Purpleheart Losing Color

Does purpleheart lose its color over time? I am using it on the inside face of a box only.

Andy Rae: I grew up on a small island in the West Indies as a child, where what we Americans call “tropical woods” were considered local, even though many were imported. One of the more common woods was purpleheart, which was used for everything from studs in walls and flooring, to cabinetry and furniture. In fact, our dining table was made from a huge slab of purpleheart. Unfortunately, and as my old table can testify, purpleheart eventually turns a rich, chocolate brown over time. Thanks to exposure to light, the intense purple color slowly leaches out, and a lovely brown color takes its place. You can retard these changes by using a finish with a UV inhibitor, such as some of the exterior polyurethanes, but it will only serve to slow the process. Eventually, the inside of your box will darken to brown. Personally, I like the color of old purpleheart.

Posted in: