OK, perhaps it is not so rare. I did come across a very nice board of Purple Heart that averages 19 inches wide, perfectly flat with no flaws whatsoever along the whole 16 feet of length. We ordered it for a student needing some Purple Heart for their small furniture project. The board is so unusually nice that we (three furniture design professors) decided not to let the student use it, and instead ordered some more Purple Heart for her. Her project would have ripped the board down to narrow frame pieces, and wasn't (in our opinions) a good project to exploit the rare width and beauty of this particular board.
So now I've got to design and build a piece of furniture that DOES show off and take advantage of a section of this beautiful piece of wood.
I've started with a 45" length, and intend to make a small desk or window table with this board as the top. My first inspection reveals that both sides are remarkable. It challenges me to engineer a way to show off both sides in the design. I'm working on a simple strategy to allow "turning inside out" the table, effectively bringing opposite sides of each part into view.
I'd like to know your opinion on the ethical or environment responsiblity or specific utilization of unusually rare boards. Mind you this board is not rare as in nearly extinct. It is rare in that we do not often come across boards of any species of wood so wide and high quality as this Purple Heart.