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Purpleheart wood

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Forum topic by loosecaboose posted 05-26-2011 03:07 PM 3226 views 0 times favorited 20 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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loosecaboose

19 posts in 2119 days


05-26-2011 03:07 PM

This is my first time to work with purpleheart wood. That is really hard wood. I had to drill a hole, and found smoke. It burned while using a jigsaw to remove a small piece of waste. Its is not just hard, its HARD! I am going slower with all power tools for the rest of the project.

-- Tom, Baldwin City, KS


20 replies so far

View lew's profile

lew

11336 posts in 3216 days


#1 posted 05-26-2011 04:47 PM

It will give you some nasty splinters, too!

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

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Bertha

13003 posts in 2154 days


#2 posted 05-26-2011 04:51 PM

I know a little bit about this fickle mistress.

It’s SOOOOOOO hard. So hard. I lost a couple years of my life making this humidor.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

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richgreer

4541 posts in 2536 days


#3 posted 05-26-2011 05:17 PM

Yes, it is a very hard wood, but there are lots of woods that are just as hard. Padouk, Goncola Alves and Ipé are just 3 examples. They will all dull your tools quickly.

Advice on purpleheart – Be aware that its color will change over time and it will eventually be a dull brownish color. With a good finish and keeping it out of the sun you can slow the process down, but you cannot stop it.

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

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Bertha

13003 posts in 2154 days


#4 posted 05-26-2011 05:21 PM

Rich is right. Ipe’s an animal. Purpleheart is really not a favorite of mine, but I was looking for something incredibly hard and heavy for R-factor purposes, if you will. I finished this case with 5 coats of 0.5lb shellac, followed by 10 coats of wipe on poly, followed by Renaissance wax. This picture is 4 years after it’s birth and the color seems to be holding under the finish. I wonder if it has something to do with the 1+” thickness? I honestly don’t know if thicker pieces hold their color longer. I’ve had purpleheart pens turn boring brown very rapidly.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

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DLCW

530 posts in 2115 days


#5 posted 05-26-2011 07:22 PM

I’ve found purpleheart to be really good for inlay and accent work (but don’t use it near other dark woods as it will disappear when it goes brown). Other then that it is just to hard, burns to much and adds a lot of time to a project because of sanding needed to remove the burns. Like Rich said, it will eventually turn a dull brown color. Large projects made from purpleheart will loose the original beauty of the purple wood and start to look more like dark cherry. The same goes padouk, in the beginning when it has the neat orange color too it, but it too will turn brown over time. Bubinga is also a very hard wood and doesn’t have these chameleon properties – it maintains its color over time.

-- Don, Diamond Lake Custom Woodworks - http://www.dlwoodworks.com - "If you make something idiot proof, all they do is make a better idiot"

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Bertha

13003 posts in 2154 days


#6 posted 05-26-2011 08:22 PM

^Bubinga also occasionally has some beatiful streaks of color that persist. I really like bubinga.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

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Don Johnson

651 posts in 2242 days


#7 posted 05-27-2011 12:50 AM

Some years ago when I had no real woodworking experience, but was just doing a little woodturning, I got some purpleheart. When I mentioned to the maintenance man at the company where I was a director that I was finding it impossible to cut it into blocks for turning pot-porri pots, he told me it would be easy for him to cut it on his big table saw.

Not sure what he did, but somehow he broke his arm in the process. ( We didn’t tell the MD (CEO) how it happened ! )

I’ve had a great deal of respect for this wood ever since.

. . . . . never did make any purpleheart pots !

-- Don, Somerset UK, http://www.donjohnson24.co.uk

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loosecaboose

19 posts in 2119 days


#8 posted 05-27-2011 03:21 AM

Amen on the splinters, Lew.
I am a mason and am making the emblem of square and compasses, with the letter G from the purpleheart wood. Thanks for the info of the color fading. It will be indoors away from the sun light for a year, which is all we need it for, but then it will be mine. So I will try to maintain the color as long as possible. Thanks!

-- Tom, Baldwin City, KS

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scrappy

3506 posts in 2891 days


#9 posted 05-27-2011 07:16 AM

Purpleheart is tough on turning tools also. Had to sharpen several times in this one turning.

On the color change…..Turned this bowl 626 days ago and it is still just as purple as when I finished it.
http://lumberjocks.com/projects/21051

-- Scrap Wood's the best...the projects are smaller, and so is the mess!

View McKinneyMike's profile

McKinneyMike

80 posts in 2122 days


#10 posted 05-27-2011 12:07 PM

For something really unique, try fuming Purpleheart with 26% aqua ammonia :) It turns a cranberry color that I personally find quite nice. As always extreme care must be taken when using this chemical. The tannins in Purpleheart are what cause the color change, just as White Oak tannins cause its color change that Stickley found so popular years ago.

-- McKinney Hardwood Lumber --Specializing in exotic and figured hardwood lumber http://www.mckinneyhardwoods.com -McKinney, TX

View derosa's profile

derosa

1568 posts in 2297 days


#11 posted 05-27-2011 05:09 PM

I tried using it with the router (no speed settings) and never had luck with making anything other then splinters but really enjoy it as an accent piece. I also like the finished results in end grain cutting boards.

I found with the drill press it was necessary to constantly move the bit in and out of the wood to keep it cool and bought new bandsaw blades to work it to minimize the burning.

McKinney, I’ve also heard that through slow heating in the oven that blues and black can be obtained but she who must be obeyed said no to experimenting.

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

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Bertha

13003 posts in 2154 days


#12 posted 05-27-2011 05:16 PM

McKinney, thanks for that tip! Purpleheart’s already taken its pound of flesh from me but I’d be interested in seeing this fuming. I have a general dislike for oak but that green-grey NH3 fuming of Stickley fame is hard to argue with:)

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

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SCOTSMAN

5839 posts in 3046 days


#13 posted 05-27-2011 07:51 PM

Purpleheart is one of my favourite woods.I like it when used especially on smaller stuff projects but,I would love to see some bigger stuff made with it .It seems to be very expensive here in the UK is it expensive also in the USA ? Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

13003 posts in 2154 days


#14 posted 05-27-2011 08:21 PM

It’s not cheap here, Allistair, but it’s not horrible. I think I paid around $6/BF when I made my humidor.

I don’t sell anything on my website. It’s just a repository for pictures really, so PLEASE no one attack me for “advertising”. That being said, you can see the step-by-step construction of the humidor here.

http://www.berthacombat.com/new_page_1.htm

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View cloakie1's profile

cloakie1

204 posts in 2016 days


#15 posted 05-29-2011 09:08 AM

i have been told it bleeds pretty bad as well so probably needs a timberlock product on it….partically if being used out doors….nice to look at but a bitch to work…scraping rather than sanding to finish it???

-- just get stuck in and have a go!!!

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