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Lignum Vitae Dresser Box
Lignum Vitae is the name of two species of trees that produce extremely hard wood. The trees grow in the West Indies, Mexico, Central America and South America. They are sometimes called guayacans. The Latin words lignum vitae mean "Tree of Life". The trees were so named because resin made from their wood was used to treat rheumatism, catarrh, and skin diseases.
The heartwood of a lignum-vitae is the most useful part of the tree. This wood is so heavy that it sinks in water. The wood is olive-brown in color and contains an oily resin that acts as a lubricant when the wood is used for bearings. The grain of lignum-vitae interlocks and makes it practically impossible for the wood to be split. Lignum-vitae was and is used for the sheaves and blocks of pulleys and for mallets and mortars and pestles. Besides the "workhorse" uses for this strong wood, it is also used in small turned objects, such as this little Victorian dresser box, because of the beauty of the grain and the color contrast in the heartwood. The contrast of the random placement of light and dark creates dramatic visual effects and is much appreciated by those who love wood.
This little covered container is 4-1/2" in diameter and 3" high and is in very fine condition.

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