Tree Cutting Guilt?

Tree cutting guilt… Is what we’re doing okay?

It seems like we need trees more than ever… sucking in carbon, breathing out oxygen.

It seems like trees could be one of the most useful tools in decreasing carbon levels.

So, what are we thinking, cutting them down?

Especially the tropical hardwoods in the Amazon!

This could keep a person in the lumber industry up at night!  Then propel them into research mode…

So, we spoke with Nova, our supplier of Ipe and Red Balau/Batu (both South American tropical hardwoods)  to better understand their practices. We are delighted to report to you, what we learned.

Here are some highlights:

  •   No clearcutting
  •   Selective harvesting only
  • Seedlings and small trees are allowed to grow
  •  Only 2 – 200 trees are harvested for every 1000 acres of forest
  • A plot of forested land is allowed to rest for 20-30 years between cuts
  •  After 2-3 harvesting cycles, there is actually more wood fiber in the forest. This sweet spot between harvesting and re-growth results in Optimal Forest Re-growth!
  •  Loggers submit detailed forest management plans for approval, including species identification with GPS coordinates to pinpoint trees and execute the plan precisely.


Surprisingly, agriculture is the biggest threat to the rain forests. Forests are clear cut or burned to make room for growing crops and raising cattle.

Perhaps it is counter-intuitive, but the forest and logging industry, when operating ethically, is a defender and protector of our forests. Lumber companies can operate, jobs can be created, people can make a living, and forests can actually thrive.

Here is a link to Nova’s page about their practices if you’d like to read more. I know I feel much better now that I understand how our supplier works.

All decked out … in tropical hardwoods!

Spring is here and most of us are spending lots of time at home…so it may be a good time to work on your outdoor space.  We want to share with you Excelsior’s preferred in house method to prepare tropical hardwoods like Ipe and Red Balau, also known as Batu and commonly referred to as Mahogany decking. 



  1. We groove for hidden fasteners. If the decking is 4/4 material we center-match the groove. If it’s 5/4 we offset the groove to the bottom. This creates an extra heavy wear layer, hides the clip a bit and allows the boards to sit flatter (since when we mill it, we are referencing both edge grooves off the bottom of the board, not flipping them halfway through). In this case, be sure to buy clips for 4/4 material since the groove is offset to the bottom.


  1. We wire brush the face of the boards. This cleans and refreshes the material and has the added benefit of opening the grain. Tropical hardwoods like Ipe and Red Balau are very dense, so dense that even penetrating oils have a hard time penetrating… wire brushing helps.
  1. Next, we apply coatings. Exo-Shield is the best product we know of for Tropical Hardwoods like red balau and ipe. It was formulated especially for these species. In our experience, it works beautifully. We apply it and let it penetrate for a minimum of 24 hours before we wipe off the excess. We coat all the sides as recommended. This helps reduce moisture intake and cupping. 


sample board wood stain

Now it's in your hands!

Excelsior stocks the decking accessory products you will need to do the job right.

We highly recommend ExoDeck Quick Clips. They are the best we’ve seen. They are very robust. They have the ability to expand and contract with the decking. We think it’s important to select clips that will last as long as these tropical hardwoods. 

As you can see, there is really no comparison!  We want your clips to last as long as your decking. These tropical hardwoods have been known to last many decades.

Click on the images below to find out more.


ExoDeck Quick Clip

We also supply these items for your install.



Decking Screws