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Is Lignum Vitae The Hardest Wood? (SOLVED!)

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Eric Meier Lignum Vitae, the wood of legends is by Eric Meier. This hardwood is considered the most hardy and heavy of the commercially produced hardwoods. It’s unique olive green colourr, delicate feathered grain pattern, and other-worldly rot resistance only serves to add to its aura. Genuine Lignum Vitae (Guaiacum officinale; G. Sanctum), has been, as with many exotic hardwoods before it, over-harvested. In 2003, the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES Appendix II), which prohibits wood from being transported or traded over international borders. As a result, a few closely related species outside of the Guaiacum genus—but still within the Zygophyllaceae family—have been substituted. Argentine Lignum Vitae, (Bulnesia sarmientoi), as well as Verawood (Bulnesia Arborea), are closely related wood species which are often used interchangeably. These two species have been used to satisfy the demand of Genuine Lignum Vitae—yet in 2010, Argentine Lignum Vitae (Bulnesia sarmientoi) was also added to the CITES Appendix II, and perhaps it is only a matter of time before all variants and related species of Lignum Vitae are restricted from international trade 😎 Yet not to make the point moot, there are perhaps a number of reasons why one would want to differentiate between Genuine Lignum Vitae and the Argentine variety 🤓 [1]
You should use the poster Worldwide Woods Ranked by Hardness required reading for anyone enrolled in the school Of wood nerdery. Over 500 wood species have been collected on one poster. They are arranged in eight main geographic areas, and each wood has been sorted according to Janka hardness. I’m having meticulously photographed each wood and listed its Janka hardness values (in lbf) as well as geographic and global rankings. Take this as an example: The venerable Red Oak (Quercus Rubra), is ranked only 33 in North America, and 278 globally for its hardness. Be aware, wood-nerds: Your syllabus might call for Worldwide Woods in your next assignment. KaelynNewell thanks a lot for the tip! [2]
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Based on an article that was just published wood-database.com, with this intrinsic urge in mind, I’ve compiled a top ten list of the heaviest woods in the world. Keep in mind that wood density can vary by an average of plus or minus 10% between samples (called the coefficient of variation), so it’s entirely possible that a sample of the tenth-ranked wood on this list could easily weigh more than a sample of the first ranked wood on this list. Some species only weigh a fraction of a pound per cubic feet more than their nearest competitors. This list should not be taken as a definitive ranking. But nonetheless, we want someone to take home the gold medal—we need a champion crowned—so here are the top ten heaviest woods in the world: (we say thank you to Fran Dutton from Patiala, India having brought this to our attention). [3]
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Hardness for Allocasuarina luehmannii (born after its inventor, Austrian-born emigrant Gabriel Janka), is 22.5 thousand Newtons. That is very difficult. Red maple is 6.8 thousand Newtons harder than white oak. It is believed that Allocasuarina Luehmannii, the most difficult commercially available wood, is it. We don’t cultivate harder species and may not test them. Allocasuarina luehmannii is plenty hard enough – although its lumber is used in various applications, it is very expensive and rare. It is extremely hard, so the machinery of lumber yards and sawmills becomes very dull quickly. Does that make it harder than steel? Last modified by Gaylon Jean, Havana (Cuba) on 1 February 2010. [4]
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Refer to the Article

  1. https://www.wood-database.com/wood-articles/how-to-tell-genuine-lignum-vitae-from-argentine-lignum-vitae/
  2. https://www.wood-database.com/wood-articles/top-ten-hardest-woods/
  3. https://www.wood-database.com/wood-articles/top-ten-heaviest-woods/
  4. https://www.technology.org/2019/09/04/what-tree-has-the-hardest-lumber-is-it-harder-than-aluminium-or-even-steel/
Kelly-Anne Kidston

Written by Kelly-Anne Kidston

I am a writer of many words, from fiction to poetry to reviews. I am an avid reader and a lover of good books. I am currently writing my first novel and would love to find some beta readers who are interested in getting an early look.

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