Rich, dark Brazillian Ipe Walnut wood in Kensington flat London SW5

A Victorian Kensington flat was transformed with striking, rich, dark Brazilian Ipe wood. A practical and beautiful option prime quality Ipe Walnut is one of the hardest wood species on the planet.
Posted on4 Months ago by

#CraftedForLife

Transform your home with striking Brazilian Walnut

Ipe (pronounced ‘ee-pay’) is the ideal choice for those who love rich, dark wood. Hailing from the Brazilian rainforest, Ipe has a deep colour ranging between reddish brown to yellowish olive brown and darker blackish brown. It has distinctive marbling to give it its unique look. It can be left untreated and will fade naturally to a silver grey with time; alternatively, it can be treated to ensure it keeps its dark colour. You can totally transform your home with this durable wood that is both beautiful and strong.

Brazilian Ipe has a vibrant yellow and pink blossom #CraftedForLife

Brazilian Ipe has a vibrant yellow and pink blossom

Ipe is strong enough for New York ports

Did you know that Brazilian Ipe makes up most of the boardwalks in Coney Island, NY? #CraftedForLife

Did you know that Brazilian Ipe makes up most of the boardwalks in Coney Island, NY?

Our client is a New Yorker and it appears in the US there is more appreciation for a wider range of wood species. The boardwalks decks and handrails in Coney Island, New York are made of Ipe wood which is a testament to its strength and durability to last by the sea. It took about 25 years until the first repairs were made.

A practical and beautiful option

The customer was initially thinking of Brazilian Jatoba wood but eventually decided on prime quality Ipe for its deep natural colour with exotic wavy grain pattern. Aesthetically the customer preferred a well pronounced, dramatic look. But practically, as he had a young child, he wanted something strong and dark that would cope very well with the rigours of family life -> Beautiful Babies and Beautiful Wood Floors. He wanted his entire flat excluding the bathroom to be covered including two bedrooms, living room, kitchen and long hallway.

Rich, dark Ipe wood in the living room #CraftedForLife

Rich, dark Ipe wood in the living room

Prime quality Ipe has a deep natural colour with exotic wavy grain pattern #CraftedForLife

Prime quality Ipe has a deep natural colour with exotic wavy grain pattern

Top of the Janka chart

In addition to its striking exotic look, Ipe is one of the hardest wood species on the planet. The high content of natural oils and minerals gives Ipe a high density and great dimensional stability when exposed to extreme levels of relative humidity. The wood has a hardness that measures at the very top of the Janka rating scale, upwards of 3,600lbf (more than 3 times the hardness of Oak). It is one of the most durable flooring options available -> Wood Hardness - Janka Chart.

Ipe is so dense that it does not float in water #CraftedForLife

Ipe is so dense that it does not float in water

Speciality wood requires special installation

Ipe wood needs specialist glue as its natural oil prevents pva glue from bonding #CraftedForLife

Ipe wood needs specialist glue as its natural oil prevents pva glue from bonding

Those used to working with traditional european wood species such as Oak might find working with this type of wood a different experience. For example a common mistake is that you cannot glue Ipe with pva glue like Oak as the oil in Ipe wood prevents the glue from bonding. When we needed to glue two pieces of Ipe together we used a specialist oil resistant glue. It's also important to use the right equipment and tools that are accurate and long lasting. Ipe wood is very hard and puts lots of strain onto the cutting equipment and blades will wear out much more quickly. A slightly curved board is more difficult to straighten due to its core strength but with the right skills and tools the challenge can be met. Usually we advise clients to opt for engineered boards but Ipe is a very stable solid wood so it doesn't need to be engineered.

Flattening a sloping hallway

Most Victorian properties have quirky features and this flat was no different with an unusual height difference in the hallway creating a noticeable slope. To flatten the floor we carefully installed plywood to gradually reduce the gradient of the slope. The customer appreciated our efforts and attention to detail. He said, “In my situation, we had an elevation change within our old flat and Fin Wood was able to transition this to be unnoticeable and remove trip hazards. They'll take the time to work through every detail, ensuring that the floor is done to a very high standard.”

To flatten the hallway we carefully installed plywood to gradually reduce the gradient of the slope #CraftedForLife

To flatten the hallway we carefully installed plywood to gradually reduce the gradient of the slope

Here is the finished hallway, the slope is now unnoticeable with a seamless transition to the living room #CraftedForLife

Here is the finished hallway, the slope is now unnoticeable with a seamless transition to the living room

Another special design feature is the change of direction from the hallway into the master bedroom to follow the direction of the natural light.

Change of direction to follow the natural light from the bedroom window #CraftedForLife

Change of direction to follow the natural light from the bedroom window

Sound insulation

As the flat was on the first floor flat we used an impact sound reduction membrane to protect the neighbours downstairs from noise. Once the floor was installed we lightly sanded it to remove any ridges and trip hazards and clean up the grains of the wood. Then we applied two coats of extra thin osmo oil especially designed for exotoc wood finishes.

We applied two coats of oil especially designed for exotic wood finishes #CraftedForLife

We applied two coats of oil especially designed for exotic wood finishes

We used extra thin osmo oil for a perfect finish #CraftedForLife

We used extra thin osmo oil for a perfect finish

We treat your home like our home

The customer was absolutely delighted with the results. “Fin Wood's craftsmen do excellent work. Alin is truly passionate about woodworking and the artisan craft of making beautiful hardwood floors. That means he'll work on your home like it's his own. They'll take the time to work through every detail, ensuring that the floor is done to a very high standard. This means starting with a robust, sturdy, sealed subfloor. These guys are incredibly organized, timely and polite. Can't recommend them enough.

The customer was absolutely delighted with the results #CraftedForLife

The customer was absolutely delighted with the results

Fin Wood craftsmen do excellent work #CraftedForLife

“Fin Wood craftsmen do excellent work”

“Fin Wood works on your home like it's their own” #CraftedForLife

“Fin Wood works on your home like it's their own”

“Fin Wood takes the time to work through every detail, ensuring that your floor is done to a very high standard” #CraftedForLife

“Fin Wood takes the time to work through every detail, ensuring that your floor is done to a very high standard”

Location: London SW5

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