Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

A notable mention for Texas

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

Ipe, Garapa, Cumaru, and Tigerwood continue to have a growing availability throughout the country. Companies and supply websites are springing up state by state. While the largest suppliers are still based in the lower U.S. Gulf region, materials are making there way into other states more quickly than ever. States like Texas, are consuming large quantities to meet the growing demand. is one notable website that create a seamless bond between supply and demand. Ipe, Cumaru, Garapa, and Tigerwood are certainly making a statement across the country.


Gazebo Vs. Pergola

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

What is the difference between a Gazebo and a Pergola? Maybe you know the difference but are trying to decide which you prefer for your home. While both offer a stunning edition to your outdoor living area, they possess slightly different characteristics  that impact the lifestyle and use of your new addition. Historically, the gazebo was commonly mentioned in Chinese and Persian literature. Gazebos  are commonly seen today in England as well and date back as far as the late 1800′s. Gazebos  generally have fully roofed tops and open sides. Gazebos offer more protection from rain and sun than pergolas. Gazebos are commonly built with an octagonal design and  a raised deck in the center. Benches around the inside of a gazebo and screens for the sides are simple enhancements to make your living space more comfortable and to keep pesky insects away..

Pergolas developed around the same era and, like gazebos, some built in the 1800’s still exist today The  word “pergola” comes from the Latin word “pergula” which meant “lecture room, school with protruding roof with vines.”. Pergolas often extend from one building to another and are closely related to gardening as many pergolas provide a path for vines to grow along. Pergolas are generally less robust then gazebos and only provide limited concealment from sun and rain. Although they could, pergolas do not normally have a deck constructed below like the gazebo. Lattice is an inexpensive solution to create a perforated canopy on top of the pergola. The construction of a modern pergola that most directly comes to mind is a four post style with outer beams and cross members in the center. Along a poolside or over a green and meticulously managed outdoor living space are two of the most beautiful locations to construct a new pergola. Some are constructed of wrought Iron, some of brick or concrete and some of wood. Wood is the most common and is a green alternative to other building materials. Below are several pictures of gazebos and pergolas.


ipe pergola





What is Ipe?

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

What is Ipe? Ipe, pronounced EEE-PAY, is an extremely dense hardwood from South America. It’s use is growing in popularity rapidly across the United States. Some refer to it as Brazilian Walnut. It is most commonly used for Ipe Decking and Ipe Hardwood Flooring. Ipe furniture is also a high quality product produced from this wood. The Ipe tree more specifically comes from the Brazilian Rainforest. Fortunately, responsible harvesting and forestry management of this product ensures a lasting and reliable supply to the United States. Ipe is now farmed commercially in many parts of South America. Ipe wood is very long lasting and highly resistant to mold, mildew, rot, bugs, scratches, dents and marks. It is low maintenance compared to inferior decking and flooring woods. The grain of the wood is so small and tight that it is ideal for bare feet and provides a safer walking surface than other woods. Consumers choose Ipe over other options because it is a green alternative to synthetics, a renewable resource and outlasts any other species. It has a beautiful rich color, especially when treated with a sealer. The sealer we recommend is Penofin. Penofin is naturally extracted and produced from Brazilian Rosewood Oil. It is environmentally friendly, provides 99% UV protection, is odorless, and has 0 VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds.) Ipe is typically quite expensive in comparison to softwoods; however, it’s extended lifespan lower maintenance cost and time and soundness make Ipe a long-term value and the initial investments pays off in the end. See this blog about Ipe vs Pine to see an example with supporting evidence. Ipe wood is often used on porches, docks, decks, at marinas, as commercial and residential siding, for furniture, pergolas and gazebos. There are other exotic hardwoods growing in popularity with Ipe. Tigerwood, Cumaru, and Garapa are also raising eyebrows. Though Ipe is the most sought-after of the four, the other three retain similar characteristics and uses. More specifics about Ipe ( What is Ipe? ) wood are below.

  • Ipe’s Scientific Name: Handroanthus spp.
  • Ipe Tree Size: 100 ft (30 m) tall, 2-3 ft (.6-1.0 m) trunk diameter
  • Specific Gravity @ 12% MC: .91-1.1
  • Janka Hardness: 3,510 lbs
  • Modulus of Rupture: 25,660 lbf/in2
  • Elastic Modulus: 3,200,000 lbf/in2
  • Crushing Strength: 13,600 lbf/in2
  • Shrinkage: Radial= 5.9%, Tangential= 7.2%, Volumetric= 12.4%

What is Ipe? More about What is Ipe? :

Ipe is 3 times harder than Oak. It has similar appearance and qualities to Teak wood. Ipe is superior in Decking applications and structural applications over Teak. Ipe has a class 1 fire rating which is the same rating that concrete and steel fall under! There are few dealers of Ipe, Tigerwood, Cumaru and Garapa in the United States. Overseas Hardwoods Company is the oldest provider with a long track record of responsible lumber purchasing, has the most inventory on site in many sizes and has the most experienced staff in house. OHC is based out of Mobile Alabama. Ipe and other tropical hardwoods should always be purchased from reputable suppliers like Overseas Hardwoods Company to ensure it has been responsibly harvested. This in turn prevents unlawful harvesting and deforestation and creates a sustainable harvesting operation in Brazil and other parts of South and Central America. Consumers often believe that using composite and plastic decking is safer and greener. This is unfortunate because producing these composite materials is irreversible and detrimental to the environment. See a short article on composite decking vs hardwood decking here. Ipe is natural. Ipe is a renewable recourse. Ipe is safe, long lasting, strong and low maintenance. Ipe wood is a fantastic choice for many types of outdoor projects. Overseas Hardwoods Company strongly recommends the use of Ipe for multiple applications, especially decking. To speak with an experienced hardwoods representative that can answer more of your questions like ” What is Ipe? ” call 877-568-7616 or visit OHC sales team on the web.

Pictures of notable characteristics of Ipe when used as Decking, flooring or furniture:

Best Woods for Certain Projects

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

Want to make a bread box out of a plank of ipe. Go ahead. The loaf will probably still be good to eat after the aliens arrive and chase us human off to Alpha Centauri. Ipe is really hardwood.

But since our current planet has such a huge variety of trees from which to choose, some match the project at hand perfectly. Take a moment as we expose the rundown:

Wood Guide for the One With the Tools

  • Jelutong.
    This softie is considered “green” but it almost became extinct during the Boer War. The lumber has these little latex pockets that can be ground out and stuffed with wood filler. It’s straight grained and very easy for carvers. You’ll probably want to slip on a mask when cutting Jelutong. It has a tendency to bring to the surface fibers when it’s tooled around with.
  • Cottonwood.
    For those who settled down in the Midwest, this wood is a fave. But because everyone likes the lumber, you may have a touch of trouble finding it. This softwood has a straight grain.
  • Butternut.
    Which is likewise known as white walnut and is another softie. The heartwood is heavy brown in color while the sapwood looks kinda beige. Once you apply a clear finish, you’ll marvel at its gorgeous grain pattern.
  • Quaken Aspen.
    If you’re a beginner, this low-scale hardwood is perfect for you. Carves like a charm and sands like a champ. Probably don’t want to incorporate this stuff into a furniture project. But its color – mostly light – it takes a stain well.
  • Basswood.
    This is another wood with an alias: Lime. The heartwood and sapwood are almost identical in color – white. Because it’s such a softwood it’s gentle on your tools. The downside to basswood is that it’s as bland as a cloud. Staining is not recommended. Paint it instead.
  • Sassafras.
    Not only will this tree’s roots make a fab tea or beverage, it’s got a straight grain pattern. Color: Light brown with dark streaks. Not only does it look great, it has that root beer aroma.
  • Tupelo.
    The kids also call it water gum. That’s because you’ll usually see it reaching for the sky in swamps and wetlands. And the grain pattern is to die for. A simple clear finish adds to the beauty of this soft wood.
  • Walnut.
    For those who are thinking about creating a gun stock, black walnut or American walnut is your best choice. To carve you’ll not only need a chisel. You’ll need a mallet.
  • Mahogany.
    This one is tricky in the “green” department. You want to avoid African varieties and make sure it has a seal by one of the reputable associations that guarantee you’re not getting an outlaw brand. Other than that, it’s not that heavy to lift. It’s weird. Mahogany is light but really tough.

As we say, you can carve with any type of wood. At first, you’ll be a craftsman (or woman). Not long after, you’ll be transformed into an artist.

What’s Ash Used For?

Tuesday, January 8th, 2013

Pretty soon, if a certain predator has its way, using white ash will become a thing of the past. The background goes something like this:

The Emerald Ash Borer has invaded America. And even with buckets of money we continue to throw at the problem, we’re looking at 30-million or roughly 2/3rds of white ash in the country are infected. The bug isn’t too fussy, either. The EAB has been found in green ash – and practically every other breed in the ash family.

Even native western ashes like Oregon and Arizona ash are next on the victim list.

Tell Tale Signs

It doesn’t get its name by being orange. It’s a startling emerald green insect in color. First seen in late spring, you’d think that having a lifespan of about 3-weeks, they wouldn’t make such a mess of the ash kingdom. The females lay their eggs in the wrinkles of the bark. Once the critters hatch, the larvae munches into the inner bark. You’ll know you have a problem if you X-ray the outer shell of the tree and see tunnels shaped like the letter “S.” In this inner sanctum of the tree, the invasion screws-up the way that nutrients and water travel through the living structure.

Infected trees can be destroyed without passing the EAB onto other nearby living structures. Mulch it, burn it or haul if off to a mill.

Get it While You Can

Not to cause a crush of woodworker’s storming the lumberyard waiting outside of Walmart on Black Friday, as generations amble by, we may have a problem with the availability of white ash. That is unless science pulls a flying rabbit out of its hat to eliminate the EAB.

A few details: Ash is considered a hardwood. The dominant trees of this species are white, green and black. Basically, it’s a dream substance for woodworkers. Very bendable, it soaks-up shock and glue. Staining is a cinch.

You’ll find it in the construction of cabinets, paneling, bookcases, flooring and other forms of hardwood furniture. Chainsaw cutters love the material to make large carvings of bears, eagles and other critters you’d like as a keepsake to scare-off the yard rats.

You don’t need to go big with ash. The lumber is well-suited for cutting boards, molding, delicate carvings, picture frames and the like.

That Ain’t All

Up until the end of the last century, when you heard the crack of the bat at a baseball game, unless the hitter was embarrassing himself with an aluminum job, the instrument was made of ash. Want some more stats on America’s premier hitting machine? Kudos to the Louisville Slugger for these fun facts about the ash bat:

  • How many trees does it take to make a season’s bats?
    About 40,000 per season.
  • Does H&B own its own forests?
    H&B owns about 7,500 acres of timberland in Pennsylvania and New York.  The company also purchases timber from other sources.
  • From what kinds of timber are bats made?
    In our history we have used Northern White Ash, Hickory, Oak, and Maple.  Today approximately 50% of Major League Baseball® bats we make are Ash and 50% are Maple.
  • Why do players prefer Ash or Maple?
    Ash has just the proper amount of tensile strength and resiliency required.  These properties, in the finished bat, transmit power or drive.  The weight of ash is also favorable, being very much in line with what is demanded. Maple is denser than ash and, thus, considered a little harder.  It is also heavier, which makes it challenging to find high grade lightweight maple for MLB bats.  Today’s players demand lighter weights than players of years ago, in large part because all of today’s MLB players grew up as kids playing with lighter aluminum bats. Physics professors who’ve studied the properties of ash and maple say there’s no real difference in how one performs over the other when made into baseball bats.
  • Wasn’t ash always the most popular?
    Yes, for decades.  But after some players started having success hitting home runs with maple in the 1990’s more players started asking for maple bats.  Years ago, much hickory was used.  Hickory has many desirable bat qualities, but it is too heavy to meet the demands of today’s players who like lighter bats.
  • How many Louisville Slugger wood bats are made yearly?
    Today, approximately 1.8 million, including souvenir bats.