How To Finish Purple Heart Wood: Tips & Tricks for a Perfect Finish
Finishing purple heart wood is a rewarding project, as it is a truly unique and visually stunning hardwood. With its gorgeous purple hue, purple heart wood is perfect for making furniture, cabinetry, and other ornamental wooden projects. If you’re ready to tackle how to finish purple heart wood, this article will guide you through the process of selecting and applying the appropriate protective finish. We’ll cover the type of finish to select, how to properly prepare the wood surface, as well as the application of the protective finish. With some patience and vigor, you can have an expertly sealed, purple heart wood finish to admire for many years. Let’s dive right in and see how to finish purple heart wood!
Choose the Type of Finish
Purple heart wood is a beautiful, unique wood that makes for a great aesthetic addition to any home. When finishing your purple heart wood, the first thing to consider is the type of finish. There are a few different options to choose from: a sealer, a clear finish, a wax finish, and a combination of these. Each option has its own pros and cons and it’s important to determine which one best suits your needs.
Sealers protect wood from moisture, dust, and other environmental hazards, while maintaining the natural beauty of the wood. Depending on the type of sealer chosen, the protection can last anywhere from two to five years. However, sealers do not add any color to the wood or bring out its natural features.
Clear finishes allow the natural beauty of the wood to shine through and can be easily removed or changed if desired. Clear finishes are not necessarily glossy, they can also be applied with just a slight sheen. Clear finishes usually require regular maintenance and are generally not as durable as wax or sealers.
A wax finish is perfect for a natural look, as the wax enhances the wood’s luster and physical properties. Wax finishes require frequent maintenance, however, and do not provide any type of protection from the elements.
Combination finishes are the most ideal option for purple heart wood since the wax provides the wood with a natural sheen, while the sealer offers it protection from the elements. This gives you the chance to show off the wood’s natural beauty without sacrificing its durability.
Prepare the Wood Surface
Properly preparing the wood surface is the key to achieving a durable and attractive finish. In order to ensure a properly prepared surface, it is important to perform all of the necessary preparation steps right before you apply the protective finish. First, begin by using a belt sander, or wide blade planer, to thoroughly sand the wood surface. Use a high-grit sandpaper and work through each of the direction of the grain in order to ensure a smooth, even finish. Ensure to sand down any bumps or knots in the wood, as these can produce a visible finish.
Once the entire surface is sanded, use a vacuum to clean up the dust and debris. To further prepare the wood surface for its protective finish, it is important to clean it with a damp cloth. Be sure to use a wood cleaner that does not contain any chemical residue. In addition, you may want to apply a wood conditioner, if you are staining the wood. This will help create a smooth, even finish.
Finally, make sure the wood is 100% dry before applying the protective finish. This can be done by allowing the wood surface to air dry or by lightly drying it with a clean cloth. Do not use a hair dryer, as this can cause the wood to overheat and damage the protective finish. Once the wood is completely dry, it is time to apply the purple heart protective finish.
Apply a Wood Stain (Optional)
When it comes to staining purple heart wood, you have a variety of options. If you’d like your purple heart wood to keep its true color, then you can skip this part and simply apply a protective finish. However, if you’d like to deepen the natural purple hue, applying a wood stain is the way to go.
It’s important to note that wood stains are not actually stains—they’re a type of finish that penetrates the wood and adds both color and depth. You’ll want to apply a gel or liquid stain specifically designed for wood and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. When applying the stain, make sure to use a lint-free cloth and wipe it along the grain of the wood — this will ensure even saturation of the stain.
For more unique looks, you can even mix different colors together to create a color blend. You can also experiment with techniques such as using multiple coats of stain, diluting the stain, or swirling colors together on a surface. Experimenting with these techniques can yield really stunning results and a unique purple heart finish.
Once you’ve achieved your desired color, make sure you let the stain completely dry before attempting to apply a protective finish. If you’re not satisfied with the colors, you can always apply another coat of stain or start from the beginning.
Apply the Purple Heart Protective Finish
Before applying a protective finish to the purple heart wood, it is important to select the right finish. Generally, a high quality sealer, lacquer, varnish or oil is best for this particular type of wood. Many people like to mix their own blend of finish to get the desired color or sheen.
When prepping the wood surface prior to applying a finish, it is important to sand the wood evenly. This will help to ensure maximum adhesion of the finish. The wood should be sanded with a fine to medium grade paper until the surface is even and free of any bumps or marks. Once the wood is sanded, wipe it down with a damp cloth to remove any debris or dust.
If a wood stain is desired, it should be applied prior to the protective finish. Be sure to use the right type of stain that is formulated for the type of wood being used. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application.
The next step is to apply the protective finish to the purple heart wood. Depending on the type of finish being used, apply the coating with a high quality brush, roller or spray gun. Begin by coating the edges and sides of the wood first, then work towards the center. Once the entire surface is coated, allow the finish to dry and cure for at least 24 hours. Make sure to apply thin but even coats, taking care to keep a thin and even film.
To maintain and care for the purple heart wood, it is important to select the right cleaning products. In general, a mild, pH neutral cleaner is best. Be sure to avoid abrasive cleaners and scrub brushes that may damage the finish. Avoid excessive water and heat, as these can have a damaging effect on the wood. After cleaning, make sure to apply a protective sealer or oil to restore the wood’s natural sheen.
Allow the Finish to Dry and Cure
When applying a finish to purple heart wood, it is important to allow the finish to dry and cure properly before engaging in any other wood finishing activities. To ensure proper curing, use a fan or a dehumidifier to circulate air around the piece and allow the finish to dry and cure evenly. Generally, the finish should have several hours to properly dry and cure after being applied. It may take as long as 24 hours or longer for some finishes to fully cure.
Be sure to remove any excess finish after it has had time to dry and cure. This can be done with a cloth or a paper towel. If the finish has become tacky, it may be necessary to use a finishing solvent to remove the excess. This will prevent the piece from having too much shine or too much of a wet look.
After the piece has had the chance to dry and cure, it is important to look it over and inspect the final result. The surface should feel smooth and durable with a nice luster. If the finish looks dull and patchy, it may need to be reapplied. If everything looks as it should, your purple heart wood will be ready to be used.
Maintenance and Care Tips
Proper maintenance and care of your purple heart wood finish is key to ensure it looks vibrant and beautiful for years to come. Heat, humidity, and UV rays can all take a toll on the wood, despite its durability, so taking the necessary steps for maintenance is important for optimal longevity.
You should avoid placing purple heart wood in direct sunlight as much as possible, as exposure to UV rays can fade and discolor the wood over time. Make sure to periodically dust and clean your piece, using a proper cleaning solution depending on the type of finish you’ve chosen. Many recommend using warm water and a mild dish detergent then drying it off with a lint-free cloth afterwards.
For upholstered pieces that have a protective finish, use a vacuum on a low setting with an upholstery brush to remove any dirt or dust particles. Be careful not to use too much tremendous force, as it can scratch the finish.
For protective finishes themselves, you should use a special furniture polish to help revive the original luster of the wood and nourish the finish. Follow the instructions on the container, making sure to avoid using too much pressure or over-polishing, as this can cause damage.
Additionally, avoid using bleach or other harsh chemical cleaners on the protective finish, as they can strip away the finish and leave the wood exposed.
Finally, avoid stacking heavy items on your piece, as too much weight can cause the piece to shift, scratch, or dent the finish.