Getting my kids involved in the shop to make Xmas gifts for SWMBO
(Mom). I'm simplifying plans I saw for a desk clock and we're making
a matching pencil can that will have keyed miters. The main wood is
clear, straight maple (no crazy grain for kids' first project). The
keys and the hour markers on the clock will be purpleheart (the kids
picked it out at the lumberyard reminding me that her favorite color
Never having worked with PH before, what can we do to preserve or even
enhance the color a little? Will a straight oil deepen the color?
What about using the end grain? Dyeing or "cheating" the color goes
against my grain (pun intended) but is that something to consider?
Any other suggestions? Thanks in advance from a newby and his novice
Applying oil with cause the purpleheart to turn brown. Avoid oil based
There has been a lot of discussion about what causes purpleheart to
darken. Some say it's caused by UV light. Others say it's oxidation. I
tend to go with the UV theory as I have had a piece in kept in the
basement for over 3 years and it is still purple. Cuts from the same
piece, finished with shellac, and exposed to sunlight have turned brown in
within a few months.
In my opinion, purpleheart that has turned brown still looks nice,
especially when contrasted against maple.
Buffalo, NY - USA
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Michael Fortune recomended armoral to keep purple heart purple - UV
the reason for browning. There is an even better UV protection spray
called 303 Aero Space Protectant "100% Prevention of UV caused
with regular use". Came highly recomended by an auto upholstery and
convertible top installer AND by a spa company for protection spa
Recomended to apply every 3-5 weeks for stuff exposed to exterior
I think you can get it at any auto parts store.
A very effective way to deepen the color of purpleheart is to heat it.
Place it a 250 degree oven until you get the desired result. The end grain
will be a darker color. With judicious use of sandpaper, you can create
You need to be careful about leaving fingerprints. The layer of dark
purple oxidation will react with the oils in your skin. Cover with finish
as soon as possible - I use a water based poly.
I use varathane gloss on my purpleheart projects. Comes out awesome. I have
made a desk and a dresser using purpleheart and maple. Contrast is nice and
the varathane gives it a wet look while keeping the purple color. Tip is to
use a wet rag after sanding and this will defeat the browning caused by
sanding. If you want to see the finished look let me know. I have posted
them previously on alt.bin.pic.ww but can repost if you like.
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