Common Names: Purpleheart, Amaranth
Scientific Names: Peltogyne spp.
Why we use for Bokken: Purple heart is a durable lightweight hardwood that is quite beautiful in color. We like using this wood as an accent to other wood. A simple re-finish of the wood will reveal it's original luster.
Appearance: When freshly cut the heartwood of Purpleheart is a dull grayish/purplish brown. Upon exposure the wood becomes a deeper eggplant purple. With further age and exposure to UV light, the wood becomes a dark brown with a hint of purple. This color-shift can be slowed and minimized by using a UV inhibiting finish on the wood.
Grain: Has a medium texture with small pores. The grain is usually straight, but can also be wavy or irregular.
Durablility: Purpleheart is rated as being very durable, and resists both decay and most insect attacks, though it has been reported to be susceptible to attack from marine borers.
Scent: There is no characteristic odor associated with this wood species.
Safety: Although severe reactions are quite uncommon, Purpleheart has been reported as a sensitizer. Usually most common reactions simply include eye and skin irritation. Purpleheart has also been reported to cause nausea.
Availability: Considering that it is an imported exotic hardwood, Purpleheart has a moderate price. It should compare similarly with African Mahogany or Padauk in price.
Other Comments: Mechanical data was compiled and averaged out from three species within the Peltogyne genus: Peltogyne paniculata, P. porphyrocardia, and P. venosa. Even taking the average of these numbers, Purpleheart ranks among the very stiffest and strongest woods in the world. Some common uses for Purpleheart include: boat-building, flooring, furniture, heavy construction, and a variety of specialty wood items.