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Botanical Name: Guaiacum officinale Lignum vitae or “wood of life” received its name for the supposedly curative qualities of its resin. This species, which is extremely slow-growing, produces one of the world’s heaviest commercial timbers, and is virtually self-lubricating due to its high resin content. This makes it ideal for its principal use, as bearings and bushing blocks for ship propellor shafts, for which there is presently no effective synthetic substitute.

Other Names: 1 ronvjood (U. S.A.); guayacan negro, palo santo (Cuba); bois de gaiac (France).

Sources: Tropical America and West Indies. Characteristics: Heavy, dense wood; interlocked, irregu­lar grain; greenish-brown to black.

Uses: Marine bearings, mallet heads, pulleys and turnings. Workability: Difficult; dulls cutters moderately; not suitable for gluing unless treated first.

Finishing: Accepts finishes well.

Weight: 77 Ib./cu. ft.

Price: Very expensive.

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