Purple Heart

Discussion in 'Woodturning Discussion Forum' started by Pete Blair, Sep 19, 2017.

  1. Pete Blair

    Pete Blair

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    I was given some very nice smallish pieces of Purple Heart and then read all the threads etc I could find about attempting to maintain it's color. I am now more confused than ever. Has anyone have any conclusive results that they might share?
     
  2. John Torchick

    John Torchick

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    Can't help with your question but the first pen I turned in a class was with purpleheart. My wife claimed it before it came off the lathe. Love the color and grain.
     
  3. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    I'll put $2 on it turning brownish.

    Below are two purple heart tool handles the lower one is about 20 years old the upper about 10years old.

    These have never been in direct sunlight. IMG_4452.JPG
     
  4. John Torchick

    John Torchick

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    Is that $2 for Win, Place, or Show?
     
  5. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    The trifecta brown, browner, & brownest.
     
  6. john lucas

    john lucas

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    Purple heart turns brown as you turn it. When you expose it to ultraviolet light (the sun) It will turn purple again. It stays that way a long time but like many woods will eventually change color. I think it was Richard Raffen when talking about form being all important in a piece said all wood will eventually be barnwood gray to you better get the shape right. I don't have any purple heart that has been out in anything but indoor lighting and those pieces are all still purple.
     
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  7. Leo Van Der Loo

    Leo Van Der Loo

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    I have turned some Purple Heart and I did notice the color change, but the piece that did show the change was a larger box I made from White ash with a Purple Hearth lid, I made pictures 5 years after I had turned the piece.

    Made in 2003 and the pictures are from 2008, it shows the outside color of the lid and the inside color, the box stood inside our house and away from the windows, it still changed color.

    But the difference between the inside and outside is remarkable, and even the inside wasn’t as bright a color as when it was at one time after it was turned some time before, I assume that not only UV, but also oxidation plays a role in the discolouration, but can’t prove it of course.

    White Ash & Purple Heart.jpg Purple Heart lid.jpg Purple Heart lid inside.jpg
     
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  8. odie

    odie

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    That's what I've found, too, John........I've got a piece of purple heart lumber out in the shop that's been there for at least 30 years, and it's still very purple. I recently sold a purple heart platter, and I suspect it will eventually turn brown. My finished bowls are wrapped in plastic bags, and kept in a dark closet indoors. They don't see any light at all, so they don't get brown with age.

    -----odie-----

    1429 purple heart (5).JPG 1429 purple heart (4).JPG
     
  9. john lucas

    john lucas

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    The dishwasher is dark so tell people to store their bowls in the dishwasher after they use it to clean them and they will last, well not forever but you get to sell them a new bowl frequently.
     
  10. Pete Blair

    Pete Blair

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    Thanks people. I am a little disappointed. I had hoped someone would have chimed in and said there was a method to maintain the wonderful Purple color. I 'may' try adding a purple dye, I know it would be cheating but just hate the thought of loosing the beautiful color.
     
  11. john lucas

    john lucas

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    Well the purple dye over purple won't work because if the wood turns brown it will change the color of the dye. Now purple paint on the other hand won't change. If you want purple take a light wood like Holly and dye it purple. Even then if you don't use light stable dyes you will still lose the color.
     
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  12. Pete Blair

    Pete Blair

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    Good point John. Thanks!
     
  13. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    Purple Hearts strong points are strength and rot resistance.
    I have gotten quite a bit is scrap bins in areas where they build/restore boats and ships.
    A lot of purple heart was used in the restoration of the USS Constellation

    Vivid color is generally short lived and the grain offers little interest.
    Terrific for tool handles you want on the heavy side.
     
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