Common Name(s): Purpleheart, Violetwood, Amaranth

Botanical Name: Peltogyne

Woodworking Qualities: The hardness of this wood makes sawing and other types of woodworking a little difficult. In addition, the friction created by dull tools can release a gummy, sap-like substance. In the case of machine sawing, a slow feed rate teamed with carbide-tipped tools will assist in the simplification of woodworking. Purpleheart sands well, and accepts finishes with no difficulty. Water-based finishes will help hold the natural color of the wood.

Janka Rating: Purpleheart compares to Jarrah at 1860 Janka.

Species Characteristics: Purpleheart’s resistance to dry-wood termites is notable as impressive. This wood is dense, hard, and has a good structural durability rating.

Appearance: As the name implies, the heartwood of purpleheart is a rich, exotic purple. When initially harvested, it is a dark brown but quickly alters to the beautiful dark purple it is popular for. Further exposure to UV will return it to a more brown color, although the purple will still be quite evident, giving it a mixture of the two colors. The sapwood is an off-white to light cream color.

Color Change: After the initial cutting of the wood, Amaranth darkens from brown to its more renowned vibrant purple. Additional exposure to UV will turn it back to brown with heavy purple undertones.

Uses: Purpleheart’s unusual natural coloring makes it highly sought after for specialty uses, some of which include wood sculptures and carvings, billiard accessories, and shipbuilding. Also, because of this wood’s resistance to acidity, it is used in the construction of chemical vats. In flooring, it makes impressive trim, inlays, and accents.

Purpleheart Origin:

The Amazon Rainforest produces much of the purpleheart used today, although Central America’s tropical regions contribute to this number as well.