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Purpleheart turns brown

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Forum topic by willhime posted 01-12-2018 07:20 AM 575 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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willhime

107 posts in 1561 days


01-12-2018 07:20 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question tip trick purpleheart finishing

I’m wondering if there’s a reason my purpleheart turned brown when I applied beeswax to it. You can see on the handle the parts where I sanded the least remained purple but the rest just turned a boring chocolate brown color. Is dust from my orbital sander bag impregnating the purple ? It seems unlikely. I had the same thing happen to me on a mallet I made out of ipe wood. I made one for a friend and it stained the normal pretty burgundy color but on the one I made for myself it just stained a chocolate brown as well.

-- Burn your fire for no witness


7 replies so far

View Bob5103's profile

Bob5103

88 posts in 855 days


#1 posted 01-12-2018 12:13 PM

Brown or a very dark maroon is the “normal” color for purpleheart. There is a ton of good information here about trying to control the color: http://www.hobbithouseinc.com/personal/woodpics/purpleheart.htm

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Tennessee

2873 posts in 2536 days


#2 posted 01-12-2018 12:54 PM

I’ve used purpleheart extensively in some of my guitars and other things.
I’ve always found that if you get a brown color from cutting or sanding, just let it sit about a day in open air, and the oxygen in the air will turn it purple again. I’ve done this many times, and it always works. Not sunlight, just open air, like on the bench in your shop.

I know I have guitars out there that I build 5-6 years ago with purpleheart, finished in Tru-Oil or Lacquer, and they are still purple. Darkened maybe a bit, but still purple.
Have no idea why beeswax would turn it brown, but I bet if you wiped it off with a bit of alcohol, it would turn purple again.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View shipwright's profile

shipwright

7992 posts in 2820 days


#3 posted 01-12-2018 03:21 PM

Purpleheart is brown inside. Only the outside bit is purple and you sanded through that. As Tennessee says, if left alone a day or two it will “bloom” purple again. ....... and then slowly head in the direction of deep red brown over time.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees. http://thecanadianschooloffrenchmarquetry.com/

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bbasiaga

1234 posts in 2017 days


#4 posted 01-12-2018 03:27 PM

I saw a video online where a guy used the heat from a propane torch to accelerate the oxidation of the purple heart and turn it purple again in seconds. It was on a turned piece so it was easier to keep the heat moving evenly. Don’t try it on the per now that there is beeswax on it. The wax will ignite. Don’t put it in the oven either.

If it waspurple immediately before waxing, it is possible something re acted with the purple pigment.

Brian

-- Part of engineering is to know when to put your calculator down and pick up your tools.

View splintergroup's profile

splintergroup

2069 posts in 1244 days


#5 posted 01-12-2018 03:55 PM

PH will do what it wants. As with most colorful woods, the intense colors will react to exposure from air and UV light. There is usually a short term (few days) effect and then a long term (years) effect. I have read that PH usually turns brown long term, but occasionally there are pieces that retain the purple, although muted from the original.

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AlmostRetired

211 posts in 736 days


#6 posted 01-12-2018 05:20 PM

I’m with bbasiaga about the heat. I read it somewhere and tried it on a cutting board I made for my wife’s grandmother and it came out great. Slowly used a dewalt heat gun to bloom that color back out….still bright purple today after applying some salad bowl finish.

View mramseyISU's profile

mramseyISU

534 posts in 1567 days


#7 posted 01-12-2018 09:26 PM



PH will do what it wants. As with most colorful woods, the intense colors will react to exposure from air and UV light. There is usually a short term (few days) effect and then a long term (years) effect. I have read that PH usually turns brown long term, but occasionally there are pieces that retain the purple, although muted from the original.

- splintergroup

That’s my experience as well. It turns brown right after I mill it and then it goes back to purple and eventually it turns brown again.

-- Trust me I'm an engineer.

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