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Brazilian Ebony is a dense, heavy wood that can be found in a wide range of colors and figures, from solid with even color, to streaked and marble-like figure. The heartwood ranges from olive brown to near black and can have lighter or darker markings that are sharply separated from the sapwood, which is lighter and yellow in appearance. When first cut, the colors and figure are bright and bold. Once exposed to air and light, the brightness of the wood diminishes and takes on a darker, more subtle appearance. Brazilian Ebony is a low-luster wood with an oily appearance. The wood texture is usually fine and uniform, but can range from ultra-fine to medium in texture. The grain that is almost always straight, but also can range from straight to very irregular.

Formal Name: Sartzia tomentosa

Other Names: Lapacho Ipe, Brazilian Walnut, Ironwood, Irontree and Tajibo


Brazilian Ebony is found throughout the rain forests and mountains of Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil in South America.

Working Properties

Brazilian Ebony is a very hard, oily wood, posing some resistance to cutting and sanding. The wood’s hardness makes working with hand tools or a carving knife relatively difficult. Machining and turning properties are excellent. Joinery work can be machined to a clean, smooth surface with a crisp sharp edge. The wood holds nails well, once applied. The wood can be brought to a polished, marble-like finish.

Main Uses

This species is a good choice for decking and planking, both inside and out, as well as railings, mouldings, cap rails, trim work and fittings. It is often used in dock work, harbor construction or for railroad ties. It is often used for flooring, especially industrial-application flooring, because of its hardness, durability, and shock-resistant properties.