Ipé: Truly Sustainable Furniture

In Decorating Your Outdoor Room, Outdoor Furniture by JHCadminLeave a Comment

6177_AmberBench What do the following have in common?

  • Atlantic City Boardwalk
  • New York City park benches
  • 18th century Jesuit missions in Bolivia
  • The Solferino Footbridge that crosses the Seine River in Paris

Give up?

They’re all made out of Ipé (pronounced “EE-pay”), a fine-grained, buttery-smooth hardwood from the tropical forests of Bolivia.

Bolivia – World Leader in Sustainable Forestry

There’s a real “green” story behind this incredibly strong, durable wood. Ipé furniture manufactured by Jensen Leisure comes from the Chiquitania forest reserve in Eastern Bolivia. Because of the nature of tropical dry forest, trees there grow very slowly. Consequently, some of the world's strongest and most durable woods come from the Chiquitania forest.


All wood used in the manufacturing of Jensen Leisure Furniture is FSC-certified. The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), is a non-profit organization that sets international standards for responsible forestry.

Jensen sales representative, Rob Quello, told me that, because of the stringent FSC certification standards, they can track a piece of furniture all the way back to the original tree it was cut from. He explained that they divide a hectare of forest into 25 sections and selectively cut trees from one section that have reached 85-99% of their natural lifetime (in other words, those trees would have fallen down on their own in 5-7 years).

6502_RubyRocker Each tree has to be minimum of 60 cm across (about 22 inches). Most are bigger than that. Jensen uses the heart wood from Ipé trees (also known as Tajibo in Bolivia) in their furniture; other parts of the tree are used for flooring and plywood.

“From an environmental standpoint, there is no product that is more environmentally conscious than this,” said Rob.

Every year, the Forest Stewardship Council independently verifies that Jensen Leisure is meeting their certification standards. The wood is cut, dried, kilned, and hand-assembled into furniture in Bolivia, and then is shipped to the United States.

Ipé is chocolate-brown when new, and the sun transforms it to a silver patina. Because it is so dense, Ipé resists splintering and checking as well as rot, decay, insects, carpenter ants, mold, and even fire – naturally. Weather has little to no negative effect on Ipé, making it an ideal choice for Pacific Northwest outdoor rooms.

And because of its elegance and natural warmth, many people use Ipé furniture indoors in their living room, dining room, sun room, or kitchenette.

Rich’s for the Home has been selling Jensen Leisure furniture for nearly 20 years and is the exclusive outdoor furniture dealer in the greater Seattle area that stocks Jensen Leisure’s Ipé furniture. Stop by one of Rich’s five Puget Sound showrooms and ask to see our line of Ipé furniture.

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