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TAGUA NUTS -- THE IVORY EVEN ELEPHANTS WOULD APPROVE OF USING

 TAGUA NUTS -- THE IVORY EVEN ELEPHANTS WOULD APPROVE OF USING
 ROGERS, Minn., April 15 /PRNewswire/ -- According to the legend, an elephant never forgets. Unfortunately, if we don't do something to stop their senseless slaughter, there may be none left to remember. Already faced with diminishing lands on which to roam, these proud creatures must also contend with poachers after their ivory. Woodworkers, most of whom have taken a hands-off policy toward ivory, now have an alternative, tagua nuts, also known as vegetable ivory.
 Tagua nuts offer a win-win reward for the environment. While sending a message to poachers that their "services" are no longer needed, tagua nuts also provide a cash crop for people living in tropical rain forests. This helps promote sustainable agricultural practices, lessening the damaging effects of slash and burn land clearing. The nuts, ranging in size from a golf ball to a large chicken egg, grow in Central and South America on ivory palms.
 Lathe enthusiasts are discovering that tagua nuts open up many new opportunities for turning both functional and ornamental objects. Buttons were possibly the most common use for tagua during Civil War times, and today tagua buttons are back in style on many finer quality garments. Tagua has also been successfully used for making thimbles, knobs and finials. In addition, woodworkers who enjoy inlay will find tagua to be excellent material.
 The uniqueness of each nut offers a creative challenge to turners. Tagua nuts grow in burrs that hold anywhere from 40 to 80 individual nuts. At the point where the nut attaches to the burr, an interior fissure often develops, ranging in size from hardly noticeable to huge. It's never a dull moment when turning tagua nuts because of the unpredictability of the fissures. Tagua nuts can be turned to have very thin walls around the fissures, yet may be filled with cyanoacrylate glue if the project requires a solid piece.
 Although turners have shown the most enthusiasm for tagua nuts, carvers may also want to try their hand at them. Tagua is a good material for detailed carvings and even facial features.
 In this time of heightened environmental consciousness and limited resources, tagua nuts are a refreshing alternative for woodworkers. Only the ivory being mined from recently discovered woolly mammoth burial sites in Siberia can rival the potential as a responsible source of suitable material. But unlike the woolly mammoths, tagua is a quickly renewable resource (nuts mature in 5 to 7 years) and provides economic support to people of tropical regions.
 Tagua nuts may be purchased from The Woodworkers' Store by mail or at any of the firm's retail locations in Boston; Buffalo, N.Y; Chicago; Cleveland; Columbus, Ohio; Denver; Detroit; Milwaukee; Minneapolis; San Diego and Seattle. Mail orders to The Woodworkers' Store, 21801 Industrial Boulevard, Rogers, Minn. 55374, 612-428-2199. Tagua nuts are priced at $15.00 for ten nuts. (Include $5.50 shipping for mail orders.) Ask for stock no. 72801 when ordering tagua nuts.
 /NOTE: Transparencies are available/
 -0- 4/15/92
 /CONTACT: Steve Krohmer of The Woodworkers' Store, 612-428-4101/ CO: The Woodworkers' Store ST: Minnesota IN: LEI SU:


AL -- MNFNS001 -- 8451 04/15/92 07:32 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Apr 15, 1992
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