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Keeping Purpleheart Purple


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I just bought a plank of purpleheart that will (after sawing) become two bookmatched 3/16" tops and a neck blank.

Here's The Plank

My question is, I've heard places that if you just leave purpleheart it can/will? turn to a normal brown color, and I've seen pieces of purpleheart on ebay that do NOT look purple anymore, but I've also seen bright purple in guitars around here. My question is, how do I keep my purpleheart from browning, how do I keep it the purple I so desperately want it to be?

My other question is, if you look at the deminisions it's 30.25 x 13 x 1"... I'm having him cut down along the side a 30.25 x 4 x 1" piece for a neck blank before he re-saws for the tops.... does purpleheart (being already a very hard wood) need to be a particular cut (quartersawn, flatsawn, etc.) to be stable enough for a neck? Will this piece that I just described work for a neck? Or will it just be a useless cut in the SHAPE of a neck blank?

Thanks,

Chris

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I think I am semi qualified to answer this question. When purple heart is cut or sanded or planed it turns a brownish color thats really far from purple. To get the purple color back, let it sit for a week or two it turns dark purple through oxidation and sun light. So, as time goes along it becomes a darker purple which is the ultimate.

For the neck blank, think of purple heart as maple on steroids. Its stronger, harder, more dense, and brighter. You should have no problem using the piece either quartersawn or flatsawn without carbon rods. I generally do multi lam necks just because the wood I buy is generally flatsawn and I make my laminations and turn em quartersawn so that I have a three piece neck. And with an ebony board these necks will never move its great.

If you are using the purple heart as a top piece, be careful not to remove too much with the router at one time because, a) you could destroy your carbide router bits, first hand experience, :D the router could kick back at you, and c) tear out the wood.

Hope that helps

MzI

Edited by MzI
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yeah like he said it changes color through oxidation so once its sealed it shouldnt change much. The last 2 basses i built i used purple heart neck laminates and i cleared them with urethane, i have not noticed any color change. ive also seen a couple of old Tobias basses that the color was still purple too, But in contrast i had some uncleared scrap laying around and it turned an ugly brown. as far as strength goes, for a neck you cant beat it!

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As mentioned, after cutting/planing/sanding purpleheart, it will take a little time to oxidize and return to the brilliant purple you expect. Left unfinished, it will change to some dull brown shades over time. You need to get some lacquer or urethane on it (the concensus i've found is that lacquer is the best). Something with a UV inhibitor would probably help. However, purpleheart WILL continue to change over time even if it is finished. It will change much more slowly, but it will still change. About the best you can do is keep it out of sunlight, and it should last pretty well.

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Check and see if the finish you choose to use has some sort of UV protectant qualities. My Purpleheart superstrat wil be finished in urethane that does offer UV protection. Also like mentioned, go shallow many times with your router, as my lack of knowledge at the time KILLED a brand new bit. Expensive mistakes.....

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