Purpleheart Color Question - Router Forums
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-15-2009, 05:22 AM Thread Starter
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Default Purpleheart Color Question

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.

Jim
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-15-2009, 07:14 AM
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Jim,
I've never worked it but I'm told that a few days after milling the purple color will come back. Then after some time (6 months to a year) the surface will oxidize to a brown color again with purple highlights. I remember reading on a finishing site that water-based finishes tend to inhibit the oxidation process, allowing the wood to retain more of the purple color. Some experiment with baking it!

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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-15-2009, 09:45 AM Thread Starter
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That's great info, Joe, thanks!!

Jim

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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-15-2009, 09:54 AM
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There is no commonly available finish that will stop this wood from doing what is normal for it to do -turn brown.

Jerry
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-15-2009, 10:50 AM
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Purpleheart, sounds a great timber. I made a bowl on the lathe and even though it was well polished, it turned brown after about 6 months. I use it for guitar construction, with the warning that it will oxidise and turn brown at a later date.
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-15-2009, 08:38 PM
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Take it out in the sun for about 1/2 hr. The color returns. Do not leave it there or it will turn brown.
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-16-2009, 04:58 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks, guys!

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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-16-2009, 05:50 AM
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Have never worked with it, but have thought to use it in trivets but maybe not now, would like something that will hold it's color better.

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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-16-2009, 10:20 AM
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Hey Jim,

I've never seen a piece of purpleheart wood in person in my whole entire life... but.... have you watched the podcast of the woodwhipserer where he makes the end grain cutting board: Make Your Own End-Grain Butcher Block Cutting Board | The Wood Whisperer Woodworking Video Podcast and Blog with purpleheart and hard maple?

He uses a salad bowl finish for the board which shows the beautiful colors as the end result. (If the color hasn't been messed with for the podcast. [Yes, I have a trust issue.... big time! I've done too much video editing!])

It seems that salad bowl finish is nothing more than a wiping varnish.

Those are my words but definitely not from personal experience..... I hope they help... even a teensy bit.


Barb, who will someday work with purpleheart and be in hog heaven


Quote:
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.

Jim
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-16-2009, 04:13 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nikki1492 View Post
Hey Jim,

I've never seen a piece of purpleheart wood in person in my whole entire life... but.... have you watched the podcast of the woodwhipserer where he makes the end grain cutting board: Make Your Own End-Grain Butcher Block Cutting Board | The Wood Whisperer Woodworking Video Podcast and Blog with purpleheart and hard maple?

He uses a salad bowl finish for the board which shows the beautiful colors as the end result. (If the color hasn't been messed with for the podcast. [Yes, I have a trust issue.... big time! I've done too much video editing!])

It seems that salad bowl finish is nothing more than a wiping varnish.

Those are my words but definitely not from personal experience..... I hope they help... even a teensy bit.


Barb, who will someday work with purpleheart and be in hog heaven
Barb,

Funny you should mention that video.. My 18yo son and I did the prep work and did the first glue-up for a smaller version of that very board... except we are making it out of 8/4 Padauk and Tigerwood. I'll post some pictures when it's complete.

Purpleheart can be *really* purple. I was in my wood supplier's on Friday and they had some very intense stock. I was tempted to get it but figured I'll use what I have first and see how it fades.

I've downloaded most of Mark's videos. They're really helpfull. Have you downloaded his "Gadget Station" build series? It's 12 parts but is really good for a concept-to-finished-project example of using mixed hardwoods, incorporating curved pieces in your design and joinery techniques.

With each part around 250MB (in high res) it takes a while but its a good thing for the computer to do while you sleep. In all I've downloaded about 12GB of his videos.

Jim

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