Originally Posted by Clifford Bridgford
I have found the best wood for bearings is lignum vitae. I have used this on disc harrows that I have restored. You can buy blocks of it from Rockler Woodworking. It was originally used for propeller shaft bearings on ships.
Right you are. When we went into the shipyards sometime in the mid-to-late 80's the propeller strut shaft bearings were replaced with Lignum Vitae. My ship, the USS Vulcan AR5, was commissioned in 1941 so the bearings were made to original specs but I was astounded that almost 50 years later that's what was still being used for repairs. The bearing were made up into two shell halves and were cross hatched for water flow lubrication, the application being a shaft strut that would normally be submerged in water. According to the yard birds it had to be machined like metal in order to work it. As I recall it must have been treated in some manner because it had an odd green tint to it.