Birthday Plaque for my Bride

So my bride had a 50th birthday here this fall. She absolutely loves Purple Heart wood, and has asked for a project incorporating Purple Heart for many moons. Earlier this summer, one of the larger woodworking stores had 50% off of Purple Heart, so while passing through the town where it was located, I purchased a few board feet… Unsure exactly what I was going to make with it.

What was cool, is that I managed to sneak it into my shop without her knowing about it and “hid” it from plain sight. It is 1x6x3/4 and was reasonably flat, although I did have to run it through my jointer before glueing the blank up.

Went into VCarve Pro and came up with the following design. Speaking with a friend, I slowed down the inches per minute as the wood is very dense. I believe the carve took around 1 hour to carve. Once carved, I applied a sanding sealer with UV protection to it prior to painting. Funny, but I had so much fun with it, I turned it over and carved some additional tidbits about the year she was born and added a “vintage” design, even though it really won’t be shown. That too, took about an hour to carve. I also added a keyhole (thanks to the gadgets in VCarve Pro)

Once the piece was painted and sanded, I finished it with UV protection polyurethane, as other forums said the wood would darken to a deep brown without it. Sanded it with 400 grit on my random orbital sander in-between coats.

Needless to say she loves it. I did ask her permission before posting it here. She thought it was cool that I wanted to enter it into the contest of the week.

Feel free to ask any question or provide feedback. It is the best way that I know to learn, and well, I am still just a “grasshopper” with my CNC.

Be safe!



That’s lovely, Jake. Man, if that doesn’t give you a ton of “atta boys”, nothing will!!

One thing to be aware of is to apply a finish that discourages natural weathering, as purpleheart is notorious for going a muddy brown afer even a short period of time. I’ve found that waterbased finishes with a high percentage of UV inhibitors to be best.

Again, nicely done!

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@ApexWoodworks Thanks Marty. It definitely surprised her. After all, you are only 50 once! That is exactly the type of finish I used, water based with UV protection in it. Hopefully it retains its color. It has been almost 3 months hanging on the wall without any issue.

Thanks again sir. I want to expand my horizons beyond plaques and into some 2.5 and 3d after getting a few orders made and delivered. I know I am barely scratching the surface of what my long mill can do.