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I'm (slowly) on my way back from Texas to Iowa where I tried unsuccessfully to procure enough Mesquite to do my 223 with a wood stock and handguards. Since I had to get something, I narrowed it to a choice between Zebrawood and Purpleheart, ultimately deciding on the latter.

 

From what I've read on it, Purpleheart is a bit different to work with and I was just wondering if anyone here has any hands on experience working with it.

 

Thanx,

Tim

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try battlerifleG3? He might take it.

 

I asked ironwood about this specificly and they gave me a firm NO.

 

Bobba Debt is messing around with making me a set in his spare time. He has used purpleheart in furnature and display boxes befor.

 

From what I've heard from a few people purpleheart is "rough on the tooling". I'm assuming due to how hard it is.

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Hello

 

I've worked with Purpleheart some. Not too far removed from Ebony as far as density and hardness, it will easily burn with feed speeds that are too slow or dull tools. It needs to have all fastener holes carefully pre-drilled, it will break a screw or bend a nail in a New York second.

 

Really has a lot of character, though. You never really know how much until you plane or sand the oxidized layer off, then it can be just plain amazing. I've never seen gun furniture made from it, but it might be gorgeous!

 

Be sure and post some pic's.

 

-guido

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I have worked with it before as well.

 

among other things I know how to do, is intricate wood lathe work. Ive turned a bunch of different trinkets, bowls, and some small vases with it. dulls wood chisels pretty darn quick compared to other hardwoods. I would spin it out on the slowest pulleys, stuff not only is hard as a rock, but is heavy as hell too. I left a large thick chunk of it behind in NY with my indian friend, who i contacted recently, and he says he still has it. weighs almost as much as stone.

 

like was mentioned above, work with it slowly, and be precise with your holes. its some hard ass wood, thats for sure.

 

in the thicker working blanks, the price goes up exponentially as the thickness increases. when you find the darker colored pieces, they sure do look nice under a good clear finish in the light.

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Member KT has worked some gun stuff with this wood before.

 

If you ask him nicely I bet he has something up his sleeve.

mS1HJ.jpg

Edited by beefcakeb0
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I can't help with the woodworking but I'd like to chime in with some randome thoughts.....

 

I love them both especially Zebrawood... and I always wondered if the light bands would take colored stains.

 

I'm also very partial to Brazilian Rosewood and Curly Maple.

 

I think Maple, Walnut, and Mahogony Burlwoods are stunningly beautiful but it may be difficult finding large enough pieces that are evenly burled/colored throughout and also structurally sound.

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Member KT has worked some gun stuff with this wood before.

 

If you ask him nicely I bet he has something up his sleeve.

mS1HJ.jpg

 

I'm making a few more 1911 grips like these, and I'm working on maple stocks right now, but I found a guy that has sguare turning blocks of purple heart that I may make into a S-12 fore grip.

 

Thanks for the post, Beefcake, saved me the trouble of looking up the pic!

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WOW, thats an interesting material.... Im curious how your project will turn out, It will be something different, thats for sure :super:

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25 year veteran professional cabinet maker here. Be careful if you are allergic while doing any considerable amount of finish sanding on purpleheart, you'll need to have a fan on to move the fine dust away from you.

 

If you need to glue two pieces together make sure you scrub the joints with laquer thinner to remove the oil from the surface.

 

Other than that use only carbid tipped tooling as it will chew HSS.

 

Tony

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Besides the allergy factor, Peltogyne or "purpleheart" can be toxic.

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Thanks for all the information, I really appreciate it. While I may be doing some of the work, it will mostly be in the hands of a very talented woodcrafter, thankfully. He's only done two gun stocks so far (working on his third) but has done numerous other projects and they are simply beautiful. I don't know if posting any pics of the baby crib he did would do it justice but I'll try to get some of them. It's basically a perfect heirloom quality piece. I also believe most, if not all of the wood was cut down and made into lumber by his uncle. His uncle also was a World War II aircraft carrier pilot, but that's a whole different interesting story.

 

This all started when I looked into the gun safe and noticed (once again) that all my weapons were black. I told him I was going to order the K-Var plum stock set for my 223 and maybe paint the receiver gray to break up the monotony a bit. He then offered to do it in a nice wood instead. I may be stupid, but not that stupid, and immediately agreed. Looks like I need to order a gas tube and lower handguard retainer from CSS now so I can AK it.

 

Thanks again for all the help. I don't know how long it'll be but will post some pics. If this works out I (he) may be doing something more complex for the 308.

 

Tim

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It's VERY hard Very strong & rather heavy.

Have it lightened as much as possible, like big holes hollowing out the buttstock behind the plate.

Don't worry. They won't weaken it.

It's a very tight grain.

 

As a baseball bat, it would be far too heavy.

As an oldschool lathe spun billy club, it would be AWESOME, like drilling out a hickory club & filling it with lead.

 

If left out in the sun forever Purpleheart will go toward black in color.

 

To give you an idea of the strength of this wood, the most common industrial use of this wood is on tractor/trailer's flatbed trailers that track-hoes, bulldozers & tanks are transported on.

 

It's MUCH stronger than Zebrawood.

I made a half-assed Skeleton stock with it a couple years ago by whittling on it with a dremel.

I gave it away for free here after converting the gun it was on.

I don't know what ever became of it.

It's the one of the few solid woods that you could build a skeleton stock out of & butstroke someone into oblivion & I would be confident would not break.

 

2s13.jpg

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It's VERY hard Very strong & rather heavy.

Have it lightened as much as possible, like big holes hollowing out the buttstock behind the plate.

Don't worry. They won't weaken it.

It's a very tight grain.

 

As a baseball bat, it would be far too heavy.

As an oldschool lathe spun billy club, it would be AWESOME, like drilling out a hickory club & filling it with lead.

 

If left out in the sun forever Purpleheart will go toward black in color.

 

To give you an idea of the strength of this wood, the most common industrial use of this wood is on tractor/trailer's flatbed trailers that track-hoes, bulldozers & tanks are transported on.

 

It's MUCH stronger than Zebrawood.

I made a half-assed Skeleton stock with it a couple years ago by whittling on it with a dremel.

I gave it away for free here after converting the gun it was on.

I don't know what ever became of it.

It's the one of the few solid woods that you could build a skeleton stock out of & butstroke someone into oblivion & I would be confident would not break.

 

2s13.jpg

 

Even more good advice. I'm going just under NATO length on the stock so at least it won't be huge. There's more than enough wood to do several stocks, some other projects, and a billy club. I kinda like that idea. I also suggested that he make a purple heart out of Purpleheart, but will keep my mouth shut now until the stock is finished.

 

That's a nice looking skeleton. I'm guessing it's one of the few ever made from wood.

 

Thanks,

Tim

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Just an update. Ralph finished his Savage 223 and has started on my Saiga. He did Maple and Walnut on his. He likes two tones. Me, not so much. At least on AK styled guns.

post-23904-0-67272600-1301068754_thumb.jpg

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I have experience with purpleheart and can echo the other comments about it being very hard to work. I would not have believed it in the same ballpark as ebony without actually forming a complete stock set out of it.

 

For something hard and tough, I prefer jatoba. A different color but a very nice one that forms a good surface finish.

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I have experience with purpleheart and can echo the other comments about it being very hard to work. I would not have believed it in the same ballpark as ebony without actually forming a complete stock set out of it.

 

For something hard and tough, I prefer jatoba. A different color but a very nice one that forms a good surface finish.

 

Ralph says he has the hand guards basically done (I haven't seen them yet) and I would think they would be more difficult than the stock since it will be standard AK pattern which is a relatively simple style. His comment at this point is that he enjoys working with purpleheart because it doesn't tend to splinter and shapes well. I'll leave that to the experts like you and him.

 

I do have a 308 too, so I'll ask you if would recommend zebrawood as a viable wood to use on it. I really like the grain pattern on it but know little about how it would hold up or difficulty of shaping. If it isn't suitable, anything similar you might recommend? I'm going to try and find mesquite again if I decide to do the 12 gauge.

 

Thanks,

Tim

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post-23904-0-27242200-1303088328_thumb.jpgpost-23904-0-83685100-1303088303_thumb.jpgpost-23904-0-41157400-1303088290_thumb.jpgpost-23904-0-88016000-1303088270_thumb.jpg

 

Well, I'm inept when it comes to pictures but here are a few of the finished stock. I don't think the true color comes through in the pictures but it does give a pretty good idea of what it looks like. I'm pleased. Very much so.

Edited by timy
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Wow, that is absolutely gorgeous. I didn't think I was going to like it, but that made a believer out of me.

 

How heavy is it now? From the previous posts, it makes it sound really heavy.

 

I still can't get over how nice that looks.

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Wow, that is absolutely gorgeous. I didn't think I was going to like it, but that made a believer out of me.

 

How heavy is it now? From the previous posts, it makes it sound really heavy.

 

I still can't get over how nice that looks.

 

I know what you mean. I had some reservations initially but think the color compliments the AK look very well.

 

I haven't weighed it but just picking it up and aiming it, it doesn't feel heavy at all. It just feels normal. Their isn't a lot of wood in the handguards of course and the stock (aside from being fairly small) also has a deep hole under the trapdoor. It does feel solid as a rock and there is absolutely no play in the furniture. Ralph did a fantastic job.

 

I wish I could have gotten a few more pictures but the sun was popping in and out between showers. I'll try to get more later. I can't believe it turned out so well either.

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Purpleheart is a beautiful wood,one thing to keep in mind though is that it does turn brown over time.

Working with it isn't too bad as long as your tools are sharp.Also wear a respirator or at least a good dust mask,it will fuck up your lungs...

It can chip a bit easy when turning it,but hand work is good to use on it.

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Purpleheart is a beautiful wood,one thing to keep in mind though is that it does turn brown over time.

Working with it isn't too bad as long as your tools are sharp.Also wear a respirator or at least a good dust mask,it will fuck up your lungs...

It can chip a bit easy when turning it,but hand work is good to use on it.

 

Yeah, I know it can turn brown but am unsure if it will turn no matter what. I never got what I consider a definitive answer on that. He did use an exterior grade finish with UV protection so I guess I'll find out.

 

I did very little of the work myself. Ralph said he really did enjoy working it (by hand for the most part). In his experience, it tended to gum up bits more than dull them and was very easy to burn/blacken when using power tools. Other than that, he loved it.

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Now That, That is pretty freaking awesome...If I may ask, how much did this set end up running in the end? because Id almost be tempted to one day look into something like this :super:

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Now That, That is pretty freaking awesome...If I may ask, how much did this set end up running in the end? because Id almost be tempted to one day look into something like this :super:

 

Well, I can answer your question but I don't know how representative it would be as to what you would end up paying.

 

The wood was free to me but didn't cost Ralph a huge amount. He gave 80 bucks for a piece 8 feet long, 2 inches thick, and 10 inches wide. He probably has enough left to do 2 or 3 more. I bought the gas tube and handguard retainer from CSS for 80 bucks but don't know if I should count that because I would have needed them anyway if I'd gone with K-Var plastic or Tapco/Timbersmith. The woodwork was free, but I don't operate that way so I'll be buying him 125 bucks worth of conversion parts. I'm also going to convert his 223 when it comes in but consider that more fun than work. I'll have to think about whether that's enough payback. That's basically it.

 

What I would recommend is that you find a good woodworker who hasn't done any gunstocks yet and present it as a challenge. If you have any skills with it, even better. Even if you only can do the sanding and let him do the shaping it would help. Just guessing (I may be way off) but then you might be able to get one for 250 or so. You never know until you try.

 

Other than the looks of Purpleheart or whatever wood you choose, another advantage of having one custom made for your gun is that it should end up rock solid with no play in it anywhere like mine did. I'm not knocking the kits but they are mass produced and designed to work within a certain range of tolerances. Of course that takes more time and thus the price will be higher.

 

Tim

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