From the tropical regions of Central and South America, purpleheart lumber is a dark wood rich with beauty and warmth. Purpleheart lumber comes from a variety of 23 species of flowering plants.
When the purpleheart trees are cut, the dark brown wood quickly turns to a rich purple color. However, exposure to ultraviolet light darkens the wood to a brown color with a slight hue of the original purple. Finishes containing an ultraviolet inhibitor can minimize the effect and keep the purple color shinning through.
Purpleheart lumber is typically a very hard and dense wood, so a craftsman will need a sharp carbide blade to cut it. Craftsmen can use this prized lumber for a variety of applications, including fine inlay work, woodturning, cabinetry, flooring, and furniture making. Unique uses of purpleheart lumber include billiard cue butts, diving boards, skis, gym equipment, chess boards, and chemical vats. Many turners and carvers use purpleheart for smaller and miniature applications. The applications of purpleheart lumber, though, are nearly endless, as this wood is very diverse.
Purpleheart lumber carries a fine texture with a high luster. The grain of purpleheart lumber is usually straight, but it can also carry irregularity or wave. It boasts a high bending and crushing strength, which makes the wood very durable.
It should be noted, though, that like most lumbers, there are a few downfalls to using purpleheart lumber. When cut and sanded, for example, purpleheart lumber can cause irritation and nausea to the craftsman. These side effects are caused by the neoflavonoid compounds in the lumber. This also makes purpleheart lumber unsuitable for applications that will sustain prolonged direct contact with a person, such as jewelry. While working with purpleheart, craftsman should ensure proper ventilation and should use skin, eye, and breathing protection to avoid adverse reactions.
If a craftsman cuts purpleheart too quickly, it will secrete a gooey resin, but by going too slowly with a router or cutter, purpleheart lumber can burn. These burn marks can be extremely difficult to remove, so it’s generally noted that purpleheart lumber should not be the first choice of the beginner craftsman. It is also important to pre-drill holes in purpleheart lumber, as it is known to split easily. A craftsman should therefore be careful when hammering nails and tightening screws.
The Importance of a Reputable Dealer
Although not the easiest to work with, experienced craftsmen will find purpleheart lumber a beautiful and versatile wood choice. Due to overharvesting, several species of purpleheart are becoming endangered. A once abundant lumber, purpleheart can now sometimes be difficult to obtain. Therefore, it is vitally important to obtain this lumber from a reputable dealer or wholesaler like McIlvain Company.
McIlvain Company has over 200 years of experience in the lumber industry. Their unbeatable expertise, quality selection, and great customer service have been pleasing customers for over two centuries. Their specialists would be more than happy to answer any wood-related questions you might have, whether about purpleheart or some other species. For more information on how McIlvain can help you with your next lumber-related project, visit their website today.
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