Purpleheart

FrankHall

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#1
Have any of you worked with purpleheart? It's one of my favorite woods, but the two issues I know of are toxicity and fading. The fading is due to UV rays, as I found out when I placed a PH and Maple chessboard near a window, pieces in place. The result was not anything you'd notice until you moved the pieces. Solved by removing the pieces and leaving where it was. I still have the PH I was going to make a board from.

All that said, how about a piece of purpleheart between the shank and stem? I wouldn't expect toxicity to be a factor.
 

FrankHall

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#4
What Spill said. As to possible fading of purpleheart, you might want to try oiling the purpleheart before you attach it to the briar and finish it. Maybe that would at least slow down any fading? Just a thought. Spill might have a better idea.
Good idea. I was going to ask my pool cue maker about how to treat it - he is a good friend and who I generally go to for wood advice. He's the one who explained why I had dark round spots where the chessmen had been, and who suggested that I move the board out of the sun to get a uniform look again. He's also given me advice on how to identify and work with woods like Brazillian Rosewood and Cocobola.

I'll post more on this as the project gets underway - not sure I'm even going to use PH.
 

Sasquatch

Wizzard
Staff member
#5
Purpleheart fades for sure, I don't know if treating it with CA glue would help. I use bloodwood, it stays pretty red. If you want some pop that way there's lots of good choices, woods that look good on the small scale of pipes (which is why you see spalted maple and black palm and stuff like that).
 

FrankHall

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#6
Purpleheart fades for sure, I don't know if treating it with CA glue would help. I use bloodwood, it stays pretty red. If you want some pop that way there's lots of good choices, woods that look good on the small scale of pipes (which is why you see spalted maple and black palm and stuff like that).
Even if it turned that really non-purple brown that happens with some purple-heart, it would be okay for this project, but I'm probably going to use a different wood. Just thought about it because I have a beautiful PH board sitting in my basement waiting to be made into a chessboard, which now isn't going to happen. It's about an inch thick, which is only good for shank extensions.
 

FrankHall

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#8
I have lots of pieces of stuff like that. I call it my "if only" pile. If only I had time. If only it would stay bright white. If only I had any idea how a bandsaw worked....
Yep. In my case, a chess project has created the most excess material - I have enough stuff to build twenty chessboards and enough resin epoxy, dyes, marble powder, etc., to make a hundred sets of chess pieces. That's not including fifty pounds of soapstone and alibaster for carving my own designs, and silicon for making molds if I ever actually finished carving anything. It goes on and on...

I think the pipe project may suffer the same fate, but there's always hope.
 

snake

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#10
@FrankHall If I'm not mistaken, pool cue makers
use boat resin/epoxy for their finishes. I have a
cue from 1989 that still has it's stains, but it only
gets exposed to billiard parlor lights. lol
Stains do last longer than some woods natural
colors like Purpleheart.

Most of the tampers I've made (that I've seen here)
still retain their natural wood color fairly well.
I use tripoli as a friction finish. FWIW
 

FrankHall

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#11
@FrankHall If I'm not mistaken, pool cue makers
use boat resin/epoxy for their finishes. I have a
cue from 1989 that still has it's stains, but it only
gets exposed to billiard parlor lights. lol
Stains do last longer than some woods natural
colors like Purpleheart.

Most of the tampers I've made (that I've seen here)
still retain their natural wood color fairly well.
I use tripoli as a friction finish. FWIW
You're spot-on. I've never noticed a modern PH cue having any fading issues, probably because of the modern finishes. On the other hand, I've owned quite a few PH cues from the 1920's, and most end up greyish-brown from the shellac yellowing and the PH going brown. I got to where I would buy cues on ebay that were brownish-grey, betting they were really PH. When you unscrew the bumper the purple shows.
 

Winton

Well-known member
#13
Here is my source for toxic woods:

https://www.wood-database.com/wood-articles/wood-allergies-and-toxicity/

Basically, most of the danger is when the wood is being turned. The dust can cause respirator damage. Actually, this is why you wear a breath mask, when you work with exotic wood and some local woods. Also, keep most woods out of sunshine, if you like the appearance of the wood.
 

snake

permanent ankle biter
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#14

N80

Well-known member
#15
I have milled some large old cedar logs with the most shocking and beautiful red and purple hearts. They begin to fade as soon as the board is milled with noticeable fading in as little as 12 hours over night which suggests to me that the issue is oxidation. I would think that anything that sealed the wood from oxygen would work.
 

FrankHall

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#19
I love purpleheart. Back in my pool cue collecting days, there were people who were tied to different woods - some purpleheart, of course. I'm personally more of a macassar ebony guy, but absolutely love PH in a classic 4-veneer pool cue. In fancier items it tends to be too outspoken for me. In a chessboard it's perfect.