possibly could be the uses for a purple-coloured wood? Billiard
cue butts, gym equipment and chemical vats, to name a few. This
wood has a wide variety of craft uses from the practical to the
sublime. It is sliced for decorative veneers and used in cabinetry
and furniture, sculpture, turnery and marquetry and has a variety
of specialty uses that includes diving boards, skis or filter press
Purple heart wood is also used to make parquet and traditional
flooring, tool handles and even for marine & bridge building.
Your imagination is the only limitation.
The Tree: Leguminosae Family
Includes 20 species of Peltogyne, and has been called amaranth,
violetwood, tananeo and saka depending on what country you are visiting.
Found in Central and South America, this exotic wood is a worldwide
favorite. Tall and large trees grow abundantly, sometimes reaching
a diameter of five feet with clear knot free log lengths typical.
We have customers that own a saw mill in Mexico, and tell us that
their neighbours frequently use it for exterior steps because it
is very resistant to attack by fungi and dry-wood termites
Purpleheart has a creamy white/gray sapwood but like its name suggests,
the heartwood is a bright, striking purple when freshly cut, darkening
into a deeper purple with age. It has a medium to fine texture with
a luster that ranges from medium to high; its grain is usually straight
but can be wavy or irregular. Purpleheart has high bending and crushing
strength and stiffness with medium resistance to shock loads. A
great feature when used as truck decking.
Weight: 50-70 lbs/cuft.:
a very broad range of weight depending on origin of lumber.
Purpleheart has a moderate to severe blunting effect on tools; sharp,
high speed steel knives therefore are recommended as are 15 degree
cutting angles. It can be somewhat difficult to work with using
either hand or machine tools.
Some wood seems to be relatively soft textured and easy to cut
and other wood has been so hard it burns all your tools, so there
is a high degree of variability in cutting characteristics, depending
on the piece of wood or possibly the exact species of Peltogyne
that you received. Watch particularly carefully the grain direction
on planing any wood that shows an interlocking grain. It has a nasty
habit of tearing out when you least expect it.
Purpleheart is rated moderate for steam bending if you read the
text books but I'm afraid I've not tested it personnally.
Pre-drilling purple heart wood is always recommended. I find the
wood quite brittle especially if drilling close to the end of a
board. It is likely to split so tighten screws with caution.
It does rate highly for turnery though and with sharp chisels can
come to a beautiful sheen. Watch for burning while routing as it
is pretty easy to burn if your cutter is dull or you're going too
slow. Burn marks are very difficult to remove from purpleheart.