About Koa
Koa is the largest endemic tree in Hawai'I-the species exists naturally nowhere else in the world. It is the fastest growing of Hawaii's valuable hardwoods. It can grow as much as an inch in diameter per year, reaching 100 feet in height, attaining a trunk diameter of 5 feet or more. It was historically the material of choice for carved ocean-going canoes. Koa wood is the most prized cabinet and furniture wood in Hawai'i. Colors range from light brown to deep red/brown hues. Highly figured koa is sought after for use in fine furniture, musical instruments, crafts, gunstocks, and knife handles. Koa has weight and strength properties similar to black walnut. It is a moderately heavy wood (specific gravity .55). It is stable, works well, and takes an exceptionally rich, deeply reflective glow when finished with oils and modern varnish or laquer.
Koa Swatch

Koa Wood
Koa (Acacia Koa)

Koa is the best known of the endemic Hawaiian woods. It is recognized world wide for it's remarkable variety of grain figure which ranges from plain, to curly, to deep fiddleback. The color can go from reds to chocolate browns, with the sap wood sometimes even a bleached white. The grain is fine and the texture medium coarse, but it is the figuring that sets Koa into a class of it's own.

Chatoyancy is a property that is usually attributed to certain gems, the cats eye effect or shimmer which gives a senseof depth in the gem. This property can also be used to describe some of the more dramatic pieces of curly, tigerstripe and fiddleback Koa. This figuring gives the wood a three dimensional quality; and depending on from what angle one views the wood, it can take on several completely different characters.

In pre-western contact times Koa was used to build canoes, spears and paddles. The canoes were carved out of a single tree, which was carefully chosen, spiritually and physically for the purpose. Today Koa is valued for furniture, guitars, boxes, paneling and bowl turning. It is interesting to note that Hawaiians of earlier times did not use it for bowls or platters because of an unpleasant flavor associated with the wood.

The trees grow successfully from 1500' to about 6000' in elevation and are very sensitive to grazing animals. Koa leaves change totally in appearance from seedling to older growth. They start out as lacy, divided leaves and then fuse into a single sickle shaped leaf. Koa is currently on the endangered species register due to concerns about the habitat it provides for endangered native Hawaiian wildlife.

All the Koa that David uses in his creations comes from standing deadfalls. Also, his pieces are designed to make maximum use of the wood, with minimal waste.

 

 

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olcano Gallery, P.O. Box 699, Volcano Village, Big Island of Hawaii (Hawaii) 96785
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