One of nature’s unusual masterpieces, Purpleheart (Peltogyne) is a true stunner. It comes mainly from Guiana, but also from various other South American countries.
Its hard and heavy at around 58 pounds per cubic foot (860kg per m3), but it machines well, although with a dulling affect on the cutters. It is a large tree, often 100-150ft tall with typical diameters of 2-4ft.
Color varies a bit and as the wood oxidizes it goes grayish brown. Fresh off the plane it is a lustrous purple (sometimes with reddish tints) that can really take your breath away. Our experience is that it is remarkably stable and lays flat and true. It also goes a wonderful olive grey color over time, if left with plentiful sunlight and no finish.
In furniture situations it can be used to striking effect with contrasting woods. For an exotic, sometimes considered rare, species we are surprised to see it sometimes used for siding on beach houses and for outdoor decking.
I have a feeling that its present low price and easy availability will not last forever, and everyone of forethought should stock up with a little for the future.
As always, I’ve included photos of a few interesting pieces for inspiration.
A bedside table by Tom Crystal
A stunning guitar
Incredible figure in this piece
How’s that for an attention-grabbing floor?
Forget the purpleheart screen, I want the house!
But that screen sure makes a great statement
Used to great effect in a chessboard
And a real impact piece – a Purpleheart and Zebrawood console by Girelli Designs