LumberJocks

my purpleheart ain't purple!!

  • Advertise with us

« back to Wood & Lumber forum

Forum topic by intheshop posted 984 days ago 2892 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View intheshop's profile

intheshop

47 posts in 1436 days


984 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: question

I bought a piece of purpleheart the other day, and the faces of it are a deep purple (excuse the inadverntent reference to the great ‘70s rock band, please). But when I cut into this board, it is essentially brown. I turned a couple of pens with it, and they are just brown as well. What gives??

-- Cole - Rydal, GA


15 replies so far

View ShaneA's profile (online now)

ShaneA

5252 posts in 1196 days


#1 posted 984 days ago

It is known to dull, and lose the purple color over time and sun light exposure. Strange that it would be purple on outside and browner on inside. Hopefully someone can give insight as to why/how that happened.

View mpmitche's profile

mpmitche

395 posts in 1574 days


#2 posted 984 days ago

Purpleheart is very odd with its coloring. When new wood is exposed it is brown but it will turn purple again. I’m not sure if it is light or oxygen that changes it but it will come back. On the other hand it may turn black or grey over a long period of time. It is also difficult to keep looking good when finished. I built my daughter a trinket box and tested oil, shellac, varnish, and wax on some test pieces. All the finishes drastically changed the color and in my mind ruined the color. The wax was the best but still not satisfactory. I finally gave her the box untreated. She has had it in a dark place in her room for about a year and it still looks very good.

-- Mike, Western New York

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

1640 posts in 1520 days


#3 posted 984 days ago

when I cut purple heart and it turns brown I just set it out in the sun for a few hours and it goes back to purple. I think it is the heat that does it.

-- In God We Trust

View intheshop's profile

intheshop

47 posts in 1436 days


#4 posted 984 days ago

Thanks all, for your insight.

-- Cole - Rydal, GA

View mpmitche's profile

mpmitche

395 posts in 1574 days


#5 posted 984 days ago

You may be right Jim, I’ve heard that putting it in the oven can change the color as well. Never tried it though.

-- Mike, Western New York

View superstretch's profile

superstretch

1482 posts in 1291 days


#6 posted 983 days ago

An oven will bring out the color and make it bolder.

All the purple heart I’ve worked with seems to work like this:

newly exposed surfaces are gray or tan.. After a few hours to a day in the sun, it changes back to purple and keeps getting darker and darker (after years of exposure) until it is a dark, featureless brown.

Be careful when sanding/cutting. The heat can bring out the color, but any burning is a huge pain to get rid of.

-- Dan, Rochester, NY

View Jeff in Huntersville's profile

Jeff in Huntersville

398 posts in 1792 days


#7 posted 983 days ago

Once the purple color returns polyurethane will maintain the color. At least it does on projects I’ve done that are a few years old and kept inside.

View ChuckV's profile

ChuckV

2377 posts in 2125 days


#8 posted 983 days ago

Here is just another personal experience. A box that I made almost four years ago has purpleheart on the lid. I finished it with Danish Oil. It is inside, out of the sun, and is still purple.

-- “That it will never come again / Is what makes life so sweet. ” ― Emily Dickinson

View KenBee's profile

KenBee

108 posts in 1233 days


#9 posted 982 days ago

That is like my White Oak. It is brown and no where near white and my Red Oak is tan, Black Walnut is deep brown and the list goes on.

-- If it won't fit get a BIGGER hammer.

View reggiek's profile

reggiek

2240 posts in 1868 days


#10 posted 982 days ago

As for why it is browner on the inside would relate to where this cut was taken from the tree. The heartwood is the purple color….the sapwood is browner as it is more exposed to the sun and elements. I would suspect that you got a piece of mostly sapwood…with a bit of heart on the edge. Purpleheart is pretty solid to begin with, so I would think that the sapwood (being softer) is still pretty solid. Of course it is not that vibrant purple color….but is still good to go for whatever you want to use if for.

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

View Andy123's profile

Andy123

226 posts in 1072 days


#11 posted 980 days ago

I sit mine in a window in my shop and within a day it will turn purple again.

-- The mistakes I make in woodworking are not mistakes they just give my projects character- Me

View thedude50's profile

thedude50

3503 posts in 1076 days


#12 posted 980 days ago

id putt my 2 bits worth bit the topic seems well covered i was told by my wood guy to put the project under a tanning bed and it will turn color it worked on my project 2 hours in the bed and it was dark purple from ugly brown

-- when I am not on Lumberjocks I am on @ http://thisoldworkshop.com where we allow free speech

View Tennessee's profile

Tennessee

1447 posts in 1112 days


#13 posted 979 days ago

I’m surprised about the sunshine thing. When I cut it for my guitars, it does the gray/brown thing, and I just leave it on the bench in my dark shop for a couple days and it’s bright purple again. Once coated with lacquer or poly, it seems to stay the same. I’ve been told it’s a reaction between the purpleheart oil and the oxygen in the air. Now I’m confused, but I do know mine is always purple when I coat it, and I have guitars out there two years in purpleheart that are still bright purple.

-- Paul, Tennessee, http://www.tsunamiguitars.com

View ChuckC's profile

ChuckC

679 posts in 1533 days


#14 posted 979 days ago

To add one more thing: If you use a water based PU the purple color will last longer. Anything oil will darken it. I use Minwax water based PU and then wax it afterwards. Good luck!

Coincidentally, I cut some purpleheart last night and I am now waiting for the brown to switch to purple again..

View intheshop's profile

intheshop

47 posts in 1436 days


#15 posted 979 days ago

Thanks for all the input guys. I’ve noticed it is getting a little “purpler” the last few days.

-- Cole - Rydal, GA

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

GardenTenders.com :: gardening showcase