Lignum Vitae: The Wood of Life

Lignum Vitae Tree

Lignum Vitae is native to the West Indies and has a storied past. This wood is one of the hardest known and contains naturally water resistant oils which made it ideal for use in hatch covers and belaying pins on sailing vessels. Lignum vitae's natural lubricant also led to its use as bearing sleeves for propeller shafts in navy ships as late as the mid-twentieth century and is still being used in marine applications to this day.

The resin is known to have medicinal properties, and the leaves are commonly boiled to make an herbal tea. All of these traits make Lignum Vitae the perfect wood for tableware. Sometimes called Greenheart, it is medium brown in color with green streaks that come to predominate as the wood ages.

The lignum vitae that Dale uses to make his flatware has been reclaimed from industial applications and its use does not violate any of the provisions of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).