Bulnesia sarmientoi – Argentine lignum Vitae Uses

Argentine lignum vitae or verawood is a wood sourced from Bulnesia sarmientoi distributed in Central America and northern South America.

The tree reaches 40-50 feet (12-15 m) tall, with a 1-2 feet (0.3-.6 m). Argentine lignum vitae is similar to Verawood (Bulnesia Arborea).

Even so, but both are from different genera. The wood produced has many benefits for life, including tool handles, boatbuilding, turned objects, bearings, etc.

What is argentine lignum vitae?

Argentine lignum vitae is an exotic wood with incredible density. It was Recognized as the second densest wood in the world.

Green, brown to black with a unique grain figured and a different color from the primary color. In appearance, this wood is incredible.

But, you will not be accessible in workability. That’s because of its high density and oil content.

However, it’s durable and has a lot of uses.

Argentine lignum vitae properties

Argentine lignum vitae is rated very durable, even for outdoor use. Besides, this wood is also resistant to insect attacks. There are no unpleasant odors reported about the wood.

However, the odor is a distinctive scent like perfume. Argentine lignum vitae is also reported as extremely hard, oily, heavy, and quite difficult to work with.

Some health risks such as sneezing and skin irritation must also be considered.

Argentine lignum vitae advantages and disadvantages


Durable: Resistance to rot, even outdoors, is a major advantage of Argentine lignum vitae. This wood is also reported to be resistant to insect attacks.

Accordingly, it seems very suitable for interior and exterior furniture, especially for large furniture that wants to be used for years.

Use for construction is also good. Its strong resistance can make the construction frame long, even though it is exposed to different weather and conditions.

Incredible density: Argentine lignum vitae density is outstanding.

It’s the second densest Woods. But, that gives it advantages as well as disadvantages.

The advantage is highly wood quality and good for many things.

Moreover, this wood is durable. However, that makes Argentine lignum vitae quite challenging to work.

The presence of oil content is also a factor that makes it difficult. Pay attention to your equipment after work.


Mid to upper price: Quality wood cannot be obtained cheaply.

You can get Argentine lignum vitae at mid to upper price. Usually available in small pieces or turning blanks.

It may also be available in other forms, such as larger pieces, but not often. Prepare good equipment before making a purchase. Costs may swell to buy good equipment because the wood is not easy to work.

Health risks: Even if you like Argentine lignum vitae, don’t forget about health risks.

Health risks such as sawdust may cause sneezing, and the wood can cause skin irritation. However, there are no reported high health risks after being finished goods.

Please find out about the Argentine lignum vitae risk on your health. Use a mask when working, especially when making cuts. Don’t forget to wear closed clothing to protect your skin.

Sustainability: Before using wood, pay attention to its availability in nature.

As users, we must be wise in using something. Argentine lignum vitae is on the IUCN Red List because it relies on conservation.

Besides, this wood is also included in Appendix II of CITES. Therefore, please don’t use too many. Use as much as needed according to the construction needs you want. Don’t be able to use it anymore.

Quite difficult to work: Workability on wood is very important to note. Unfortunately, overall Argentine lignum vitae is quite tricky to work.

Its density makes it more difficult. Besides, this wood type can make blunt tools. The oil content in it also makes it difficult for some things.

Therefore, prepare good machine tools before working. That’s better than having to fix some hand tools.

Argentine lignum vitae for tool handles

Light objects such as tool handles are pretty good if made from Argentine lignum vitae. Its charming appearance adds to the handle attractiveness.

Moreover, the fragrance that is like perfume can make the users feel more comfortable. This hardwood is also durable.

You don’t have to change your tool handles for a long time, even if it’s used every day. Don’t forget to make it more comfortable by smoothing it.

Argentine lignum vitae for mallet heads

Argentine lignum vitae is an excellent choice for a mallet head. Hard, heavy, and density are perfect for it. But it doesn’t seem easy to find it.

Because it is not abundant in nature, please look at antique stores or look for people who sell them.

If it’s too hard to find, another way is to travel to South America to buy it or use another suitable wood.

Argentine lignum vitae for bearings

Maybe now wooden bearings have been replaced by iron or other metal materials. But some things still seem good if equipped with wooden bearings.

This wood is solid, hard, heavy. It seems that all these properties are suitable for making bearings. Moreover, this wood is good at turning.

Therefore, try to make your own if you have the equipment. You can sell them or use them yourself on your equipment.

Argentine lignum vitae for bushings

Not only bearings but also wooden bushings are well made from Argentine lignum vitae. The remarkable properties of the wood are good for that.

But it doesn’t seem easy to make it using hand tools. You can use an automatic machine or with a lathe.

It seems wooden bearings are good for sale. But if you need it, you can make it yourself to meet your needs.

Argentine lignum vitae for boatbuilding

Boatbuilding seems to require high-quality wood such as Argentine lignum vitae. The density and hardness of this wood support it.

In addition, Argentine lignum vitae also has good resistance to rot, including outdoors. So, it seems there is no need to worry too much about spoilage.

However, this heavy wood is likely to be a problem in some things, including installation and artistry.

Argentine lignum vitae for pulley wheels

Previously we said Argentine lignum vitae is good for bushings and bearings. One more component that can be made from this wood is the pulley wheels.

We think that the properties of Argentine lignum vitae wood are suitable for making it because these components are something that works exceptionally hard.

So, wood like this is perfect for use. We think you won’t regret using it. Don’t forget to make it more interesting.

Argentine lignum vitae for turned objects

Argentine lignum vitae is excellent for turning. Earlier I mentioned bushings, bearings, and pulley wheels, and they can be made by turning.

Making decoration items seems good too. You can make amazing things with this wood through the turning process.

We know that this wood is quite difficult to work with for several reasons. But, it seems that it doesn’t apply if done with a lathe.

Argentine lignum vitae for heavy construction

Heavy construction needs something better. It looks like Argentine lignum vitae is a good choice.

Whether as a main component or just as a supporting tool, the wood seems suitable. Its solid nature can be used as a substitute for iron for several things.

In addition, the weight of this wood is very supportive. Perhaps it could be used as an alternative to oak, elm, birch in railroad construction if that was possible. We don’t know much about it.

Verawood VS Lignum Vitae

Lignum Vitae is a type of wood that has been told stories about. It is thought to be the world’s heaviest and hardest wood. Its olive-green color, fine feathery grain, and high resistance to rotting all add to its unique look.

True pockwood has been replaced by some closely related species, not in the genus Guaiacum but in the same family, Zygophyllaceae.

Argentine lignum vitae (Bulnesia sarmientoi) and verawood (Bulnesia arborea) are two types of wood that are very closely related and are often used the same way. People traded these two species to meet the need for real pockwood.

But because of the increase in demand, Argentine lignum vitae (Bulnesia sarmientoi) was added to CITES Appendix II in 2010. It may only be a matter of time before all species of pockwood are banned from international trade.

So, there are several reasons why true pockwood and the Argentine species Verawood should be kept separate.

Lignum Vitae (Guaiacum spp.)

It grows in the Caribbean, Mexico, and Central America. The color ranges from light olive green to a dark greenish brown and almost a blackish brown. Even though they are very different colors, the colors of both kinds of wood are very similar, so they are easy to mix up. 1,350 kg/m3 is the average weight.

Lignum Vitae has a very nice, perfume-like smell, but it seems less strong than in verawood.

Argentine Lignum Vitae, Verawood (Bulnesia spp.)

Verawood grows in Colombia, Venezuela, Argentina, Bolivia, and Paraguay, all of which are in the tropical part of South America. It can be a light olive-yellow green, a dull green, or a deep brown green. Even though the colors are very different, both types of wood have almost the same colors and are easy to mix.

1300 kg/m3 is the average weight. Both species have weights so close to each other and overlap a little bit from tree to tree that weight cannot be used to tell them apart. Verawood, also known as Argentine Pockwood, has a strong, perfume-like scent that stays even after it has been processed.

Even though the pores in both species are very small and hard to see, one of the easiest and most reliable ways to tell the difference between these two types of wood is to look at the end grain under a microscope.


Argentine lignum vitae is an incredible wood. It’s status as second densest wood globally, with hard, heavy, but oil content.

Quite difficult to work with, but great for turning. The look of this wood is very exotic with a charming unique grain figure.

This wood has many uses, such as bearings, pulley wheels, boatbuilding, turned objects, heavy construction, etc. But it would be best if you did not use it in excessive quantities.