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Finish for Purpleheart?

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  • Finish for Purpleheart?

    Greetings, all. I seem to remember that a month or two ago somebody mentioned in some thread a good UV-protective finish that would keep Purpleheart (and undoubtedly other UV-sensitive woods) from fading as quickly as it would with other finishes. But now I can't find that thread. Or maybe I dreamed it. Any suggestions for a finish for Purpleheart?

    Of course, not displaying the piece in direct sunlight is a gimme, but even ambient sunlight will cause it to fade. I do like the color and I'd like it to remain purple for as long as possible.

    ThanKS all!

    Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind. -- Dr. Seuss

    NEW DeWalt 788 and that old, Jimmy- Jerry- and Kevin-rigged Delta 40-560

  • #2
    Id suggest a poly that is labled 'spar' , thats intended to be used in applications where sunlight is an issue. Dale
    Dale w/ yella saws


    • #3
      I think, that Dale was referring to the "Marine Spar Varnish".

      From the information that I have gleamed regarding UV protection (inhibitors and blockers) on those woods that change color. A few years is all you will get from them.

      You might want to try making up a purple pigmented stain sample, and then use a flat sheen coating, the pigments in the stain and the flattening agent in the coating are both blocker of UV rays and will give you some protectiion against color change.

      Good Luck


      • #4
        Mac - thanks for that bit of information. Finishing is something I always struggle with. I have an upcoming project that uses Purple Heart and this info will come in handy.

        Paul S.


        • #5


          Happy to help.



          • #6
            I have some purpleheart with spar and it turned brown after two years without being close to a window. I have purpleheart with tung oil finish after 5 years and with tons of indirect sunlight and it's still the same purple it always was. I have read that tung oil is an excellent UV protectant and it soaks into the wood to lock in the color, where Spar sits on top, breaks down and then fails to do it's job. I have settled into an undercoat of formbey's tung oil on all my intarsia's and then I spray poly on top. The tung oil is so easy to apply too, and if you do several coats, the tung oil is plenty hard to be a top coat too...sometimes that's all I use. If you topcoat it on top of tung oil, wait 72 hrs. And the odor is somewhat repulsive!
            Jeff Powell


            • #7
              Thanks, guys. I kind of like the tung oil idea, partly because Jeff has already done the "experiment", but probably also because of its simplicity. (I'm in a Danish Oil rut right now.) I don't have a lot of experience with stains but that's a reason to try Mac's idea, too. Since I plan to be cutting for many years, I'll probably do my own experiment. I'll let you know in '09 of the preliminary results.

              Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind. -- Dr. Seuss

              NEW DeWalt 788 and that old, Jimmy- Jerry- and Kevin-rigged Delta 40-560


              • #8
                Tung Oil is the best UV blocker?

                Tung oil is an amber color coating, any one who uses tung oil or boiled linseed oil knows both of these coats darken as they age, no matter what wood you use they will amber, that includes purpleheart. Which, means the color could not be the same 5 years later, even if it was not in the sunlight.It would have darkened from the tung oil any way

                You might have a bottle of "magical" Tung oil, what company is the bottler of the tung oil. I want to ask them if they know that their "Tung Oil" is the best UV blocker coating that is sold, after 5 years the purpleheart wood has not change even being in the sunlight.

                Even the best UV coatings only last a few year, then the chemicals break down and become useless.

                Will you post the name of the company, what a great article that would make if it checked out.


                • #9
                  Like I said, I use formbey's and then poly over top. I'm not interested in arguing about it, just telling how my results have been so far and I am very well pleased.
                  Don't think formbeys is pure tung oil, and haven't noticed hardly any ambering. the purpleheart has stayed the same, the bloodwood has darkened some though.
                  Jeff Powell


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by workin for wood
                    I'm not interested in arguing about it, just telling how my results have been so far and I am very well pleased.
                    It doesn't make sense to argue with experience anyway. As they say, experience is the best teacher.

                    Making sawdust with a Dremel 1680.


                    • #11
                      Tung Oils

                      I'm not hear to argue with you or anyone else.

                      As I mentioned, 100% pure Tung Oil or any modified Tung oil will both yellow (amber) by adding Poly over either of these coatinga it will yellow even more over time, this alone will darken the coatings and change the color.

                      If you use an "Acrylic" coating they are all water clear, and will stay that way for years, the purpleheart will change colors one way or the other.

                      And, Fromby's is modified, its not pure Tung oil.


                      • #12
                        You can also try teak oil work great with dark woods. Its made for finishing teak Boats so it holds up to UV real well just my 2 cents


                        • #13
                          Dry Oils...

                          There are several drying oils that are used as coatings on wood, Tung and Boiled Linseed Oil are two common ones. If the linseed oil did not contain a "metallic drier" which causes the oil to dry faster it could not be used as a coating because it dries to slow. ( it is not "boiled" that's just a fancy name)

                          Manufacturers use many different names for these two oils, in many cases they add solvents and resins to these two drying oils, which changes the two oils making it thinner or thicker, lighter or darker in color, some manufacturers use a dye to add additional color to these coating. They give them names like Danish, Swedish, Teak, Walnut, Maple, Oak, and many other names, they are no more then just different names with a different formula.

                          They are very popular coatings because they are very easy to use, in most cases they do not contain UV inhibitors or blockers, some exterior coatings like marine or exterior varnishes may have some, they are usually very expensive.

                          Many scrollers that I know use drying oil coatings just as the base coat to seal the wood, and then use lacquer spray cans as the final coating for their work, while there are others who use the drying oils from start to finish to complete their projects.

                          I'm only trying to pass on some information about drying oils.

                          Last edited by MacS; 02-13-2007, 04:24 AM. Reason: Added text


                          • #14
                            Teak oil comes from the natural oils in the teak tree and all teak oil has UV inhibitors because it is a natural occurance coming straight from mother nature. Tung oil comes from a tung nut and does not have natural UV inhibitors, but many companys add it into their reformulations. Formbeys tung oil finish, which is not pure of course, did have a UV, but no longer do they add it for some reason...the lady at formbeys said she thought is was a measure to keep the price down.
                            Otherwise, the rest of the oils are pretty much like you say, a conglomeration of one or the other or sometimes a mixture of both at the same time.

                            Still a good topic, because now when I run out of my tung I'll know not to buy another bottle of formbeys..I'll switch over to the teak oil which I have used and like it just as well. It's all about the color protection for me, not so much whether one is better than the other. I won't be searching for a new brand of tung oil that I might have to order online when I can just go to lowes and get some watco teak oil for $8 - $10.
                            Jeff Powell


                            • #15
                              Jeff, I am only trying to help..


                              I tried to explain here, that manufacturers can call a product Tung Oil,Teak Oil, Danish Oil, or any other oil, and there does not need to be any of Tung Oil or Teak Oil in the product at all. In some cases, an "essence" is added to give the product the smell of that ingredient.

                              I am going to attach two MSDS (material saftey data sheets) from a well known manufacturer, if you look at the ingredients of their danish oil and the teak oil, you will see they are basically alike, you will also notice there is no teak oil listed. THEY ARE LISTED ON THE FIRST PAGE.

                              Many manufacturer do this, I am not picking on Briwax, I am only trying to enlighten you and others that its easy to be fooled by what they are trying to sell you.

                              When in doubt, ask for a MSDS, you are entitled to one by law.

                              I'm just trying to help.
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