9 mighty woods for outdoor projects
Top of the line
Ipe, a relative newcomer, is imported from Central and South America, where it grows rapidly. Also called Brazilian walnut and ironwood, it is so dense that it barely floats. Strong and stable, the functional life of ipe can be as long as 40 years if left untreated. It resists movement, surface checks, warping, cracking, decomposition, and denting. Also, while it is expensive (and sometimes hard to find), ipe is comparably priced with many composite wood products.
Teak is still available in small quantities, but you'll pay a hefty price for it. Largely associated with boatbuilding, it doubles as an excellent choice for small outdoor projects where you want the beauty of the wood to speak as loudly as the craftsmanship.
Mahogany serves as a great project wood. It machines, sands, and finishes well, but costs more than ipe. Be sure to ask for African or Honduran mahogany, (avoiding Philippine mahogany). One nice thing: You can buy it in broad thicknesses for use in large projects.
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