Quantcast
  • We invite you to join UKWorkshop.
    Members can turn off viewing Ads!

Purple Heart

UKworkshop.co.uk

Help Support UKworkshop.co.uk:

como

Established Member
Joined
13 Jun 2005
Messages
149
Reaction score
0
Location
Sheffield, UK
Hello all,

This is my first posting on your fine forum.

I bought some purple heart this weekend, a couple of 2x2 lengths about 2 foot long. I had no real plan in mind when I bought it I just liked the look of it. It's 50% white and 50% purple and looks stunning.
I've been thinking maybe a could make a picture frame or a couple of small boxes from it, however I've read that purple heart can be a pain to work with and is likely to dull any blade a put near it.
Has anyone else had any experience with the stuff and is it really as difficult to work with as I've been led to believe.
Also, does anyone have any other project idea's I could use it for.
 

Philly

Established Member
Joined
24 Nov 2003
Messages
6,874
Reaction score
0
Location
Dorset, England.
Hi Como
I have used Purpleheart a bit-it certainly is a pretty cool looking timber!
It can be a bit mean on your tools but nothing to worry about too much. It is difficult to plane so sanding to a finish is recomended. Here's a link to a chest of drawers I built using purpleheart- http://www.philsville.co.uk/mapledrawers.htm
And welcome to the forum!
Cheers
Philly :D
 

como

Established Member
Joined
13 Jun 2005
Messages
149
Reaction score
0
Location
Sheffield, UK
Thanks for the welcome guys, and thanks for the link to your website Philly, I really enjoyed browsing through it and the chest of drawers look great.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
I got hold of a small amount of purple heart and used it for the lid of a box and boy it was hard to plane even with a LN sharp as sharp can be blade. I ended up using my scraper to reasonable effect and managed to burn my fingertips as well. It IS a very difficult wood to smooth but looks great.
 

ydb1md

Established Member
Joined
6 Apr 2005
Messages
634
Reaction score
0
Location
Maryland
So is purpleheart one of those woods that you shouldn't even try to plane smooth? Even with a york pitch (or greater) setup?
 

Philly

Established Member
Joined
24 Nov 2003
Messages
6,874
Reaction score
0
Location
Dorset, England.
NO, it can be planed. 60 degree plus is the angle to use though, if my experiences are anything to go by. It certainly is a good test of your hand plane............
Happy hunting,
Philly :D
 

MikeW

Established Member
Joined
15 Apr 2005
Messages
1,933
Reaction score
0
Location
Forest Grove, Oregon USA
ydb1md":3b7g4rav said:
So is purpleheart one of those woods that you shouldn't even try to plane smooth? Even with a york pitch (or greater) setup?
Hi ydb,

I use PH quite a bit. It is really a family of species, not a single one. As with most timber sold, owing to this, there is a great variablity in the working properties, even concerning the issue of it retaining its color.

Some of the wood sold as PH is, well, purple in the beginning and over time turns a muddy brown. Some find the change very unappealing. I don't if the finish is one that enhance color to begin with, such as shellac.

But some of the wood sold as PH is muddy brown to begin with and as the oxidization occurs it turns purple. This is the variety I typically find locally, though the other is also sold.

Regardless of type, it can be difficult to plane without some tearout. But it can be done. For small boxes made with it I usually begin with my old Sargent #4 set for a moderate to thin shaving. Thereafter it is the Knight smoothers or a Preston infill. Nice thin shavings.

But like a lot of exotics, it will dull a blade faster than a domestic wood. One way to know it is time to swap planes, change blades or simply hone the blade is when you are either tempted to increase the depth of cut, push down or along harder, or just the quality of shavings is lessening.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
I've used quite a lot of purpleheart as it is/was really cheap in the USA. Ran some through a shaper to make a raised panel and the shaper burnished it to a fabulous finish. It does turn brown with age, though, as some of my original pieces from 10+ years ago can testify -- even so, they still do look purple, just not as purple as they were!

The one time I really messed up was not having a really sharp blade in the tablesaw when ripping a strip. It burned the wood, and that was really hard to get out. It would have been easier to go and buy another board - or a jointer!!!

FWIW purpleheart and hard maple complement each other beautifully.
 

MikeW

Established Member
Joined
15 Apr 2005
Messages
1,933
Reaction score
0
Location
Forest Grove, Oregon USA
White House Workshop":2htdeeyn said:
...FWIW purpleheart and hard maple complement each other beautifully.
Hi Brian,

PH and quarter-sawn white oak does as well. Same with pairing it with sycamore. The figure in both those woods combined with their relative paleness play well against the relatively obscured grain and richness in PH.

In that respect, I have a couple boards of curly PH that have sat here for a couple years waiting for a project. Don't know what it'll be paired with. Probably it'll be the sycamore, but...I don't know.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
I have a couple boards of curly PH
Hi Mike. Where did you get that? I've never seen it - PH tends to be very straight grain in my experience. Must look great - and will be a pig to work no doubt!

One of my favourite woods is red birch - plentiful in MA, but you can't get decent birch in the UK for love nor money. With a lot of hand finishing it looks totally fantastic - but don't put it anywhere near a planer! I have two 8x1 boards in the shop, each about 4-5' long, waiting for the right project that needs beautiful figuring.
 

MikeW

Established Member
Joined
15 Apr 2005
Messages
1,933
Reaction score
0
Location
Forest Grove, Oregon USA
White House Workshop":33fwjmh6 said:
I have a couple boards of curly PH
Hi Mike. Where did you get that? I've never seen it - PH tends to be very straight grain in my experience...
Hi again...I purchase most of my figured woods from Gilmer Wood Company in Portland, Oregon--quite fortunate for me they are just under a small travel cup of coffee from where I live :) .

Here is their web site:
Gilmer Wood Company

But it is a bad, bad place to visit. Bad enough on the web I suspect, but really bad in person. They have so much stock that isn't to be found on their web site.

Right now, my wife and I are lusting over the first entry on this page...

And that is one of the reasons why it such an evil place. I mean, it's bad enough when there is one person in a family that lusts for wood, try both of us! No checks and balances :) .
 
Top