Purpleheart Ring Boxes

I wanted to try working with some purpleheart because I think the colour just looks amazing. I also really wanted to try machining purpleheart because I’ve read a lot about how hard it is and I wanted to compare it to some of our Australian hardwoods which can also be quite hard.

So I went and bought myself a small block of purpleheart. I only got a small block because it’s quite an expensive wood here in Australia especially since it’s imported. I decided to laminate it with some scraps of white ash I had left over from a previous jewellery box I made, so that I could then chop the block up into three parts and make some more ring boxes.

Laminating the Purpleheart with White Ash.

Laminating the Purpleheart with White Ash. Can never have enough clamps!

Block of Purpleheart laminated with White Ash.

The ring box blanks will be cut out of this block.

The boxes have been cut to length and the hinges made.

The boxes have been cut to length and the hinges made.

The purpleheart was quite hard to work with. It burned easily when cutting, and drilling the ring box holes with a forstner bit took forever. In fact I had to stop and re-sharpen my forstner bit halfway through the job because it was burning more than it was cutting. It kind of reminded me of working with jarrah but I think purpleheart is even harder – it definitely seemed to burn quicker. Purpleheart does however sand quite nicely and it wasn’t difficult at all to get a nice silky smooth sanded finish on all three boxes.

The ring boxes ready for finishing.

The ring boxes ready for finishing.

The ring boxes ready for finishing.

The ring boxes ready for finishing.

For finishing the boxes I decided to go with a wipe-on poly which is basically a thinned down varnish which you apply with a rag. I also had some Teak Oil which is good for dense woods so I decided to try that on one of the boxes as well.

Finishing products used on ring boxes

Finishing products used on ring boxes

I think the look of the boxes with the wipe-on poly turned out a little better than the teak oiled box and it’s probably because of the satin sheen created by the poly. The teak oil makes the colours pop however it dries matt therefore giving a slightly different look.

All three finished ring boxes.

All three finished ring boxes.

For more pictures of the finished ring boxes check out the photo gallery.

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