About Us

Lignum-Vitae – Leading the Way Back to Water & Self Lubricated Bearings

We believe environmental issues will eventually dictate removal of all oil and greased materials that threaten leaking into the water supply. Lawsuits filed in various watersheds will accelerate conversions to environmentally friendly water lubricated bearings. Risk adverse operators will require a reliable water lubricated bearing to replace all sealed oiled bearings.

Lignum-Vitae North America’s Mission:

Provide a reliable environmentally superior water/self lubricated bearing solution that has the lowest lifecycle cost in each sector application. Our rich history is in Hydro Power but we have a bearing patent for Wind Turbines that will solve the bearing issues that plaque that sector. We also have many horizontal bearings that serve all manner of Horizontal Water Pumps. We will continue to innovate and provide solutions for mission critical applications. We have extraordinary testimonials of decades of service, low maintenance cost and superior lifetime value. Lignum-Vitae bearings have over 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.

About Lignum-Vitae Hydro Bearings

Lignum-Vitae North America is the world’s leader of genuine Lignum Vitae bearing material. Our material is operating around the globe in thousands of installations going back to the very beginning of hydro electric generation specified by Thomas Edison in 1882.
Lignum-Vitae is the only bearing material that was first specified and is still in service today! No other material has been in service longer or proven to be more reliable. We hear on a regular basis of Lignum-Vitae bearings operating 60-70-80 and even a stunning 90 years with no maintenance.

Key features include very low coefficient of friction whether operating in fresh or salt water applications, Zero Tolerance (We can touch the shaft), Steel Friendly, Very High MOE and a very high working load.
Lignum-Vitae is the first true self-lubricating bearing and has been for centuries. This fact has brought competition from many different materials with some actually having a block of Lignum-Vitae on their desk with a directive to their R & D to try to replicate what is known to be the Gold Standard of Bearings!
Genuine Lignum-Vitae has high compressive and yield strength. Lignum-Vitae fits within the same design parameters as bronze and composite materials (Thoradon, Mycarta,).

Lignum-Vitae is the only material that is still in use from the inception of Hydro Electric generation with outstanding wear characteristics even in the dirty/silty water, it is also been called the “Most Steel Friendly” bearing material.

As the only industrial hydro bearing in the world to grow on trees it goes without saying Lignum-Vitae is also the most environmentally friendly. Lignum-Vitae bearings require no grease, oil, or other petroleum based lubricants with 130 years of history to prove it.

Lignum-Vitae also stands above the crowd environmentally due to no pollutants encountered during manufacturing. No byproducts have to be disposed of causing further pollution. Considering every other bearing type known requires inordinate amount of mining, extraction, and manufacturing pollution. These bearings are a toxic soup of experimental chemistry that is constantly changing and we our unsure of the long term challenges that these composites represent.

Lignum-Vitae is the bearing of choice for those who seek a non-polluting non-toxic, low carbon footprint in a product that boast over 100 years of reliable service and is the only renewable bearing in the word!
The secret to Lignum-Vitae lies in the interwoven interlocking grain pattern bound with an internal quaic gum binder that penetrates every cell in its structure. This perfect combination of lubricity coupled with the hardness in the wood has been especially effective in eliminating stick-slip issues associated with other materials.

Key Facts:

After numerous interviews and visits to hydro installations we discovered that the material operated flawlessly for decades resulting in millions of dollars of savings for hydro plant operators.

  • Lignum Vitae bearings serve turbine diameters of any size.
  • Lignum Vitae bearings outlast competitive bearings six to one, lasting over 60 years without the need for costly repetitive service and replacement.
  • Supply ready to ship
  • The only environmentally responsible renewable industrial bearing known to man
  • Replaces bearings found in the following Turbines: Kaplan, Pelton, Leffel, Francis, GE, S. Morgan Smith, Westinghouse, Allis Chalmers, and International


Harvesting of Lignum-Vitae

Genuine Lignum Vitae is an endangered species listed by CITES Appendix 2.

Appendix II lists species that are not necessarily now threatened with extinction but that may become so unless trade is closely controlled. It also includes so-called “look-alike species”, i.e. species whose specimens in trade look like those of species listed for conservation reasons.

Lignum Vitae North America LLC is fortunate and proud to have the privilege to trade in this very special specie. It is our firm belief that without rigid controls greed and over harvesting could destroy this valuable specie. On the other hand if the species is protected, controlled and harvested on a long term rotation the species will be available for generations to come. As one of the conditions of controlling the trade it must be understood that Lignum Vitae cannot be shipped out of the country anywhere anytime without proper permits and paperwork. Lignum Vitae North America LLC has all relevant license, permits and can on request and, for a fee, file to ship anywhere in the world that subscribes to CITES. The material can be shipped anywhere in the US without additional paperwork however if shipping out of the country including Mexico and Canada please contact out office for details to apply for required permits. Strict compliance ensures future generations will also have the privilege of using this incredibly unique material. Any questions or concerns feel free to call or write anytime.

Bob Shortridge, Sr. President