Ipe, or Brazilian walnut, is a very dense hardwood with natural red and brown hues that make it an excellent choice for finish work in your home. Like cedar, ipe is so dense that it is naturally moisture resistant and doesn’t need to be treated. It’s so resistant to moisture, in fact, that it can be used outdoors and in wet locations without being sealed. It seems strange, then, that the first step of the project is to polyurethane the wood, but this is an optional step. The polyurethane is only to add luster to the wood, which will help bring out the rich, natural colors of the wood.
If you decide to poly the wood, you’ll want to set the ipe planks across a set of saw horses and wipe them down with a dry cloth to make sure they are free of dust. Then, use a high density foam roller and apply the polyurethane in thin, even coats. Allow the wood to dry for 24 to 48 hours before cutting or installing.