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  Topic Review (Newest First)
01-31-2011 10:36 AM
rrwc110 I've worked w/ plenty of purpleheart and yes when you cut it it turns brown. I had clamped a deck together (I make skateboards) with the outer edge purpleheart before glueing and left it for a couple of days. sun had been shining through a window onto the wood during my time away. When I removed the clamps to glue the deck up, everywhere that was covered by clamps still the brown color from cutting everything exposed to sunlight was purple again. I'll post some pics of my skates when I get a chance.
07-20-2010 08:20 PM
Purpleheart color

Originally Posted by BigJimAK View Post
I've picked up some purpleheart for making boxes. After letting it set in my shop for a couple of weeks to acclimitize, tonight I cut off a piece and jointed / planed it to better see the grain. As you can see from the pictures (unplaned and planed) the wood, while still purple, has lost much of its coloring.

What if anything can I do to encourage the purple to come back out? Will exposure to air or light affect it or did that need to happen before it was dried?

I picked it up because I thought it would make a nice contrast with maple, padauk or lacewood.

Hi, Jim. I've worked with both purpleheart and padauk. I love them both, they're beautiful but unfortunately, purpleheart will experience color loss and darkening whether it's sealed, UV protected or even finished with a spar varnish. It's said that placing the purpleheart item in direct sunlight will bring the color back. That doesn't seem reasonable but I haven't tried it. The padauk darkens also to a dark brownish red. For that reason I stick with bloodwood for reds and have yet to find a color as appealing as purpleheart. Have you ever worked with yellowheart?

02-27-2010 10:29 PM
Capt Splinter I just bought 6 pieces of 2"x2"x30" purpleheart for $7.00. Now I'm trying to figure out what to make with it. Thanks for the tips on water based finish.
02-27-2010 07:15 PM
CanuckGal Interesting tip Rick, I'll have to give that a try.
02-26-2010 11:12 PM
I've had some experence with Purpleheart. It's indigenous to Mexico,Central America and South America. There are several species of it. A lot are purple only on the exterior
and some are dark brown. Some are purple all the way through when cut. If you get a species that is not purple inside here is a way to get it dark.
Make four samples 1"x1" by 4-5" long. Experiment with the following.
Put one of the samples in your pre heated kitchen oven (get an ok from your wife first) at 350deg for 10 minutes. Remove and let cool. It gets hot.
With the other samples do the same at 425deg, 450deg, and 500deg. for 10 min.
Each will have a darker interior purple. Crosscut each sample to see the change. There is a chemical (peltogynol) in the wood that reacts with heat. The higher heat settings will create some smoking so be aware of that.
I hope this helps out. CHINOEXE
09-07-2009 09:38 AM
Duane867 Thanks!

Read last night that it was a little oily and caused problems gluing up ?
I didn't notice a lot of oil when I cut but I did notice some. Just not like say ..... Cocobolo.
09-07-2009 07:54 AM
Mike Duane, Titebond glues will work fine. Purpleheart is not oily. It is very easy to work with, similar to walnut. A finish with a UV inhibitor is important because UV light is the key to the color change. Avoiding direct sunlight after finishing helps prolong the color but since most are now using fluorescent lights in their home it is a losing battle. The nice milk chocolate color after the purple fades still shows off the grain.
09-07-2009 12:26 AM
Duane867 I just made my 1st jewelery box out of this stuff this afternoon actually.
Haven't assembled it yet though as I am unsure of what glue to use on it ? How about gorilla glue ?
I know its oily and dense, and that can be a problem when trying to glue it up. Little worried here LOL!
I had planned on a lacquer finish though.
08-22-2009 05:58 PM
TwoSkies57 Jim.. I"ve used alot of purpleheart.. Love the stuff. Great color. but it does have a tendancy to shade out towards a purpleish brown color. I've found the sitting it out in the sun is the best thing to bring back the color. Just like with cherry... Once you have an established color that you like, its best to keep it out of direct sunlight..A UV rated coating will help as well.
08-17-2009 10:52 AM
Woodworkers Source Wow! It is great to see all of these reponses. Thanks for the comments.

Here is the link to our Purple Heart page. Actually there are several species included in Purple Heart. The wood is essentially the same and all are mixed together. When fresh cut the wood is a dull grey/brown but the purple color will return in a few days. Putting the wood in direct sunlight will speed up the process and make the color more intense.

All oil finishes will darken the wood and accelerate the change to brown. Lacquer or waterbased finishes will do the best job of retaining the purple color. The attached little bowl is easily 20 years old and has a lacquer finish. The underside is more purple simply because it has received less light over the years.
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