Substances & Homeopatic Remedies

Guaiacum officinale

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Other uses - Lignum Vitae has a crushing strength of 11,400 psi, and a Janka side hardness of 4,500lb. at 12% moisture content.

It is very difficult to work with hand or machine tools, but the wood turns and shapes well, and takes a high polish. Because of its oily resin content, it requires special surface treatments for gluing.

Its heartwood is very resistant to attack by decay fungi, termites and marine borers, and because of the high resin content, does not need timber preservation procedures.Its most noted use is in bearings and bushing blocks for the propeller shafts of ships because of its self lubrication and hardness.

It is extensively used in the making of croquet balls and mallets, and in the manufacture of bowls for Lawn Bowling. The firm of Taylor Bowls in England have been manufacturing from Lignum Vitae since 1796.

Being a relatively small tree Guaiacum is not cut into planks.  Small blocks are commonly worked by being shaved or turned.  Its fibres are cross grained and therefore it splits irregularly.

Because the wood is extraordinarily tough, hard, heavy  and very durable, it has some very interesting and specific uses:  

- For where rotary motion is required eg: hinges,  wooden pestles, pulleys and spindles.
- For where dimensional stability is important - as for skittles and bowling balls.
- For hitting objects and not breaking itself - mallets and truncheons, etc.  

Another striking quality of the wood is its oiliness. It does not rot, is self-lubricating and impervious to water.  Hence its popularity on sailing ships where it was used for the wheels (technically sheaves) of ships blocks (pulleys) for lifting heavy weights and hoisting sails.