deep rectangular pocket into your material or machine a slot duplicating as many passes needed to its total depth.

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26. Create a Circular Pocket Wizard
Input the total diameter, the step down, and total depth and the code will be generated.

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27. Do Thread Milling using a single point cutter Wizard

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28. Cut a gear out using the Cut Gear Wizard with the optional Fourth Axis

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29. Create a Peck Drilling Program in Circular or Rectangular Patterns
Using the Circular or Rectangular Drilling Wizards, you can program the machine to drill an un-limited series of holes along the X and Y planes. Program it to drill straight through to your total depth, use a high-speed pecking cycle, or deep hole pecking cycle. You can program the cut-in depth and return point for a controlled peck drill application to maximize chip clearance.

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30. The MX interface can easily be interchanged from Mill Mode to Lathe Mode
Use this interface for your CNC Masters Lathe. It contains all the same user-friendly features and functions that comes in Mill Mode. Simply go to the Setup page and change the interface.

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31. Use Tool Change Compensation or the optional Auto Tool Changer Turret if your application requires more than one tool in a single program
You can offset the length and angle of each tool and record it under Tools in your Setup. The program will automatically pause the lathe’s movement and spindle allowing you to change out your tool, or allowing the optional ATC Turret to quickly turn to its next tool and continue machining.
On the MX interface, you also have four Tool Position buttons. Select your desired T position, and the auto tool post will quickly turn and lock itself to that position.

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32. Use the Lathe Wizard Threading Cycle to help you program your lathe’s internal or external threads in inches or metric

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33. Use the Lathe Wizard Turning / Boring Cycle to help you program simple turning and boring cycles without having to go through a CAM or writing a long program with multiple passes

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34. Use the Lathe Wizard Peck Drilling Cycle to help you program your drill applications or for face grooving

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35. Facing / Grooving / Part Off Cycle Wizards – with Constant Surface Speed
These cycles can be used with Constant Surface Speed allowing the spindle speed to increase automatically as the diameter of the part decreases giving your application a consistent workpiece finish. With CSS built into the wizard, there is no need to break down the cycle into multiple paths and multiple spindle speed changes.

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36. This is our list of supported G and M codes which can be found under Tools > G Code/ M Code List in the MX
If you plan to use a third-party CAM software to generate your tool path program, use a generic FANUC post processor and edit it to match our list of codes. As an option, we also sell Visual mill/turn CAM software which comes with a guaranteed post processor for our machines to easily generate your tool path programs based on your CAD drawings.

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37. Our pledge to you…

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