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Sand Shading Purpleheart

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John posted this link in another thread. It's a video tutorial on sand shading: http://www.thewoodwh...er-based-inlay/ I've been playing around with the technique for a while now, but I've yet to do an actual inlay. I can tell you it takes some practice to get the proper heat/wood thickness/burn time. If you decide to try this, I suggest you make 2 or 3 sacrificial inlay pieces to practice on. I've found that 1/8" seems a little thin and tends to want to burn. Also, I don't do mine like the video. I cut mine oversize, then shade, then shape the piece to fit the pocket.

So, anyone who has ever worked with purpleheart knows that it is a dense wood. What most people don't know that when heated, it oxidizes and turns a darker shade of purple before it burns. I found this out once when I cut some with a dull table saw blade. This technique is the perfect use for lighter greyish pieces of purpleheart. With the lighter base color you can get more contrast. The pieces shown are about a heavy 3/16" thick, and about 2" x 3". As you can see I have several gradient degrees of fade. The advantage to this is that the gradient runs through the full thickness of the piece.

I've shaded several species including figured maple. And I can say the harder, the better! Next week or two I hope to try some cocobolo, yellowheart, padauk, & redheart. I can definitely see a rose or some kind of floral pattern in my future.

One other important note if you decide to try this: Don't do this on a kitchen stove or indoor burner. The dry heat is a lot different than boiling water. I ended up getting a 1300 watt hot plate to use near the bay door.

And of course... BE CAREFUL!


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Does the color go throughout the wood? I'm asking because if you used this on a fretboard and then sanded everything level wouldn't the darker color tone just sand off the top?

Yes....The advantage to this is that the gradient runs through the full thickness of the piece.

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