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Lignum vitae as a flutewood?
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Author:  paddler [ Tue Jan 21, 2020 2:54 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Lignum vitae as a flutewood?

Loren wrote:

Yes, I have experience specific to LV wood and the question at hand, did you read the referenced thread from 2006?

I have talked about LV multiple times over the years and covering the same stuff repeatedly gets old.

I imagine none of that will satisfy you so here’s a short answer: LV is particularly susceptible to wet/dry cycling. This is what causes it to crack (eventually) on virtually any direct blown instrument. Seems to fare much better on bellows blown instruments, or so I’ve heard. We only made direct blown instruments where I worked, so that’s all I have certain knowledge of.


I did read the 2006 thread and I do know that you have experience specific to LV. I wasn't asking about your
qualifications, I was asking for more information about the specific cause of the cracking problems you had
encountered. The 2006 thread gave no specifics.

Anyhow, thanks for clarifying here that it is the wet/dry cycling that caused the problem in your case. This is not something
that would be expected for a wood that is reported to be both oily and extremely stable and durable once seasoned.

I also note that a lot of quenas are still made from guayacan (which I believe is another name for lignum vitae), and like
the one I have owned and played for well over a decade, they seem to do fine. I wonder if there is something different about
its use in construction of a quena vs a recorder or a transverse flute that feeds into this apparent contradiction.

Author:  PB+J [ Tue Jan 21, 2020 2:59 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Lignum vitae as a flutewood?

Wasn't LV used as a bearing surface early in the industrial revolution because it was extremely hard and naturally oily?

Here's an outfit in Virginia advertising Lignum vitae bearings as an eco friendly alternative, which seems like a real stretch to me given the relative scarcity of the wood, but
"Provide a reliable environmentally-superior water/self-lubricated bearing solution that has the lowest lifecycle cost in each sector application. Lignum Vitae bearings have more than 100 years of proven performance with no oil or grease needed. Water/self-lubricated wood bearings remove the threat of EPA lawsuits and expensive manufacturing of toxic plastics and composites."

https://lignumvitaesolutions.com/

I have no idea of the merits: i just saw that online.

I would think an LV flute would be extremely heavy?

Author:  awildman [ Fri Feb 07, 2020 11:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Lignum vitae as a flutewood?

I would like to know if anybody has tried katalox.

Author:  chas [ Sat Feb 08, 2020 11:10 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Lignum vitae as a flutewood?

paddler wrote:
I also note that a lot of quenas are still made from guayacan (which I believe is another name for lignum vitae), and like
the one I have owned and played for well over a decade, they seem to do fine. I wonder if there is something different about
its use in construction of a quena vs a recorder or a transverse flute that feeds into this apparent contradiction.


There are two woods known as guayacan -- the other is brown ebony, which isn't closely related to LV nor to true ebonies. It's another brown very heavy wood.

I made a whistle out of LV many years ago. The stuff turns like a dream, takes really nice detail. But it dulls tools quickly and is near impossible to glue.

Note that true Lignum Vitae is listed in CITES, so no transport across country lines. It's also officially endangered, so a poor choice for woodwinds on a couple of levels.

Author:  chas [ Sat Feb 08, 2020 11:14 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Lignum vitae as a flutewood?

awildman wrote:
I would like to know if anybody has tried katalox.


I got some katalox when rosewoods couldn't be shipped internationally. I've ruffturned some, but won't finish them for several months. All I can say at this point is it turns really nicely.

Author:  Uni Flute [ Sat Feb 08, 2020 11:34 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Lignum vitae as a flutewood?

I believe Lignum Vitae has been observed in some original Stanesby Junior flutes. I also remember hearing of an early flute by Triebert in this wood.

Author:  paddler [ Sat Feb 08, 2020 1:33 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Lignum vitae as a flutewood?

Rockstro, in the 1890s, also mentions Lignum Vitae as having been used by Quantz (1752) and Tromlitz (1791).
The experience Tromlitz reports is consistent with many of the comments here. Here is a quote from the top of page
143 in chapter XI of Rockstro's Treatise.

"Quantz (1752) alludes to lignum sanctum, now better known by the names lignum vitae and guaiacum, as being
much used, but Tromlitz (1791) says that though this wood gives a good tone it has too little elasticity, and is
much inclined to crack."

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