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Purpleheart

When freshly cut the heartwood is dull grayish purplish brown. Upon exposure the wood becomes a deeper purple. Purpleheart has a medium texture with small pores. The grain is usually straight, but can also be wavy or irregular.

Thicknesses

Subject to availability

4/4
5/4
6/4
7/4
8/4
9/4
10/4
12/4
16/4
20/4
1/2"
3/4"
1"

Distribution

Central and South America (from Mexico down to southern Brazil)

Scientific Name

Peltogyne spp.

Specific Gravity: Basic

0.76

Specific Gravity: 12% MC

0.9

Janka Hardness

2520

Colour/Appearance

When freshly cut the heartwood of Purpleheart is a dull grayish/purplish brown. Upon exposure the wood becomes a deeper eggplant 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. 

Grain/Texture

The grain is usually straight, but can also be wavy or irregular. Has a medium texture with good natural luster.

Endgrain

Diffuse-porous; medium to large pores, few; solitary and radial multiples; mineral deposits occasionally present; growth rings may be either distinct or indistinct depending on species and growing conditions; rays barely visible without lens; parenchyma winged, lozenge, confluent, unilateral, and occasionally marginal.

Rot Resistance

Purpleheart is rated as being very durable, and resists both decay and most insect attacks, though it has been reported to be susceptible to attack from marine borers.

Workability

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.

Odor

Varies depending upon the species: most species have no characteristic odor, though some species can have a pungent scent.

Allergies/Toxicity

Although severe reactions are quite uncommon, Purpleheart has been reported as a sensitizer. Usually most common reactions simply include eye and skin irritation. Purpleheart has also been reported to cause nausea.

Pricing/Availability

Widely available as lumber in good widths and thicknesses. Prices are in the low to medium range for an imported hardwood.

Sustainability

This wood species is not listed in the CITES Appendices or on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
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