Cutting Purpleheart

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Forum topic by nancyann posted 03-21-2013 07:04 AM 1864 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View nancyann's profile


106 posts in 2035 days

03-21-2013 07:04 AM

I worked with purple heart for the first time and it was a doosy! I finished the dragonfly shelf using a number 2 tlb blade, and found myself going through quite a few blades, because the wood was so hard! LOL

Can anyone tell me what blades to use that holds up to this wood? I used 1/2” thick, and not only did the blades give out quickly, but also had some burning, which required sanding.

Thanks in advance.

-- Nancy Antley

10 replies so far

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9237 posts in 3062 days

#1 posted 03-21-2013 03:41 PM

I answered on your other post. :)


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View RussellAP's profile


3104 posts in 2428 days

#2 posted 03-21-2013 05:26 PM

Feed it slower, let the blade do the work.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View tjride's profile


8 posts in 2068 days

#3 posted 03-21-2013 05:32 PM

I typically use a #5 Ultra Reverse blade and cut a little slower than usual. But the biggest help is with the use of packing tape over the pattern. The packing tape acts like a lubricant and really helps greatly. So far I have cut up to 1” with no problems once I got it figured out.

I just realized you had 2 posts on this and Sheila answered your concerns on the other post..


-- TJ

View BikerDad's profile


347 posts in 3743 days

#4 posted 03-21-2013 08:43 PM

Wow!! That’s some pretty sweet work there. I LOVE me my purpleheart, but haven’t done anything like that. I have a Rigid Scrollsaw (it was sorta-kinda free), is it likely to be up to that level of work, assuming I build the skill, or is that something that really calls for a step up in scrollsaw quality?

-- I'm happier than a tornado in a trailer park! Grace & Peace.

View Woodbum's profile


826 posts in 3207 days

#5 posted 03-21-2013 08:51 PM

Beautiful work!! In my experience with purpleheart, you will always get some burning of sorts. I am not the best scroll saw producer in the world, but as a box maker (among others) I enjoy the look and the hardness of the species, but hate the burning. Sharp tools, not so sharp tools-fast feed rate, slow feed rate etc., just prepare for some sanding or scraping. Keep up the good work. You have waaaaay more patience and better eyes than I.

-- "Now I'm just another old guy wearing funny clothes"

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 3450 days

#6 posted 03-21-2013 10:08 PM

I don’t use a scroll saw but have worked with purpleheart numerous times. Not sure if they have carbide blades for scroll saws…but if so I would try them.

View Bayman's profile


7 posts in 2459 days

#7 posted 04-21-2013 08:56 PM

That’s a very hard dense wood…

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 3727 days

#8 posted 04-21-2013 09:37 PM

I have never had a problem with purpleheart but then I never owned such a big piece nice work.Alistair

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

View nancyann's profile


106 posts in 2035 days

#9 posted 04-22-2013 03:46 PM

I took William’s advise and purchased Flying Dutchman blades, and the FD-UR No. 3 worked great on the 1/2” purpleheart.

Thanks William!

-- Nancy Antley

View jordanp's profile


1086 posts in 2082 days

#10 posted 04-22-2013 05:05 PM

I had the same problem with a smaller piece made from Tzalam and Cocobolo but I think their Janka hardness is very close to Purpleheart. I had to slow way down “like RussellAP said” and let the blade do the work.

There again all I was doing was cutting a curve into a small piece but it was on my scroll saw and I did slow down to about 1/10th of my normal cutting speed i operate at on softer woods.

Nice work by the way.

-- J. Palmer Woodworks - Rockwall TX -I woke up this morning thinking “man, I really hope someone posted some soul scarring sh*t on LJs today.” -- - Billy

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