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Tropical wood design values

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You are correct, they are average ultimate values. There is no easy way to calculate allowable values for them, primarily because Ipe is not graded to US grade rules. Here’s an FAQ that might help a little, which includes contact info for one of the scientists at FPL:






John "Buddy" Showalter, P.E.

Vice President, Technology Transfer


American Wood Council

803 Sycolin Road, Suite 201

Leesburg, VA 20175





The American Wood Council (AWC) develops internationally recognized standards for wood design and construction. Its efforts with building codes and standards, engineering and research, and technology transfer ensure proper application for traditional and engineered wood products.

The guidance provided herein is not a formal interpretation of any AF&PA/AWC standard.  Interpretations of AF&PA/AWC standards are only available through a formal process outlined in AF&PA's standards development procedures.




From:  <erik_g(--nospam--at)>

To: seaint(--nospam--at)

Subject: Tropical wood design calues


I have an architect that wants to use Ipe hardwood for stair treads, but there are only 2 stringers and it will span 4ft. I have searched everywhere and I can't seem to find allowable design values for this tropical hardwood. I have found bending stress values, but I believe that they were average values from the raw data and they did not include a F.S.


Does anyone know where I might be able to find this info?




Erik Gibbs