This is a collection of Hawaiian Koa, highly regarded in the craft world for its incredible chatoyance and golden/brown color. With the scarcity of highly figured Koa becoming prominent, prices are driven higher.
With the tree endemic to Hawaii only, and with supplies dwindling, Koa is likely to be rather expensive. Also, boards of highly figured and/or curly Koa can command fantastic prices. Koa is widely considered to be the most beautiful and useful of Hawaii’s native hardwoods.
Color can be highly variable, but tends to be medium golden or reddish brown, similar to Mahogancy. There are usually contrasting bands of color in the growth rings, and it is not uncommon to see boards with ribbon-like streaks of color. Boards figured with wavy and/or curly grain are also not uncommon.
In most circumstances, Koa is easy to work, and sands well. However, figured wood, or pieces with heavily interlocked grain can be difficult to plane or machine without tearing or chipping of the grain; also, Koa can occasionally give problems in gluing, though this is somewhat uncommon. Koa turns, stains, and finishes well.
Besides the standard health risks associated with any type of wood dust, no further health reactions have been associated with Koa. However, several species of Acacia, including the closely related Australian Blackwood, have been reported to cause eye, skin, and respiratory irritation.
Although Koa is naturally quite abundant on the islands of Hawaii, most Koa forests have been cleared for grazing pastures; and since young Koa seedlings are edible for grazing animals, most new trees are prevented from growing to lumber-harvestable size. As a result, mature Koa trees are either scarce, or in hard-to-access mountainous locations, and the price of Koa is likely to only increase further in the future.