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Forum topic by Andy123 posted 11-03-2011 01:53 AM 1107 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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226 posts in 2741 days

11-03-2011 01:53 AM

Topic tags/keywords: purpleheart jointer plane tablesaw joining milling

Today, I was making some cutting boards. I milled up a large piece of Purple Heart. It was sanded on two sides and but not jointed. So I jointed and planed the board. It was looking very good. Nice and flat and true on all sides. I needed to make some smaller pieces from the PH Board. I ripped some 1.5 inch boards out of it. Then all of a sudden the 1.5 inch boards were twisted and bent. What do I do? Should I rip the boards over-sized then mill them down from that or what? I have not worked with PH a lot, is that something I should expect? Any advice would be appreciated.

-- The mistakes I make in woodworking are not mistakes they just give my projects character- Me

4 replies so far

View fussy's profile


980 posts in 3318 days

#1 posted 11-03-2011 08:33 AM


What happened to you is not limited to purple heart, but any specie can have internal stress. PH is hard to dry
so you may just have gotten a bad piece. You don’t say where you got it, if it was kiln or air dried, or how long it had been in your shop before you milled it. I would let the balance of your ph sit in the shop for a while, partially mill a piece, let it sit a while longer to adjust, then finish it. You might start with a narrower board that’s closer to your desired final width. When I have wide flat boards, I try to use them for something requiring wider stock.


PS You ought to see about that growth on your right shoulder. I’ll bet it’s going to get a lot bigger.

-- Steve in KY. 44 years so far with my lovely bride. Think I'll keep her.

View Sawdust4Blood's profile


408 posts in 3289 days

#2 posted 11-03-2011 09:22 AM

Steve is spot on about internal stress. I don’t know that I would quite call it “a bad board” but it is true that boards coming from certain parts of a tree can have internal stress grown right in. Unfortunately, it can be incredibly hard to identify those boards (if possible at all) from a stack in your lumberyard. If there is anyone that knows a fool proof way of identifying those boards, I would sure like to know it because, as Steve points out, if you mill enough boards of any kind I think you’re going to see one twist, bow, or cup and soon as you allow the internal stress to release.

If it were a domestic lumber or you were buying lumber direct from a source in Southeast Asia, then I would be more inclined to suspect it of improper aging/drying but I don’t know where you might find fresh cut purpleheart. Most of the lumberyards that I know that would carry an exotic hardwood are going to ensure it is properly dried.

-- Greg, Severn MD

View Andy123's profile


226 posts in 2741 days

#3 posted 11-03-2011 05:03 PM

Thanks for the info guys. It helps a lot. I have to wait before trying to use it again.

-- The mistakes I make in woodworking are not mistakes they just give my projects character- Me

View DS's profile


3056 posts in 2688 days

#4 posted 11-03-2011 06:06 PM

I had this happen with some 8/4 Maple that I was ripping into 2” X 2” legs. As I cut, the piece took a left turn off the back of my table saw. It was incredibly frustrating. Fortunately, I was cutting with rough stock and a bit oversized, so, after I cut to length, I had enough material to true it up again.

As far as identifying internal stresses before cutting, I know of no way to accomplish this. I’ve just gotten in the habit of ripping my material in rough sawn then truing it up in smaller pieces.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

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