1075 with Lignum Vitae

opaul

Well-Known Member
Finished this little knife up and used Lignum Vitae for the scales. I glued it up with G10 liners that aren't visible in the photo. From what I have subsequently read this is probably not true Lignum Vitae but "Argentine lignum vitae". True Lignum Vitae is scarce and considered endangered. I didn't know that before I used the wood. Interesting what you find out when you research stuff. Pins and tube are bronze. And I forgot my makers mark :(.

 

Doug Lester

Well-Known Member
I looked up Lignum Vitae on the web and, except for wood suppliers, I couldn't find "genuine" Lignum Vitae that is a genus that grows in Africa. All I could find is the South American variety that grows in South American and the Caribbean, Guaiacum sp. I found in two articles that all Guaiacum sp. are listed under CITES appendix II. I assume that you bought the wood locally so I wouldn't worry about selling the knife locally but you might want to look up the legality of exporting the knife.

That is a nice looking knife and the hamon came out well. I do, however, like the darker look of the Old World Lignum Vitae.

BTW, did you know that the Guaiacum sp. used to be used for shaft bearings on submarines. It's just that dense and tough.

Doug
 

opaul

Well-Known Member
I looked up Lignum Vitae on the web and, except for wood suppliers, I couldn't find "genuine" Lignum Vitae that is a genus that grows in Africa. All I could find is the South American variety that grows in South American and the Caribbean, Guaiacum sp. I found in two articles that all Guaiacum sp. are listed under CITES appendix II. I assume that you bought the wood locally so I wouldn't worry about selling the knife locally but you might want to look up the legality of exporting the knife.

That is a nice looking knife and the hamon came out well. I do, however, like the darker look of the Old World Lignum Vitae.

BTW, did you know that the Guaiacum sp. used to be used for shaft bearings on submarines. It's just that dense and tough.

Doug
I did read they were used in that application. The wood finished nicely. The dust was like talcum powder with an oily feel which is indicative of that species. I also understand it will darken with age and exposure to UV light.
 

KenH

Well-Known Member
Interesting tidbit here that says the Guaiacum officinale (isn't that the real stuff?) is native to Caribbean: "Guaiacum officinale and Guaiacum sanctum are both tropical trees. G. officinale is native to the Caribbean (it’s the national flower of Jamaica), and parts of Central and South America"
https://www.miamiherald.com/living/home-garden/article96640832.html

Here's a bit more info: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lignum_vitae

and even a tad more info: https://www.wood-database.com/wood-articles/how-to-tell-genuine-lignum-vitae-from-argentine-lignum-vitae/
I did not know the Argentine version had been added: "in 2010, Argentine Lignum Vitae (Bulnesia sarmientoi) was also added to the CITES Appendix II"

That stuff is HARD!!! and tough. In years past it was used for prop shaft bearings for many years, but not so much anymore. I've got a couple of blocks, one is the "real" stuff, other is labeled Argentine, but not sure. I plan to examine end grain as described in last link. All I've got is the darkish green color, very hard to tell apart. One block I purchased many years ago.
 
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Doug Lester

Well-Known Member
With Old World or New World Lignum vitae don't even think about stabilizing. The oil in it will keep any resins from penetrating. Also, I think that's it's not a bad idea to clean gluing surfaces with acetone before gluing it up.

Doug
 

tmr

Member
I have used in the past the old school lingum vitae that i sourced years ago from a local ship yard........it was so oily inside that you never get a good glue up and if not kept oiled on the finished product it was prone to cracking......i still have a bunch of it but i wont waste my time using it for a knife handle.......they originally used this wood as bearing material on the propeller shafts on ships......it was installed end grain into a housing around the shaft and kept in a oil bath.......also used on sawmills as a blade guides .....again kept oiled.....definitley not a great choice for handle material
 

opaul

Well-Known Member
I have used in the past the old school lingum vitae that i sourced years ago from a local ship yard........it was so oily inside that you never get a good glue up and if not kept oiled on the finished product it was prone to cracking......i still have a bunch of it but i wont waste my time using it for a knife handle.......they originally used this wood as bearing material on the propeller shafts on ships......it was installed end grain into a housing around the shaft and kept in a oil bath.......also used on sawmills as a blade guides .....again kept oiled.....definitley not a great choice for handle material
Sorry but I disagree, but it's your choice to not use it.
 
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KenH

Well-Known Member
they originally used this wood as bearing material on the propeller shafts on ships......it was installed end grain into a housing around the shaft and kept in a oil bath
You're right they were used in shaft logs on boats for rotating prop shafts, but a shaft log is water lubricated not oil. There is a small pipe sticking out the side of hull to pick up water and pushing thru the shaft log keeping the bearing cooled.
 

tmr

Member
I stand corrected on the use of oil for the lube on tail shaft bearings.......i had assumed that because i had seen the use of oil on the saw guide applications for saw mills.....sorry for the misinformation.......I had too many problems with splitting....cracking and epoxy failure with this material that i have a negative attitude towards it..........i still have some large blocks of it that are 40 years old if any one is interested
 

tmr

Member
to kenH i am in thunder bay ontario.......call me if you want.....807-627-5086.......maybe send me a phone # that accepts texts and i can send pics....thanks....tim
 
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