Thursday, December 24, 2009

Lignum Vitae

(Bulnesia sarmientoi) Lignum Vitae (Latin for the wood of life) is named for its medicinal uses. Supposedly you can make a tea from shavings and from the bark. The tea from the bark is supposed to have let's call it medicinal qualities, as does the resin. What I think is really cool about this wood though is that it's the hardest and heaviest known wood in the world (it actually sinks in water) and contains natural lubricants that make it durable for saltwater applications - it's been used for bearings and busings for submarine and ship propellers, among other things. Its color varies from yellow-brown like that shown, to dark brown, and sometimes green. It may develop a green color with time. The grain is heavily interlocked and irregular and the texture is fine and uniform.