DECORATIVE HARDWOOD FROM THE HAWAIIAN ISLANDS
Koa is surprisingly hard for its moderate weight, and it takes shocks well. It is stable and relatively easy to use, though it has some interlocking grain, and working across the end-grain is said to be hard going. It is now considered the best lumber from
Hawaii and is used in the making of musical instruments, particularly ukuleles, and fine furniture. In terms of color, texture and grain, it bears some resemblance to teak (Tectona grandis).
Type Tropical hardwood
Other names Hawaiian mahogany, koa-ka
Similar species A. koaia, which has been listed as vulnerable and is a small, gnarled tree that is found only in small numbers.
Sources Hawaiian Islands
Color Varying bands of bright, light brown or almost gold through cream, tan and mid-brown, to thin darker lines of red, brown or black
Texture Medium and even
Grain Straight or wavy, but can be interlocking
Hardness Hard, with a high luster
Weight Medium to heavy (41 lb./cu. ft.) (660 kg/cu. m)
AVAILABILITY AND SUSTAINABILITY
Koa has not been listed as endangered, but is likely to be relatively expensive. It is available only from specialist retailers of exotic hardwoods.