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A Question on Purple Heart

Discussion in 'Shop Talk - BladeSmith Questions and Answers' started by Travis Talboys, Jun 9, 2019.

  1. Travis Talboys

    Travis Talboys

    Oct 30, 2018
    I was wondering how stable in stabilized Purple Heart is. I recently picked up a block that I would like to use one a project I'm getting ready to start, but it's not stablized. The knife will likely not be used a lot, and almost certainly won't be abused.

    Can I get by with just sealing the wood, or should I send it out for stablizing?

    Thanks for any advice,
  2. gudspelr


    Jul 1, 2013
    I used it once several years ago on a knife I gave my mom. It wasn’t stabilized and I wouldn’t worry at all about using it again. It seemed very stable in its natural state.

    Coy Ranch likes this.
  3. Carterwhopkins

    Carterwhopkins KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Dec 12, 2012
    I've used non-stabilized purple heart several times with no issues.
  4. Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith

    Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith ilmarinen - MODERATOR Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 20, 2004
    Amaranth - AKA purple heat - is very stable. The color will change in time to a browner shade … or all brown. The intense color after sanding fades away pretty soon. Stabilizing slows this some, but it is just a fact of life with this wood.
    It can also stain the hands during sanding, and a little if used wet … especially if wet with alcohol or other solvents. This isn't normally a big issue, as most knives are used dry.

    Everyone seems to have a favorite way to finish it. I rarely use it on knives, but on turnings I apply a simple sanding sealer and then sand to a high grit. I then apply a friction polish.
    On knives, a final coat of oil finish (any gun finish, Tru-oil, etc.) will make it smooth and shiny, but I don't like a built up finished.

    If using an oil finish, rub it in - wipe the excess off after a few minutes - let dry a day or more - sand back to the wood with fine grit paper - repeat a couple times. This will fill the pores but not leave a coat of varnish on the surface. A good buffing with an old T-shirt will give it a nice glow.
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2019
  5. Travis Talboys

    Travis Talboys

    Oct 30, 2018
    Thanks everyone. I will try to post a picture when it's done.


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