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Wood Flooring Species
Other Names and Species:
Pau d'Arco Amarelo
Central and South America
The heartwood of lapacho ranges from olive-brown to near black, though it can have lighter or darker markings that are sharply seperated from the yellower sapwood. Lapacho is a low-luster wood with an oily appearance, a fine-to-medium texture, and a grain that ranges from straight to very irregular.
Lapacho, or “yellow ipe” as it is also sometimes called, is an unbelievably durable and hard wood species. This species is very resistant to decay, as well as to termite and dry insect attack. Just like concrete and steel, it even has a Class 1 UBC (uniform building code) fire rating. Along with its extreme hardness, strength, weight, density, and durability, lapacho is also one of the most stable woods available. However, it is important to “over-dry” the wood in a kiln to avoid excessive shrinkage when installing.
Janka Hardness: 3684
Lapacho is one of the most remarkably hard and durable woods. It dwarfs red oak’s 1290 rating, is over one hundred seventy percent harder than white oak, over one hundred fifty percent harder than hard maple, about two-thirds harder than santos mahogany, and just under fifty-seven percent harder than Brazilian cherry’s ranking of 2350.
Lapacho can be difficult to manipulate with tools due to its extreme hardness. Sharpening of tools is a necessity! Pre-boring is suggested before nailing; yet the wood holds nails well once applied. Glue also holds well. This species sands fairly well but does mar somewhat easily under heavy traffic.
Some of lapacho’s uses include dockwork, harbor construction, railroad ties, and molding. This species is a particularly excellent choice for industrial-application flooring as a result of its hardness, durability, and shock-resistant properties.