Is Purple Heart Wood Toxic (Everything You Need to Know)

Purpleheart is an exotic species of wood. It’s known for its beautiful natural color, premium quality, durability, and much more. But it also has a few drawbacks. 

One of the most common concerns is, Is purple heartwood toxic?

No, purple hardwood is not toxic. But it is a sensitizer that may irritate the eyes and skin. It is a lot like poison ivy. In a sense, the severity of the effect differs from person to person. Purpleheart has also been known to make people feel nauseous.

There is no denying that this exotic wood is quite unique. Despite its toxic properties you can still use it to make your preferred wooden pieces.

We will dive into these details in our article below. 

Is Purple Heart Wood Toxic?

is purple heart wood toxic

No, purple heartwood isn’t toxic. But it’s a sensitizer. Serious reactions to purple heartwood are extremely rare. But several cases suggest that the wood does harm some people but not all.

The wood can cause nausea as well as eye and skin discomfort.

As a result, it’s not a good choice for jewelry. If you are thinking of getting this wood then you should look into the wood’s medical history. To check if you have any allergies that it could trigger. 

There are countless alternatives of wood now as well. You can look into some plywoods if wood isn’t right for you. Here are some of our top choices-

Purple heartwood is also known to induce allergies and sensitivities in dogs. Although the touch of the wood does not affect all dogs, it does affect some.

So you should check into the specifics of purchasing and using it. That is if you want to own purple wood and keep a pet at the same time. 

How to Know If You Are Sensitive to Purple Heart Wood

As mentioned in the previous segment, purple heartwood doesn’t affect everybody. That being said you should test it out yourself if you are sensitive towards it or not.

Especially if you want to put it to use. If it’s a family commodity then it should be tested on everyone. 

You will need purple heartwood dust to know if you are sensitive to it. Wood dust is the most authentic form of wood. So testing with it will bear more accuracy.

Take some wood dust and try to smell it and touch it. If you feel any form of irritation, you are sensitive to it.

How to Use Purpleheart Wood Despite Its Toxicity

Purpleheart is one of the most stable and long-lasting hardwoods available. Apart from its remarkable color, it has amazing durability and strength. Depending on what you want, it can be the right wood for you.

But its toxic properties can make you skeptical about using it. But don’t worry. You can still use purple heartwood despite its toxicity. 

You can do so by giving it appropriate finishing. By giving a good finish you can use purple heartwood any way you want despite its toxicity. Here’s how you can do it.

Step 1: Sand And Apply Sanding Sealer

Firstly you need to prepare the wooden plank by cutting and sanding. Once you’re done with that apply 2-3 layers of clear shellac sanding sealer as a base coat.

It will take around 5-6 minutes for it to dry. So, before moving on to the next stage, let it entirely dry.

The clear shellac sanding sealer will seal the pores in the wood. It will then dry quickly to form a base coat onto which you can apply lacquer.

In case you’re looking for a good wood sealer, look no more. We bring you a list of the finest products out there-

Step 2: Apply Clear Lacquer Wood Finish

Apply a clear lacquer wood finish after that. Apply 2-3 layers of lacquer with a brush to get the most out of it. Remember to sand in between coats as well.

Before sanding, allow enough time for each application to dry completely.

Allow the wood to dry after you’ve completed this step. Make sure to keep the wood indoors and away from sunlight. This is necessary to preserve its color. You can also apply wood coat paint to protect the raw surface.

You don’t have to look anywhere, we’ve got you covered. Here’s a list of the top products out there-

By doing these steps, you can use purpleheart wood without worrying about its toxins. But if you’re allergic to it, you may still feel a bit irritated while using it. 

In that case, it’s best to stay away from it entirely. Giving it a good finish can seal the wood to an extent. But it cannot erase its inherent properties. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: Can you use purple heartwood for a cutting board?

Answer: Yes, you can. However, you need to make sure that you are not allergic to it. Or else you won’t be able to use it smoothly. But it will rather feel itchy and uncomfortable. 

Question: How dense is Purple Heart?

Answer: Purpleheart is a tough, dense wood. The average specific gravity (oven-dry weight/green volume) reported ranges from 0.67 to 0.91. This corresponds to a 52 to 74 PCF air-dried weight. The Janka hardness scale measures 2710 pounds of force.

Question: What will be the best finish for purpleheart wood?

Answer: Apply a clear shellac sanding sealer as a base coat. After that, apply a clear lacquer finish. Shellac and clear lacquer, unlike polyurethane, don’t yellow with age. So they will keep purpleheart wood looking lively.

Bottom Line

Now you know the answer to the question is purple heart wood toxic?. So you can decide for yourself if you want to use it or not. 

This species of wood may have a few concerns. But the beauty and effectiveness of it definitely make up for it. 

We hope you found this article helpful. 

Kevin Smith

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