The Price We Pay for High-Quality Ipe

Stack of Ipe logs

Stack of Ipe logs

At J. Gibson McIlvain Lumber, we pride ourselves on maintaining the highest standards of quality control (learn about our quality process). Over our more than two centuries as a lumber company, we’ve established a reputation for maintaining a scrupulous inventory of domestic and exotic species.

Particularly when it comes to tropical decking species such as Ipe, ensuring that the lumber we purchase meets our high standards takes a lot of effort on our part. In order to confirm that each board displays the kind of stability, consistency, and unblemished appearance which our customers expect, we inspect and grade each board multiple times.

In order to provide top-quality Ipe decking, our quality control process includes on-site visits as well as inspections by third-party independent agents.

Shipment of Ipe en route to J Gibson McIlvain

Shipment of Ipe en route to J Gibson McIlvain

The Brazilian government has instituted a commendable forestry management program that allows easy access to each saw mill’s history. We appreciate this ease of information access as we research a prospective new mill’s sources and business history. We can easily determine land ownership, land concession history, and general track record of each new mill with which we’re considering working.

Land Concession & Saw Mill Viability Research

The first step in determining a new mill’s validity is to look into land concession issues. It’s important that we discover who owns the land, how long the mill has been working with the current land concession, and how long they have remaining under that agreement.

Each region has its own particular regulations, making our familiarity with local ordinances important. Such understanding requires us to visit the mill in person and to consult with local legal experts. Once we have ascertained the quality of the forest and the breadth of its supply, we can determine whether to make an initial purchase.

Lumber drying in the open air

Lumber drying in the open air

Typically, that first order consists of lumber personally viewed and graded by a member of our staff. The shipment is again assessed by us once it arrives at our lumber yard, and we carefully compare it to the initial evaluation, noting delays or other shipment hang-ups.

Coordination with Local Buying Agents for Inspections

If that initial purchase is completed satisfactorily, the second step we take is to coordinate with a local buying agent to periodically inspect future shipments. These third-party inspectors use our carefully devised criteria to evaluate thickness, width, length, and defects.

Along with providing us with thorough written evaluations, the agent also includes photographs of the shipment, further benefiting us by providing complete origin documentation, as required by the Lacey Act.

Grading dried lumber

Grading dried lumber

Lumber Evaluations upon Arrival to U.S.

In addition to the aforementioned research and inspections, we have species experts evaluate the lumber once it arrives in our lumber yard.

Most of the Ipe decking we sell is first run through our millworks (take a tour) to be grooved for hidden fastening systems, giving our professional lumber experts the opportunity to inspect every single board as it runs through our equipment. Between grading and milling, we’re sure to catch any damaged boards that somehow escaped earlier evaluations.

We go through great pains in order to provide our customers with high-quality Ipe. We constantly communicate with our suppliers to make sure each shipment meets our high expectations. The mills with which we work quickly realize what our many long-term customers know: J. Gibson McIlvain works with nothing but the best.

j gibson mcilvain lumber companyJ. Gibson McIlvain Company

Since 1798, when Hugh McIlvain established a lumber business near Philadelphia, the McIlvain family has been immersed in the premium import and domestic lumber industry. With its headquarters located just outside of Baltimore, the J. Gibson McIlvain Company ( is one of the largest U.S. importers of exotic woods.

As an active supporter of sustainable lumber practices, the J. Gibson McIlvain Company has provided fine lumber for notable projects throughout the world, including the White House, Capitol building, Supreme Court, and the Smithsonian museums. Contact a representative at J. Gibson McIlvain today by calling (800) 638-9100.

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