Purpleheart - good for bookshelves?


  #1  
Old 12-26-04, 06:21 AM
sabernar
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Question Purpleheart - good for bookshelves?

I was wondering if purpleheart would be a good wood for some built-in bookcases that I'm going to be building. I want a nice wood that isn't the standard red oak or walnut. The purpleheart would match the room nicely, but I was wondering if it was strong enough.

Thanks!
 
  #2  
Old 12-26-04, 10:12 AM
Sawdustguy
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Purple Heart would be an interesting/nice choice.

Make sure that you glue at least 2 boards together and each board is no greater than 5-6" wide. Also remember to do a "Roller Coaster" with your graining, so the boards will counter each other and stay stable during expansion and contraction. I recommend that you use biscuts to keep the boards flat. If you don't have a biscut cutter, you can use a spline cutter "Router Bit" and use a piece of plywood as your "spline" because it won't expand and contract and take the chance of cracking your joint line or the board.

Either way, make sure you don't route or put biscuts too close to the ends or close to the top or bottom, because when you mill/cut the boards you may end up going "OOPS!"

Bookcases are a minimum 12" depth. I would look at dadoing them together.

Maybe even add some radius work on it too, so it's not so plain and simple.

When doing finishing work on purple heart, a nice tung oil would look really nice, but wipe it down with acetone first, so you push back the oils and don't have problems with it affecting your finish. Apply the finish within 10 mins of wiping it down with acetone and wiping excess off with a dry rag.

If you have any further questions, please let us know.

Ps. It's VERY important that you have STRAIGHT edges on your boards and you have less than about 1/64" gap, between them, if any, or you could end up with the boards coming loose over time due to the joint failing from expansion and contraction.
 
  #3  
Old 12-26-04, 12:16 PM
sabernar
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Thanks! I was planning on using 1x6s and using buscuits to join them together, so it's nice to hear that I'm on the right track.

Why shouldn't I orute too close to the end?

I was also thinking of putting a small radius on the shelves to soften it up a bit.

I'd like to dado all the shelves, but I'm not sure how well it will turn out - this is my first big woodworking project (though I put in my tongue and groove front porch, so maybe this is my second bit project).

What wood glue should I use?

And I'm open to suggestions for other woods that I can use, but I think the purpleheart will look good in the green room that the shelves are going in.
 
  #4  
Old 12-26-04, 12:32 PM
Sawdustguy
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Originally Posted by sabernar
Thanks! I was planning on using 1x6s and using buscuits to join them together, so it's nice to hear that I'm on the right track. If the boards you're buying are already S4S then you should be ok. "S4S= Sanded 4 Sides. If you don't have the tools, see if the company you'd buy the wood from has capabilities to put a straight edge on a board and then joint it for glue-up. What kind of tools do you have? Thickness planer? Jointer? Table Saw, "What kind" etc. Do you have a dado blade? The adjustable dado blades are pretty much junk. If woodworking is something you'd really like to get into more, I would suggest that you buy a stack dado set with seperate chipper teeth. "Chipper Teeth are what makes the dado blade different widths.


Why shouldn't I orute too close to the end? Well, simple, if you route too close to the ends, when you trim your boards to the size, you'll end up seeing the groove you cut and or the spline/biscuts. Always try to stay 6" in from all ends. Also, before you cut your boards, if you're going to put any radius work on it, lay out your radius and other cuts, to ensure you won't cut into the splined area. Then place your spline/biscuts accordingly, based upon your layout.

I was also thinking of putting a small radius on the shelves to soften it up a bit.

I'd like to dado all the shelves, but I'm not sure how well it will turn out - this is my first big woodworking project (though I put in my tongue and groove front porch, so maybe this is my second bit project). Dados are great, but if your boards aren't 100% square, you're going to have a lot of problems. To do the right job, you need the right tools. Trying to Skimp in this trade isn't a wise thing to do. If you haven't done a dado before, you may want to look into some instructions or even take a night class at your local college/highschool to learn this trade a little more.

I would suggest you make a bookcase out of CHEAP materials first, get the hang of it and then make it out of Purple Heart. That's not a cheap way to practice your cuts.


What wood glue should I use? Titebond I or Titebond II will work just fine. You can find that at www.rockler.com if you can't find it locally.

And I'm open to suggestions for other woods that I can use, but I think the purpleheart will look good in the green room that the shelves are going in.
The only other suggestions I can offer you are questions that you're unsure of. I could spend all day typing a class about woodworking, but it would be too much for you to read and my fingers would probably die before I finished.
 
 

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