View Full Version : lignum vitae

nine fingers
18th Apr 2006, 05:20 PM
Anyone used lignum vitae for small items.
I was told it the best wood for Pallet pins in a wooden geared clock.
Does anyone know where I obtain 4 pieces 13mm square about 60mm long
if it suitable for turning,from what I gather it is bloody hard and very oily.
Thanks if any members can help.
Nine Fingers

18th Apr 2006, 05:43 PM
Last time I saw any it was at www.thewoodsmith.com.au (http://www.thewoodsmith.com.au)

Might be worth a call.

Yep, hard and oily.

18th Apr 2006, 05:48 PM
Trend Timbers' download on timber species says that lignum vitae is listed as endangered by CITIES and only samples are available:

18th Apr 2006, 05:52 PM
I understand old fashioned bowls (lawn not Seppo) are made from LV. You often see them in St Vinnies d P etc and other op shops. Should just get the size you need.

18th Apr 2006, 07:51 PM
Very hard and oily enough to be self lubricating , was used as packing liners in ships stern seals. Have used a bit to make a stern gland for a lifeboat in the early 70's from the ships stores.
Had a used single stave , about 3' long ............somewear .................. looked today but couldn't find it, got it when they relined the Iron Knights stern gland think mabye it got lost in the last shed move
For small bits you might try ships chandlers or shipyards that do old wooden fishing boats .
Sorry I couldn't help


18th Apr 2006, 08:37 PM

As far I can discern its now only available as samples and its on the endangered list and nobody is supposed to log it. But from memory there is something similar or part of the same family in Queensland.

As for the timber and turning. I turned a fair bit of it as a kid in my father workshop. Its absolutely magic to turn, it turns like plastic with out the grabbing effect.

The last piece I had I gave to a pen making friend, who has made some really good looking pens. I fear that the size you want maybe very difficult to find. The last piece I got was very Small and from an old boat builder in NZ many years ago.

Lance Stunning
21st Apr 2006, 06:48 AM
I've used Lignum as "cool" blocks for my bandsaw. When cutting with a 3/16" blade, I bury it between the Lignum guides and cut away. The first time I tried it, I waited for the smoke and fire. Never came and I've used them ever since.

Wood Butcher
21st Apr 2006, 08:29 AM
Nine fingers, heres a link to a mob in the states that someone mentioned in a previous thread. They have pieces of lignum for pen turners. Have a look.

http://www.bellforestproducts.com/ex...ing_stock.html (http://www.bellforestproducts.com/exotic_turning_stock.html)

21st Apr 2006, 04:25 PM
I have used lignum vitae for lace bobbins .Try Ray Mahfoud at Supreme Woods in Melbourne .He has been able to supply my needs in the past.


22nd Apr 2006, 02:40 AM
It is extremely dense and perpetually self oiling. I have used it many times for the heads on carving mallets. The really good stuff is a dark green colour and goes almost into a greenish black with use.

Both of these should have it: (note that I said Should - that doesn't mean they will)
Mathews Timber, Rooks Rd Nunawading
Australian Furniture Timbers, Plummer Rd Port Melb

Ring first to make sure.

Cheers - Neil :)

Wood worrier
22nd Apr 2006, 03:58 AM
It's not too difficult to get in the UK (I know, fat lot of good you you guys 'n gals down south). Only small sections are generally available, good to turn though, you can get a shine straight off the tool and it's excellent for thread cutting and puzzle making. V hard and dense, used for cart axles and bearings in the old days because of it wear resistance and self lubricating properties, because of this it clogs abrasives very quickly and does not accept finishes very well.

Skew ChiDAMN!!
22nd Apr 2006, 04:33 PM
Carbatec in Springvale (Vic) had some this morning. A largish piece, about 12"x8"x2" was around $240 and a piece about 10" x 2"sq was about $70. A nice dark green, but the larger pieces had knots & splits, while the smaller pieces included a fair amount of the sap-wood, which is a pale cream colour.

Sizes and prices are purely from memory... and I priced a lot of things today so I could easily be waaaaaay out. :rolleyes:

25th Apr 2006, 11:44 PM
I have used Lignum vitae many times for pen turning, i find it fantastic to work with, it's very stable.