View Full Version : Purpleheart wood for uke sides and back?

09-10-2011, 10:07 AM
I am considering purpleheart wood for sides and back of a uke. Purpleheart is strong and stiff but seems to be used mostly for accents and binding. Is there any problem with using it for sides and the back? Would it be more likely than popular woods for problems down the road?

I imagine a uke made with it (+ spruce top) would be very bright sounding.

Would anyone recommend it or avoid it?

09-10-2011, 10:13 AM
I have not tried bending it, but I can't imagine it would be any more difficult to bend then cocobolo... I take that back I have bent some for bindings. it bent about like you would expect.

I say give it a try if you have some laying around.... I still have some but don't have the desire to build with it while I have fl grown rosewood and monkey pod, and a chunk of Cuban Mahogany waiting for me down at the lumber supplier.

09-10-2011, 12:28 PM
I've seen (pictures of) a Kanile'a or two made entirely out of purpleheart (used to see the "exotic woods" series show up on eBay), so it's not impossible to work with...

I take it back! The guy who sold those series is still at it - and has a purpleheart and spruce model up for sale - here's a link so you can check out the pictures (not selling or promoting - the price he's asking seems ridiculous to me...just a link so you can check out the pictures.


Rick Turner
09-10-2011, 03:44 PM
Purpleheart is not that big a deal to work with, and it's not terribly expensive. I've used it for peghead face overlays, fingerboards, and bridges for my students' ukes. I like it a lot for those accents with more traditional woods like mahogany for backs and sides and then Western red cedar for tops. I've also used a lot of purpleheart in guitar and bass neck laminations; it glues well and has similar expansion and contraction to maple.