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Purpleheart, now kinda looking like greyheart

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Forum topic by Abbynormal posted 1326 days ago 1240 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Abbynormal

34 posts in 1334 days


1326 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: question purpleheart

I picked up a nice purple looking piece of purpleheart to make some cutting boards out of (of course). After ripping / sanding that nice purple color that the board had is more grey / brown. I tossed a coat of poly on a scrap piece still not getting that nice purple the board had before. Is this normal, do I need to let the board age or something or maybe i just got a bad piece, first time working with this type of wood.

Thanks !


15 replies so far

View araldite's profile

araldite

187 posts in 1902 days


#1 posted 1326 days ago

Purpleheart looses it’s color with age, so it’s not going to get any better.

-- Failure is the road to success if you learn to learn from your mistakes - Vince, Greenville, SC

View Mark's profile

Mark

1787 posts in 1772 days


#2 posted 1326 days ago

the purple heart turns purple from exposure so if its freshly cut it’ll take a few days before its purple again

-- My purpose in life: Making sawdust

View dub560's profile

dub560

606 posts in 1411 days


#3 posted 1326 days ago

wow that’s news to me(never worked with that wood)

thanks for the post

-- Life is enjoyable especially when you borrow from people

View Abbynormal's profile

Abbynormal

34 posts in 1334 days


#4 posted 1325 days ago

thanks all, will let it sit for a couple of days

View richgreer's profile

richgreer

4520 posts in 1573 days


#5 posted 1325 days ago

Purple heart looses its color with age as araldite said. You can slow it down with a good preservative, but you cannot stop it. Note – Padauk does the same thing.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View ghazard's profile

ghazard

379 posts in 2008 days


#6 posted 1324 days ago

Set it in a room with sunlight…doesn’t have to be direct sunlight. It is the UV in sunlight that turns it purple after it is fresh cut. So, if your garage or shop is windowless like mine…move it into the house and in a day or 2 it will be nice and purple!

good luck

Greg

-- "Hey, you dang woodchucks! Quit chuckin' my wood!"

View SteveMI's profile

SteveMI

837 posts in 1793 days


#7 posted 1323 days ago

I have some purple heart, but have not committed it to a project due to some of the stories about color loss. Lets see of I can put two thoughts together.

If I let it have UV after getting it to my final shape/position, the maximum purple color will come out and then good preservative right after that will keep its purple the longest?

Rich – oil base, water base, poly, BLO, mineral oil… which is best or worst for purple heart color in your experience?

Steve.

View HokieMojo's profile

HokieMojo

2094 posts in 2226 days


#8 posted 1323 days ago

No one appears to have had my experience. Purpleheart can sometimes turn grey right after cutting/sanding. Leave it exposed to air for a while and the purple color will come back. As time progresse4s though, that purple should turn to a REALLY rich brown color that with a slight purple undertone. Using a film finish will help to slow the change as well as keeping it out of direct light. Applying oils can sometimes cause the purple to rurn brown faster too. Hope this helps.

View Benighted's profile

Benighted

57 posts in 1360 days


#9 posted 1323 days ago

Some UV and oxygen and it should only take a couple of days for it to turn nice and purple again… After it has oxidized its probably a good idea to protect it with a finish that contains UV blockers and restricts oxygen access so that the pigments are protected from further oxidation, I don’t have any longterm experience with this wood. You can also bake Purpleheart in a oven to get a stronger and more even coloration (if it has very dark resinous lines)... I don’t remember the recipe but find it if you wish…

It’s really fascinating to see the transformation from a really boring graybrown wood to a brown with a purplish tint to a full blown purple wood in a couple of days in a sunny airy placement.

-- Jani, a Neanderthal woodworker in Sweden.

View derosa's profile

derosa

1467 posts in 1334 days


#10 posted 1322 days ago

The folks at the lumber place i bought mine at said to avoid UV light which can bleach it grey and to use a UV protective finish. From using it the last 8 months the stuff seems to darken best in my poorly lit basement.
I’ve also read that heating it in the oven can bring out the purple some more. Supposedly various temps and times will also result in a navy blue, dark brown and an ebony looking wood. I’ll be experimenting with this when it isn’t 90 out since I need a blue wood.

-- --Rev. Russ in NY-- A posse ad esse

View jusfine's profile

jusfine

2280 posts in 1424 days


#11 posted 1322 days ago

I have had the same experience as Hokie.

It sands, planes, cuts to a slightly different color, but within a few days exposure to air / light, purple comes back.

Depending on the grade of the lumber, it can remain very bright for years without fading, other pieces I have used have faded measurably over a year.

-- Randy "You are judged as much by the questions you ask as the answers you give..."

View degoose's profile

degoose

6881 posts in 1853 days


#12 posted 1311 days ago

There are so many variables… but leave it out in UV light for a few days and then finish it with a sealer or oil and hope for the best… the worst that can happen is it will turn a great shade of chocolate brown with time… and they is not a bad thing either… that said … I have had project that are a few years old and they are still bright.. others have changed in a few months…
Hope this is of help..

-- Drink twice... and don't bother to cut... @ lazylarrywoodworks.com.au For lovers of all things timber...

View Jim Crockett (USN Retired)'s profile

Jim Crockett (USN Retired)

852 posts in 2231 days


#13 posted 1310 days ago

I did a bit of research on purpleheart when I used it a while back. When you cut/sand/plane purpleheart, the purple will turn a dull, grayish color (maybe). There are a couple dozen different genus of trees that qualify to be called purpleheart; some stay purple while most turn the grayish/purple color when worked. I find that if I leave it sitting in my shop for several days to a week, the purple returns. I left one piece in the back window ledge of my car to expose it to a great deal of UV – didn’t hasten the return to purple at all. So I have doubts about UV helping to change the color back to purple after you have worked the wood.

But, purpleheart will gradually turn to brown after being finished and left in the sunshine (again, maybe). I have talked to people who report that they have purpleheart furniture that is in a room that gets sunshine and it hasn’t changed color appreciably in 8-10 years. This is with a finish of polyurethane – no significant UV blockers. Again, I imagine this imagine on exactly which tree genus you get when you buy your purpleheart. And from what I could discover, there is no way to tell which genus you get when you buy it.

As for ‘cooking’ it – I have read that this does work but you probably don’t want to do it when your sweetie is going to be home because it reportedly smells awful.

Hope that this helps.

Jim

-- A veteran is someone who, at one point in his/her life, wrote a blank check made payable to "The United States of America," for an amount of "up to and including his/her life".

View millmgr's profile

millmgr

27 posts in 1611 days


#14 posted 1297 days ago

I have heard that using a UV inhibitor like Armorall in the finishing process will keep the purple color in Purpleheart and the blood red color in padauk. Do not have personal experience to back it up.

View Chip's profile

Chip

1904 posts in 2591 days


#15 posted 1297 days ago

Millmgr is right but it just slows it down… doesn’t stop it completely… sadly.

-- Better to say nothing and be thought the fool... then to speak and erase all doubt!

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