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Purple heart color stability

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Forum topic by Danpaddles posted 11-19-2013 11:35 PM 836 views 1 time favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Danpaddles

539 posts in 978 days


11-19-2013 11:35 PM

Just finished a pretty little box with a purple heart lid. I swear, my purple heart board is darker then it was a year or two back. And when I cut it, there was no brown showing on the new cut edge. Other times I have seen the brown, first time it happened, there was a bit of brown in my shorts I think, worried about the color. Of course, after a few days the color came back. This time- no brown at all!

And I am concerned about the color holding up over time. Does varnish protect the pretty purple color better than Watco Danish oil? The last box I did, that I kept, has turned brown, there is no purple left at all. But it has sat in a South facing window. Would it be better if it was kept out of the sun, or would the color have changed anyway? Far as I remember, all I used to finish was my beloved Watco, with a coat or two of wax over that.

Thanks for your educated input!

-- Dan V. in Indy


16 replies so far

View mrjinx007's profile

mrjinx007

1535 posts in 433 days


#1 posted 11-19-2013 11:45 PM

Well, the sunlight has a way of darkening some wood like cherry and lightning some called greying like oak or cedar. The main think you want to look at is how ultraviolet lights react to various chemicals; in this case the chemicals the woods produce in their natural growth stage. If you want the natural colors to come back, sand a few millimeters and put a finish on it right away or keep the wood away from sunlight.
Best of luck.
mahdee

-- earthartandfoods.com

View Greg..the Cajun  Box Sculptor's profile

Greg..the Cajun Box Sculptor

5142 posts in 1974 days


#2 posted 11-19-2013 11:53 PM

I have never found a way to maintain the color of Purpleheart…it is going to turn brown regardless of the finish…unless there is some technique I have yet to learn about it can only be prolonged before the color change. I made a box using purpleheart and yellowheart a few years ago and the yellowheart color has remained constant but the box now looks like poo-poo heart & yellowheart.

Padauk also does this..it looses it beautiful deep rich red color over time and turns to a darker maroon color.

View Tennessee's profile

Tennessee

1447 posts in 1180 days


#3 posted 11-19-2013 11:54 PM

I’ve got some purple heart guitars out there for almost four years now, and no change in color. Coated with Minwax Natural and multiple coats of lacquer.

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

View richardwootton's profile

richardwootton

1275 posts in 621 days


#4 posted 11-20-2013 12:14 AM

I think there need to be some kind of UV protective layer on it in order to keep it from browning. I could be wrong about that, but perhaps some kind of a marine finish?

-- Richard, Hot Springs, Ar -- Galoot In Training

View Danpaddles's profile

Danpaddles

539 posts in 978 days


#5 posted 11-20-2013 12:46 AM

I think lacquer might be the key then. Out of time on this little box, but I have some scraps, maybe I’ll play around some.

It occurs to me that a guitar may spend a large percentage of the day closed away in a case?

Greg, do you recall what finish you might have used?

thanks guys.

-- Dan V. in Indy

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

2544 posts in 1017 days


#6 posted 11-20-2013 01:00 AM

Get some varnish with UV inhibitors, that will slow it down but not stop it from turning brown.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View bigblockyeti's profile

bigblockyeti

1614 posts in 387 days


#7 posted 11-20-2013 01:15 AM

I made a wine storage rack from purple heart over 5 years ago and finished it with lacquer. It still looks brilliantly purple with no browning at all, but it stays in the basement away from any UV light.

View poospleasures's profile

poospleasures

341 posts in 1150 days


#8 posted 11-20-2013 01:29 AM

Very interesting discussion. I appreciate the question and all the advice. I have not used much purple heart. Think I will make a project and use lacquer and try to keep it out UV for a while and see what happens. Thanks

-- I love the smell of sawdust in the morning. Vernon

View CharlieM1958's profile

CharlieM1958

15702 posts in 2884 days


#9 posted 11-20-2013 01:39 AM

Reading this post made me get up and go look at something. I have a stash of small boxes I have made over the years on a bookshelf in my garage. Because of how and where this book case is situated, these boxes get no natural light, and not all that much artificial light either. When i found the small purple heart box I was looking for, sure enough, it is now a rich dark brown in color. For what it’s worth, wipe-on poly was the finish.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View stefang's profile (online now)

stefang

13101 posts in 2000 days


#10 posted 11-20-2013 10:14 AM

Based on Charlies experience it must be an oxidation process rather than a UV problem. Maybe the lacquer stops that.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Dutchy's profile

Dutchy

517 posts in 834 days


#11 posted 11-20-2013 11:30 AM

Hello,

I like this discussion, can learn from it. Thank you.

-- My englisch is bad but how is your dutch?

View 12strings's profile

12strings

411 posts in 1050 days


#12 posted 11-20-2013 01:15 PM

I have some 4 year-old purpleheart, a handplane, a mallet head, and some scraps, all have been in a garage, unexposed to sunlight, and all are still purple…darker, than freshly cut, but purple still. The tools were finished with tung oil only…but even the scraps still have purple hue…Perhaps it is the lack of sunlight…

-- I'm strictly hand-tool only...unless the power tool is faster and easier!

View Woodbum's profile

Woodbum

455 posts in 1731 days


#13 posted 11-20-2013 08:08 PM

Like Greg, I have a purpleheart and yellowheart box that I made and gave to my wife. It sits on her dresser and does not get direct sunlight, but our bedroom is very bright in the afternoons. I sprayed it with three coats of good old NC Sherwin Williams lacquer almost 15 years ago. I used a 15:1 mix of lacquer: retarder Go figure, but it is still purple. I also made a box for a client with purpleheart that I finished with a water based finish that I got from Highland Woodworking. It turned dark brown shortly thereafter. Maybe it is the lacquer.

-- Improvidus, Apto quod Victum-- Improvise, Adapt, Overcome

View bobasaurus's profile

bobasaurus

1271 posts in 1850 days


#14 posted 11-20-2013 08:36 PM

It will darken with age by oxidation regardless of the finish, but some purple hue will always remain. However, sunlight will turn it dark brown quickly. As others have said, a UV-protectant finish will help. I’ve used helmsman spare urethane for this purpose before.

-- Allen, Colorado

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

1684 posts in 1588 days


#15 posted 11-21-2013 03:07 PM

Dutchy:........ I like your tag line/ signature!

-- In God We Trust

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