Purpleheart Hardwood


Purpleheart is a stunning and versatile hardwood, with a unique colouration and a high gloss finish. The heartwood of freshly cut Purpleheart is a vibrant, eye-catching purple, which darkens to a deep purplish-brown on exposure to sunlight and air. There may be some colour variation between boards, and minerals may cause some unevenness in the tone. The grain is usually straight, but can be striped, wavy or irregular, with a medium to fine texture. The sapwood is off-white and distinct from the heartwood.

Purpleheart is a popular choice for furniture, turnery, boatbuilding and many other applications. It is available from sustainable and legal sources, making it an ideal choice for eco-conscious projects. Purpleheart is an ideal choice for projects where a unique and eye-catching look is desired.

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Material Type:

Also Called:
Amarante, Moradu, Guarabu, Nazareno, Aka, Pau Raxo, Tananeo, Violetwood,

Durability Notes:
Purpleheart wood is a very durable timber.

The drying and seasoning of Purpleheart is dependant on a number of factors; the speed in which it is processed after felling and logging, the method of drying and the specific kilns or location (if air dried). Generally the care taken by those processing the wood will have an impact on its drying and seasoning. As an overview; Purpleheart - generally dries fairly quickly with only slight warping and splitting. Moisture in the centre of thicker timber sections may be a problem. Movement in service is small. Please note that all wood is liable to move when in service plus there can be dimensional change. The extent of this will depend on; the stability of the species itself, the conditions it is exposed to, the coating, decoration and protection. You will find more information about the suitability of this wood, for any proposed application, by using our interactive system and the filters shown.

Purpleheart is dense, hard and heavy, with high crushing, stiffness and bending strengths. It has and acceptable steam-bending rating with medium resistance to shock loads. Purpleheart is challenging to work by hand and machining is fairly challenging. The blunting effect on cutters is tolerable to severe. Purpleheart glues, waxes, stains and polishes well, turns very well but is not easy to sand (due to its oiliness). Pre-drilling is advised for nailing or screwing. Lacquer retains the unique purple colouring.

Typical Uses:
Furniture, Cabinetry, Flooring, Musical Instruments, Decorative Panels, Turnery, Carving, Boatbuilding

Moisture Content:
Guide - 10-18% for KD (+/- 2%)

Commonly asked questions about Purpleheart Wood

Is Purpleheart a hardwood or a softwood? Purpleheart is a hardwood. It is the same for; is Purpleheart hardwood or softwood? - Purpleheart is a hardwood.

Most groups/families of species share the same characteristics but this normally relates to their life as plants. Individual species do not always share the same characteristics as their relatives, in terms of the wood. Many factors influence how we use the wood and what we use it for, including where it grows, how it is forested, how it seasons/dries, etc. The answers to the following common questions, therefore relate to this particular species/wood and not the Purpleheart family as a whole. Even more specific – our answers relate to the wood (as we know it) in its form as a useable resource.

What colour is Purpleheart? Purpleheart can be described as purple/brown, red

Is Purpleheart good for outdoor use? or is Purpleheart good for exterior use? Purpleheart is most suited for exterior/external use. Purpleheart can be used as an exterior/external timber (without treatment).

Whether the wood is naturally durable or not we would still recommend that it is decorated and/or coated with a suitable product to provide protection and/or maintain its appearance. This even applies when using the wood internally as, even subtle, changes in temperature or humidity will affect the wood. This will depend on the application/purpose of the wood and the user’s desired appearance. We also recommend that a recoating, care and maintenance programme is adhered to, for the life of an exterior wood. Wood cannot rot if it is kept dry – coatings and decoration can provide this protection. All of that said there are many durable timbers that are often left to weather naturally and will last for many years untreated/coated – movement and visual changes will occur but this is sometimes the desired effect. All wood is hygroscopic (it 'wants' to be in tune with its environment) it will therefore take on water from moisture in the air (or when directly exposed to or submerged in water) and ‘release it’ when dry or exposed to heat. This, inevitably, results in movement and dimensional change. For more about moisture in wood please click here - Moisture in wood

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