Recently when working with some purple heart wood, my partner noticed something unusual. (Maybe it was not so unusual, but it was to us) In choosing a piece of wood for his projects, he noticed that some of the purple heart looked more purple and other areas of it looked more brownish.
He was choosing the piece to make some small overlay pieces on his new ornament patterns and thought the purple color would be suitable.
In his observations, he saw that one edge in particular was quite purple compared to the rest of the piece and almost bright in color. When cutting the section that he was to use off of the larger board, he also saw that it seemed when heat was built up from the blade the color seemed to be brighter. We did some experiments.
Since we felt that perhaps the heat from the blade was causing the wood to change color, we wanted to try heating a small piece of wood to see what happened. We have a small toaster oven and put a scrap in it and watched it to see the result. After a few minutes, the color of the wood piece did seem to intensify. Cool, we thought.
He proceeded to cut his overlay pieces and then before gluing them onto the ornaments, heated them until the color was much more intense. He had to watch the wood carefully or else the ends of the wood got too brown – much like cookies baking a bit too much. He then proceeded to glue on the overlays and spray finish the ornaments with spray acrylic sealer.
I have some questions for you all regarding this process:
Have any of you had any experience with purple heart and why this would occur?
Is what we did by heating the wood a similar process to the ‘roasting’ process that they did to the beautiful dark rich birch piece I recently bought at the specialty wood store?
Is the change permanent, or will the wood revert back to a lighter color?
I realize that wood is an ever-changing breathing organism. However, I am wondering if by sealing it at that stage of color with the acrylic will halt the process and the wood would perhaps remain that shade of purple.
I know that many of you use exotic hard woods such as purple heart in your projects and I am sure that you can offer me much more information of your experiences with it that I have now. I would love to hear your feedback on what you may have discovered.
Today will be a day of organization for me. I went out yesterday and purchased 25 feet of thin foam that is typically used under ‘click floors’. If any of you are shipping gifts for the holidays, I would highly recommend this as something to use for protecting your nice wood items. It is thin and lightweight, yet gives a nice bit of protection to your pieces. I plan on using it to wrap the little skating figures from the pond. I am going to make a small envelope for each piece out of it and it will be a nice way to package the pieces and help keep them from getting scraped or breaking. (Let me know if you would like pictures) I was looking for the white foam sheeting, but I was only able to find the light green color with a logo printed throughout. I thought the white would have looked a bit nicer, but with living in a rural area such as I do, my choices were quite limited.
I am going to spend the next couple of days getting things ready for shipping and also working on some other gifts that I have to make. I have some new ideas too for projects and will get busy with them.
It is raining a bit today, but I hear that in the states that many people are experiencing snow. It will only be a matter of time now before we also have a blanket here. I really don’t mind though, as I enjoy the winter as much as the summer.
I am invited for rappie pie dinner today. Rappie pie (or Rapture Pie as some call it) is an Acadian dish of chicken and ground potatoes and when made correctly, is absolutely incredible. I live here on what is called the French Shore of Nova Scotia which is rich in Acadian history. Many people are ancestors of the settlers who arrived here 400 years ago and there are so many people named ‘Comeau’ here that they even named the neighboring town ‘Comeauville’. My friends that I am seeing are descendants of some of those original settlers and it is sure to be a wonderful time. Good food and good company. What better way to spend a Sunday?
-- Contributing Editor, Creative Woodworks and Crafts, Sheila Landry Designs http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com "Knowledge is Power"