Purpleheart Hardwood Lumber

Purpleheart is one of the most distinctive woods of tropical America. Purpleheart is very hard, extremely heavy, strong, tough, and durable, but is most often recognized for its unusual coloring, which at times is actually purple.

Purpleheart Hardwood Lumber

purpleheart

Purpleheart

Scientific Name: Peltogyne – (Family: Caesalpiniaceae)

A.T.I.B.T. Standard Name: Amarante

Other Names: Amaranth, Nazareno, Pau Roxo, Bois Violet, Barabu

Purpleheart is one of the most distinctive woods of tropical America. Purpleheart is very hard, extremely heavy, strong, tough, and durable, but is most often recognized for its unusual coloring, which at times is actually purple.

THE TREE

The tree, moderately large, grows to 4 feet in diameter and 170 feet in height, but on average 1.5 to 3 feet in diameter and 90 to 120 feet in height. Boles are clear 50-90 feet, straight, cylindrical above the buttresses and with considerable taper.

WOOD APPEARANCE

The uniform texture of purpleheart varies from fine to medium. The grain is usually straight and seldom interlocked, but is sufficiently irregular along with variation in luster and color to give the wood a pleasing stripe figure on the quarter-cut surface. The wood is of medium luster, somewhat greasy in appearance, and cold to touch. No distinctive odor or taste is present in seasoned wood. The sapwood, distinct from the heartwood is 2-4 inches thick and creamy white to light pinkish cinnamon streaked with light brown. The heartwood is a grayish purple when freshly cut, later becoming a violet purple to deep purple through an oxidation process.

PHYSICAL PROPERTIES

Purpleheart is very durable, strong, and resilient. Shock resistance is medium.

Weight: In the green condition the timber weighs 75-77 pounds per cubic foot, and about 54 pounds per cubic foot (860 kg/m3) when air-dry.

Specific Gravity: Air-dry wood averages about .87 based on air-dry volume and weight, and averages .75 based on green volume and oven-dry weight.

Bending Strength: 147 N/mm2 (21300 lbf/in2).

Modulus of Elasticity: 1600N/mm2 (242000 lbf/in2).

Compression Comparable to Grain: 78.5 N/mm2 (11380 lbg/in2).

NATURAL DURABILITY

Purpleheart is highly resistant to decay, termites and fire. The heartwood is very durable and extremely resistant to preservative treatment, but the sapwood is permeable.

TIMBER PROCESSING

Seasoning: Purpleheart dries well and fairly rapidly with little degrade. Kiln schedule E.

Working/Machining: The wood is not difficult to work. Straight-grained material saws and planes well when sharp tools are used. The wood turns smoothly and requires but little sanding to bring out a good finish.

Assembly: The wood is easily fastened by gluing. Preboring is required for a good nail and screw holding. Also, it can be veneered with a hot glue.

Finishing: Purpleheart takes stain and either wax or French polish well, but its purple color is dissipated by spirit polishes. A lacquer finish is reported to hold its purple coloring.

PRESERVATION

The heartwood is extremely resistant to impregnation with creosote. Even under high pressure, penetration occurs only along a few isolated vessels. The sapwood is permeable.

USES

Purpleheart is a high-quality wood generally used for one of two reasons: 1) Those requiring wood of great strength, an ability to withstand strain and sudden shocks; 2) Those requiring wood of unusual beauty or coloring.

Construction Uses: Purpleheart’s high strength, hardness, resistance to decay, very good durability and excellent structural timber characteristics make it an excellent material for heavy outdoor construction work such as: bridges, dock work, fresh water pilings, structural purposes, house framing and park benches. It is also a quality material for many other parts of house construction from millwork to flooring and siding. Purpleheart has also been successfully used in chemical plants for vats, filter press plates and frames.

Cosmetic Uses: Because of the unique shades and peculiar color effects of purpleheart, it is well adapted for use in turnery, marquetry, cabinets, ornamental furniture, counters, office desks, counter tops, carving, inlaying, billiard cue butts, swagger sticks, paneling, decorative handles, veneer parquet flooring, handles, billiard tables, and other similar uses.

SUPPLIES

Regular supplies are readily available.