Purpleheart is a rare exotic wood that delivers a medium high tone.
This intriguing wood is dull brown when freshly cut, then rapidly changes to a bright, vibrant purple. Exposure to air darkens the wood to a dark-purplish brown, eventually turning it dark brown.
Purpleheart has a medium to fine texture and exhibits a medium to high luster. The grain is typically straight, although sometimes it is wavy, interlocked, or irregular.
Bone Rattling Facts
Purpleheart is reportedly "full of silica" which might account for its ranking as one of the very stiffest and strongest woods in the world. The wood is a good choice for handheld musical instruments because it is resistant to chemicals such as acids. But since the wood turns gray-brown upon exposure to ultra-violet light, you might want to avoid leaving these instruments under direct sunlight. Purpleheart is a good buy considering that it is an imported exotic hardwood that sells at a moderate price.
Figures below are approximate (but pretty darn close)
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The grain is usually straight, but can also be wavy or irregular.
The wood has a medium to fine texture.
Purplish Brown (passion fruit)
The freshly cut heartwood is initially a dull grayish brown. With exposure the wood changes to a bright, vibrant deep eggplant purple. Prolonged exposure darkens the wood to a dark-purplish brown or dark brown. Color variation is reported to be moderate to high. The presence of minerals in some boards may cause uneven coloration.
The sapwood is creamy white or off-white in color, and is very distinct from the heartwood. The color has also been described as pinkish cinnamon with light brown streaks.
There is no characteristic aroma or taste.
This species is available from sustainably managed, salvaged, recycled, or other environmentally responsible sources. The International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) reports that timber production from this species is regular. The material is exported at a low but regular rate. Supplies are reported to be ample, but the wood is fairly expensive.
Central and South America (from Mexico down to southern Brazil).
Mature purpleheart trees are usually tall and attain a height of about 100 to 150 feet (30 to 45 m), and a diameter of up to 48 inches (120 cm), usually between 18 and 36 inches (45 and 90 cm).