Oak & Purpleheart Finish
By The Multitude
Statnewsman: 05/20/04 06:43 PM

I'm about ready to put a finish on an Oak table top banded with Purpleheart and I'd like to use something to bring out the grain of the Oak.   I was thinking of using an oil to do this, but I've heard that it will take days for the oil to dry because of the open grain of the Oak, before I can put anything else on it.   The plan is to use several coats of Shellac for a top coat..   Is there anything I could use that I could top coat after only 24 hours drying time?   Has anybody used Oak and Purpleheart together?   What did you use for your finish?

MadMark: 05/20/04 07:30 PM

I normally use Minwax semi-gloss cut 50-50 with mineral spirits as a good general finish.   It looks good on most woods including both purple heart and oak.

Let the purpleheart be exposed to sunlight for 1/2 day or so to really bring out the color.

David Gillie: 05/20/04 07:41 PM

Avoid using any Mineral Spirits (paint thinner) bases finish on the purpleheart.   To retain it's violet color use bleached Shellac or lacquer.

DougWilkison: 05/27/04 02:18 PM

Vanguard's table is a nice color and apparently was finished with a Mineral Spirits (paint thinner)-containing product.   Yet DG says that Mineral Spirits (paint thinner) will turn it brown.   Is there a step I missed in Van's finish or is it a matter of degree?

Purpleheart is so striking I would hate for it to change to brown heart a year later.

vanguard: 05/20/04 08:31 PM

I made a table from Purple Heart and I like the way this thin wiping varnish I used came out.

vanguard: 05/27/04 01:10 PM

MadMark said:
Let the purpleheart be exposed to sunlight for 1/2 day or so to really bring out the color.

FYI, Purple Heart responds to the air, not the light.

slambubba: 05/20/04 08:44 PM

vanguard - did you thin the Arm-R-Seal or use it full-strength?

vanguard: 05/20/04 08:47 PM

I used it full strength, 3 coats I think.

Statnewsman: 05/26/04 05:01 PM

How about urethane?   Outdoor type.   The finish needs to be durable, there will be drinks sat at times on the table top.

Why not use finishes with Mineral spirits?   Will it change the color of the purpleheart?

SteveS: 05/27/04 12:33 PM

Oil finishes will turn the purpleheart a deep violet color.   Too dark for my tastes.

WalnutGuy: 05/27/04 01:22 PM

Any oil finish will enhance the figure, but you will achieve better results using a commercial tung oil concoction or your own home brew.

Wipe it on genously, wait about 15 minutes then wipe off the excess.   Allow to cure overnite, then rub out with #0000 steel wool or equivalent to get rid of the any dust nibs and bleed back pimples.   If you want to fill the oak pores then brush on a coat or two fo 1.5# cut clear Shellac, then rub out.   You can then follow with the clear coat of your choice.

Always run tests first unless you are certain of the outcome.

David Gillie: 05/27/04 02:09 PM

Oil finishes will turn the purpleheart a deep violet color.   Too dark for my tastes.

More like brown...   defeating the purpose of using purpleheart.

Should use "brownheart".

WalnutGuy: 05/27/04 02:56 PM

I've used the finish I proposed earlier on several pieces.   None have turned brown.   But, wood is a natural product.   It varies, and so will your results.   That's why you always need to test first.   It ain't rocket science.

SteveS: 05/27/04 03:01 PM

More like brown...   defeating the purpose of using purpleheart.

My only piece of PH is used tung oil on turned a violet color;   almost black unless you have good lighting.   I use lacquer on my PH turnings and the color has not changed yet.

Kansas City Fireslayer: 05/28/04 07:24 PM

I thought UV rays would turn purpleheart more brown.   Isn't this correct??

vanguard: 05/28/04 08:24 PM

damonakers said:
I thought UV rays would turn purpleheart more brown.   Isn't this correct??

You know, I went to find web sites to support my experience that it's not UV rays but it's actually exposure to air.   I found some stuff that said it actually was UV rays, other sites that said it was oxygen, but most sites simply said it darkens as it's "exposed" or as it "matures".   It doesn't look like anybody has done a real study on it.

I can tell you this for sure.   If you leave a freshly planed board, which looks a little brown, hanging off of a table part of the bottom will turn purple and the unexposed part will stay brown.   My experience is that it's not sunlight like cherry but it seems like everybody says something different.

David Gillie: 05/29/04 06:53 AM

I had a piece of unfinished PH that had been stored inside a box in a cabinet (read: dark).

I wanted to show the PH to a customer.   I took it with me and left it on the seat of the car.   After doing some errands, by the time I got to the customer, it was brilliant violet again.
(I'll rent you my car for $200/day).

Maybe I just play it "safe" with PH so it doesn't turn brown black or dayglow orange (okay, kidding on the dayglow).   But I give the PH a coat or two with bleached Shellac just to protect it's color, regardless of what the final topcoat will be.

Kansas City Fireslayer: 05/29/04 11:16 AM

Vangaurd and Dave G.,

Interesting stuff.   I'm going to set a small PH scrap outside today and start my own little theory on the reactions of PH!

I'm getting ready to make some wood scraper handles for my hardwood flooring buddy and he requested PH with a maple inlay.   I'll try to get pics posted to show any differences between "sun bathed" PH and garaged PH...   I guess you could call it.

Have a good weekend!

Joe Lyddon: 05/27/04 06:17 PM

Vanguard...   Arm-R-Seal...   Which one did you use...   Satin, Semi-Gloss, or Gloss?

Nice table!

vanguard: 05/27/04 06:28 PM

I choose gloss.

On a side note, "embalming" finishes like a thin wiping varnish, poly, or Shellac should keep the Purple Heart purple for a long time.   Oils or oil/varnish (watco) finishes will not keep the air away from the Purple Heart and it will continue to darken to a darker purple.

Yotie: 06/02/04 12:38 PM

Vanguard...   where do you buy Arm-R-Seal?

Joe Lyddon: 06/02/04 01:36 PM

Here you go...

More cool information...

More stuff that might be helpful...

Dave Arbuckle: 06/02/04 01:31 PM

Arm-R-Seal is made by General Finishes.   A lot of unfinished furniture stores carry at least partial lines of GF, you might be able to buy it locally.

vanguard: 06/02/04 02:33 PM

I buy mine at my local woodcraft.

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