What Can Be Custom Made from Koa Wood?
If you are considering a custom sculpture, custom musical instrument, or perhaps a custom furniture piece that needs a wood that seems to glow and pulse with depth, Hawaiian native koa wood is an exciting, exotic hardwood that could be perfect for your project. CustomMade is fortunate to have artisans from both Hawaii and the mainland who’ve made wonderful pieces from koa. A closer look at some of their work will help illustrate the wood’s distinctive qualities.
Koa is similar in strength and weight to black walnut and is prized for carving. Historically, native Hawaiians carved canoes from single koa tree trunks. These hand carved koa leaves sculptures by Carolina Wood Designs illustrate not only the structural carving capabilities of koa but also the deep red and brown figuring that give koa surfaces a feeling of depth and motion. These sculptures are not only carved like leaves but also look like leaping flames.
The vibrant figuring of koa wood grain makes it a highly sought after wood that can achieve many effects. Mats Fogelvik of Fogelvik Furniture explains that “pahoehoe” is the Hawaiian name for rippling lava flows, and it is an apt name for this demi-lune table veneered with koa. The surface of this table has a sense of fluid motion that emanates from the center in waves until it seems to drop over the edge. The waves seem to vibrate, creating a sense of shimmering heat.
Koa’s acoustic qualities make it ideal for use in guitars, mandolins, and ukuleles. Stephen Grimes, of Grimes Guitars, Inc., uses koa wood that has been air dried and seasoned for years for his classical and steel string guitars. His Jazz Nouveau model guitar shown here is made from flamed Maui koa with a Sitka spruce top.
Sources for information on koa
“Acacia Koa,” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acacia_koa
“About Koa Wood,” http://www.volcanogallery.com/aboutkoa.htm