Purpleheart question

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by ChaosGwar, Sep 10, 2002.

  1. Is purpleheart alone strong enough to be used as a necktrough? Would I need to strengthen it with another type of wood to make it more stable?
  2. JP Basses

    JP Basses

    Mar 22, 2002
    Paris FRANCE
    Two points:

    Purpleheart has as strong mechanical properties as wenge (even if it is not as hard).

    It's true that purpleheart can be less stable than other common neck woods

    . Cut and re-glue your neck blank in a 3 pieces neck (check wood grain orientation)
    . Laminate with other woods
    . Add some graphite rods.

  3. Thanks, JP.

    I just read in the archives someone referring to purpleheart as "Natures steel" or "Natures Graphite"

    I'm thinking about building my own neckthrough, and am looking at a piece of purpleheart that might work, if the size is ok. Here are the dimentions, is it big enough? 72.25" long X 4" wide X 2.25" thick.

    It should be big enough for a neckthrough, shouldn't it?
  4. That should definitely be large enought for a neck-thru. Heck, that would be more than large enough for a neck-thru 7 string. You would probably only need about 45-50 inches of length out of that piece.
  5. I'm thinking about cutting it down to the width of a 4 string, maybe a 5. I'm still in the prelim stages, but already told myslef I was going to get dual graphite rods for strength. I think I would screw up cutting the board to make it a three piece neck.

    What sort of wood would be nice for a fretboard? I've only got experience with rosewood and maple.

    What woods would make good body wings? I plan on having the neckthrough construction visible from both sides, so no top wood.

  6. JP Basses

    JP Basses

    Mar 22, 2002
    Paris FRANCE
    Well, you could go on for a purpleheart fingerboard, if you're building a fretted bass.
    A stripped ebony or wenge board would lookk great too.

    As for the body wings, try to use something contrasting. Walnut or ovengkol should suit the purpleheart neck well. weigth is to be taken in consideration, beacuse purpleheart is pretty heavy.

    Youl can use a laminated top for the body wings. Walnut over alder or swamp ash...you're not forced to face the neck section with the top !

  7. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    Just thought I'd add my 2 cents....

    Purpleheart is hard, and stiff enough, but you'll want to look at the grain direction of the stuff for a 1 piece neck. Quartersawn is best, then flatsawn. I would hesitate to use rift-sawn lumber in a 1 piece neck.
  8. I got the wood, and it's quartersawn. The color is absolutely gorgeous. It's a reddish purple, with hints of pink and maroon. Very nice.

    I'm going to add graphite stiffeners when I start in on the project.

    BTW, what is rift-sawn? I've not heard that term before.
  9. gyancey


    Mar 25, 2002
    Austin, TX
    If you finish purple heart with a yellow-tint finish (i.e. most finishes, esp. oil. not so much lacquer, at least at first) you will lose some of the purple and it will come out more red. The waterborne lacquer I'm using now seems a little colder, almost blue-ish, so I did a wash coat of orange shellac on everything except the purple heart - which is keeping its color nicely under the waterborne. Something to keep in mind.
  10. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    Rift-sawn or bastard-sawn is between flatsawn and quartersawn. If yours is quartersaw, I'd say you're good to go.