I've worked with Ipe a lot. About 50,000 SF for exterior decks in coastal and Sierra Nevada foothills in California
. (moist, cold, harsh exposures) A few things about this beautiful wood;
First, while the wood is not prone to splintering, even with grain run out, if you do get a splinter in you (mostly during cutting and installation) stop everything and get it out! The pain of rapid infection will not let you forget. I kid you not, a small splinter on a finger tip and within 1/2 hour the pain is so great you wish your whole hand would fall off. Yucky is a proper term here, as in, severely inflamed, yucky, pus-forming.
Do treat the ends to prevent checking. Paraffin wax in liquid form applied with a brush will suffice. Be careful to avoid dripping onto the walking surface as it will be noticeable, ie, unsightly.
Use carbide tools only. HSS is not up to the task.
Pre-drill for screws, etc. The torque required to drive a screw through the dense grain will snap any fastener. Nails? Fuggedaboudit.
Wear a dust mask if needed. Spores in the wood, etc.
Use only stainless steel
for fasteners. The wood oils will corrode other metals.
Of adhesives, the only adhesive I found that worked was Gorilla Glue.
IPE responds very favorably to using biscuits for tight joinery.
With God as my witness I wish I could remember the manufacturer of the coating product I used. It beats every other product out there. Yes, Messmers too. A product description may help you find it:
soluble, urethane-like qualities, eco-friendly, low VOC, none to little smell, UV inhibiters, manufactured in Northern California
or maybe Oregon
, manufacturer name begins with "P". Around $30/gallon.
I've tried them all, this product is the best I'd ever found for Ipe.