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Purple heart wood where does it come from

Purple heart wood where does it come from

Purple heart wood is unique in that it starts with a grayish brown or light purple color when freshly cut, and then darkens to a deeper purple when exposed to air and light. Over time, it turns into a dark brown mixed with some purple. This wood comes in varying widths, making it convenient for crafting high-quality furniture. Once dried, the wood’s surface displays a beautiful grain. Purple Heart wood is considered one of the rarest and most expensive woods in the world, and it is highly sought after by the upper class due to its resistance to termites, water, and impact, as well as its pleasant aroma. Let’s find out all the information about purple heart wood with Vinawood in the article below.

What is special about purple heart wood?

Purpleheart, scientifically known as Peltogyne, is a unique and visually striking hardwood that is distinguishable by its vibrant purple color. It is native to Central and South America, particularly Brazil, Guyana, and Suriname. The wood is renowned for its beautiful color, which deepens to a rich purple when exposed to sunlight. One of the most notable traits of Purpleheart is its long-lasting color, making it a popular choice for fine woodworking projects.

This wood is highly valued not only for its visual appeal but also for its exceptional strength and durability. Purpleheart is extremely dense and hard, making it resistant to wear, rot, and insect damage. Its durability makes it suitable for heavy-duty applications such as flooring, parquet, and high-end furniture. Additionally, its high density makes it naturally water-resistant, making it especially beneficial for outdoor projects and items exposed to moisture.

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What is special about purple heart wood?
What is special about purple heart wood?

Purple heart wood where does it come from?

Purpleheart is native to the tropical rainforests of Central and South America. This exotic hardwood is primarily native to Brazil, Guyana and Suriname. The Peltogyne tree thrives in the humid equatorial climate of these regions, growing to considerable heights and characterized by dense, straight-grained wood.

The journey of purple heart wood begins deep within these rainforests, where the trees are carefully harvested. Initially, the wood is a dull grey-brown. However, the wood undergoes a fascinating transformation after being cut and exposed to air. The wood oxidizes and turns a bright purple, a characteristic that makes purple heart wood particularly unique and desirable.

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Purpleheart is native to the tropical rainforests of Central and South America
Purpleheart is native to the tropical rainforests of Central and South America

Is purpleheart wood a hardwood or softwood?

Purple heart wood is a type of hardwood known for its exceptional density, strength, and durability. Hardwoods and softwoods are classified based on the botanical characteristics of the trees they come from rather than the actual hardness of the wood. Hardwoods are typically broad-leaved flowering plants (angiosperms), while softwoods are typically conifers with needle-like leaves (gymnosperms).

One of the defining characteristics of hardwoods is their complex and dense structure, which is evident in purple heart wood. This wood has a very high density, typically ranging from 800 to 1,000 kg/m³ (50 to 62 lbs/ft³), making it significantly harder and more durable than many other woods.

Is purple heart wood rare?

Purple heart wood is considered quite rare due to several factors including its limited geographic distribution, specific growing conditions, and sustainable harvesting practices.

It is found only in the tropical forests of Central and South America, particularly in countries such as Brazil, Guyana, and Suriname. This limited geographic distribution reduces the popularity of this wood in the global market. Purpleheart trees require specific environmental conditions to grow, including high humidity, regular rainfall, and rich, well-drained soil. These growing requirements limit the tree’s range, making Purpleheart less common.

To protect the tropical forests where these trees grow, purple heart wood logging is often done under strict regulations and sustainable practices. This includes selective harvesting and reforestation to minimize environmental impact. The unique purple color, high durability, and resistance to termites of Purple heart wood make it highly sought after in high-end woodworking, furniture, flooring, and decorative items. This high demand, combined with the above factors, contributes to making Purple heart wood rare and often highly valuable in the market.

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Purple heart wood is considered quite rare
Purple heart wood is considered quite rare

Why is purple heart wood so expensive?

Purple heart wood is expensive for several reasons, including its rarity, unique aesthetic, durability, labor-intensive processing, and sustainable harvesting methods. Purple heart wood comes from the Peltogyne tree, which is native to the rainforests of Central and South America. These trees are not as common as other commercially harvested trees, which means that the supply of natural purple heart wood is limited. This limited geographic distribution contributes to the high cost of the wood.

One of the most striking characteristics of purple heart wood is its vibrant purple color, which becomes more pronounced when exposed to light. This unique color makes the wood highly desirable for high-end furniture, flooring, and decorative items. The demand for such a striking and unusual wood significantly increases the price of the wood. To protect the rainforests where purpleheart trees grow, harvesting is often carried out under strict regulations and sustainable practices.

Sustainable practices ensure the long-term availability of the wood but also increase the overall cost. The combination of its beauty, durability and rarity makes purple heart wood highly sought after in the market. High demand, coupled with limited supply, naturally drives up prices.

Does purple Heart wood lose its color?

Purple heart wood, known for its striking purple hue, undergoes an attractive color change over time. Initially, when freshly cut, the wood is a dull grayish-brown. When exposed to light and air, the wood quickly changes to a characteristic vibrant purple color, which is highly sought after in fine furniture and decorative pieces.

However, this vibrant purple color is not permanent. Over time, prolonged exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays and oxidation can cause the wood to gradually lose its deep purple color, turning a darker purple-brown or even brown. This natural aging process is similar to what happens to many other precious woods when exposed to sunlight for long periods.

Despite this natural color change, purple heart wood remains a popular choice due to its unique color, strength, and durability. Even as the wood ages and discolors, it retains its aesthetic appeal and continues to be appreciated in many woodworking and furniture-making projects.

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Purple heart wood undergoes an attractive color change over tim
Purple heart wood undergoes an attractive color change over tim

How do you keep purple Heart wood from turning brown?

To prevent purple heart wood from browning over time, you can take several steps to maintain its vibrant purple color:

  • Protect from UV rays: Apply a UV-protective finish or coating to the wood to block ultraviolet rays from sunlight, which causes fading. Choose a high-quality exterior finish designed specifically to protect the wood from UV damage.
  • Indoor installation: Use purple heart wood in indoor applications where it will not be exposed to direct sunlight, reducing its exposure to UV rays and slowing down the natural color change process.
  • Regular maintenance: Check and maintain the finish on purple heart wood regularly. Over time, the finish may wear off due to weathering or cleaning, exposing the wood to UV rays. Reapply the finish as needed to maintain full protection.
  • Storage: Store purple heart wood indoors or in a cool, shady area when not in use to minimize exposure to sunlight and other environmental factors that can accelerate the color change process.
  • Natural aging: Understand that some color changes are natural for purple heart wood. Despite the best care, purpleheart may gradually darken to a purple-brown or darker brown over time. Consider this natural aging process as part of the character and beauty of the wood.

Is purple heart wood rot resistant?

Purple heart wood is well-known for its natural resistance to decay and rot. This durability is largely due to the wood’s dense, tightly packed grain structure, which makes it highly resistant to moisture. Additionally, purple heart wood contains natural oils that enhance its resistance to mold and insect damage, which are common causes of wood rot.

Because of its excellent resistance to rot, purple heart wood is a popular choice for outdoor applications such as decking, fencing, and outdoor furniture. It can withstand rain, humidity, and soil moisture without deteriorating as quickly as other woods. This makes purple heart wood a low-maintenance choice for projects that require durability and longevity in harsh environmental conditions.

Can purpleheart wood furniture go outside?

Yes, purple heart wood furniture can be used outdoors due to its natural resistance to decay, rot, and insects. It is suitable for outdoor settings such as gardens, decks, and patios. To maintain its durability and appearance, apply a protective finish that is UV-resistant and seals the wood from moisture. Regular maintenance, including cleaning and refinishing when needed, will help preserve its beauty and extend its lifespan. Consider placing purple heart wood furniture in sheltered or shady areas to minimize exposure to direct sunlight and harsh weather conditions, which can affect its color and longevity. Overall, with proper care, purple heart wood furniture can withstand outdoor environments effectively.

What are the cons of purple Heart wood?

Despite its many desirable qualities, purple heart wood does have some drawbacks to consider:

  • Cost: Purple heart wood is quite expensive compared to other common hardwoods. The rarity and limited geographic distribution of the wood make it more expensive.
  • Fading: Over time, the vibrant purple color of purple heart wood can fade when exposed to sunlight and UV rays. This natural color change can cause the wood to darken to a deeper purple-brown or even brown.
  • Hardness: While purple heart wood’s hardness is an advantage in terms of durability, it can also present challenges when working with the wood. Purple heart wood requires sharp tools and careful handling to work with due to its dense and tough nature.
  • Irritation Potential: Some individuals may experience skin irritation or allergic reactions when handling purpleheart wood. Appropriate safety equipment, such as gloves and masks, should be used when working with this wood to avoid potential health hazards.

Do termites eat purple Heart wood?

Purple heart wood is well-known for its natural resistance to insects, particularly termites. The wood contains natural oils and compounds that make it unattractive or even toxic to many insects, including wood-boring pests like termites. This inherent resistance is one reason why Purple heart wood is popular for outdoor use and in areas that are prone to termite infestations.

Although Purple heart wood is generally resistant to termites, it’s important to note that no wood is completely immune to pest damage in all conditions. Factors such as environmental conditions, moisture levels, and the presence of other wood sources nearby can affect susceptibility to pests. Therefore, while Purple heart wood is well-protected against termites, precautions such as using treated wood or applying protective finishes should still be taken in areas prone to termite infestation

What is the best finish for purple heart wood?

The best finish for purple heart wood depends on the desired look and specific application of the wood. Here are some commonly recommended options:

  • Oil-based finishes: Tung oil or linseed oil can enhance the natural color and grain of purple heartwood while providing a moderate level of protection.
  • Varnish: Marine-grade varnish or spar varnish is an excellent choice for outdoor applications or areas exposed to moisture. They provide superior protection against UV rays and weathering while enhancing the natural beauty of the wood.
  • Epoxy Resins: Epoxy resins can create a thick, glossy finish that brings out the color and grain of the wood. They provide excellent protection against moisture, scratches, and UV rays.
  • Water-based Acrylics: Water-based acrylic finishes offer a clear, low-odor, fast-drying option that provides good protection against moisture and UV damage.

In this article, Vinawood team aim to help you gain a better understanding of purple heartwood. Vinawood hope that the above article has assisted you in deciding whether purple heart wood is the right choice for your project. Please check our website for the latest Vietnam plywood news. Also, if you are considering purchasing Vietnam plywood, visit Vinawood’s website for more detailed informations.
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