Purple Heart, Purpleheart

Scientific name:  Peltogyne spp.

Description:  When freshly cut the heartwood of purpleheart can be a dull grayish/purplish brown. Upon exposure—usually within a few days—the wood becomes a deeper brinjal/aubergine purple. With further age and exposure to UV light, the wood becomes a dark brown with a hint of purple. This colour-shift can be slowed and minimized by using a UV inhibiting finish on the wood.  The grain is usually straight, but can also be wavy or irregular. Has a medium texture with good natural lustre.

Properties:  Working with purpleheart can present some unique challenges: if the wood is heated with dull tools, or if cutter speeds are too high, purpleheart will exude a gummy resin that can clog tools and complicate the machining process. Depending on the grain orientation, can be difficult to plane without tearout. Purpleheart also has a moderate dulling effect on cutters.