In Wood

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Scientific Name: Peltogyne venosa

Other Common Names: Amaranth, Guarabu, Nazareno, Palo morado, Pau roxo, Purperhart, Saka, Tananeo, Violetwood

Growing Regions: Purpleheart grows in Central and South America between Mexico and southern Brazil. The trees are most commonly found in the Amazon Basin.

Characteristics of Tree: The trees attain heights of 100 to 150 feet and diameters of 18 to 36 inches.

Characteristics of Wood: Purpleheart starts out with a heartwood that is brown, but it changes to a vivid purple color. Color variation between pieces of wood can be high. The grain is usually straight but can also be wavy or irregular. The texture is fine and the luster is medium to high. There is no odor or taste, and the wood is very stable. Purpleheart is resistant to attack by fungi, termites, marine borers, and many chemicals.

Finishing Characteristics: Purpleheart polishes well but some finishes may bleed. Water-based finishes hold color best; spirit finishes can remove the wood’s purple color.

Workability: The wood glues well but sanding is difficult. Nails require pre-boring and do not hold well. The wood may gum up cutting tools that aren’t sharp. It is also difficult in machining operations. Use slow feed rates and sharp, high-speed steel knives when machining this tough wood.

Common Uses: Bedroom suites, bridge beams, cabin construction, chairs, dockwork, drawer side, figured veneer, sculpture, umbrella handles, parquet flooring.

Availability: Common.

Special Features: It is suggested that purpleheart be treated against fading. It often turns gray-brown when placed in the sun. Coating the wood with Armorall, a product usually used to protect cars, under the lacquer will help maintain the wood’s original color.

End grain

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