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KOA

Acacia koa

Acacia koa of the family Fabaceae (syn Leguminosae) the legume, pea, or bean family

NOTE: I have also included Formosan koa / Acacia confusa on this page

Native to Hawaii, this is a very attractive wood with a variety of figures, used mainly for ornamental items and musical instruments but sometimes for furniture



my samples:


both sides and the end grain of a sample plank with some curl on one half. The first pic is of a surface sanded to 320 grit and the 2nd is of a surface sanded to 120 grit. HUGE enlargements are present


two face grain closeups of the piece directly above


HIGH GRIT END GRAIN CLOSEUP of the piece directly above --- but not as well done as it should have been; on the second enlargement you can see orbital sander marks


both sides of a sample plank of curly koa. Note that to get the wood color right (which it is) I had to do a color correction that makes the white background look slightly red. HUGE enlargements are present.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


This is one of those woods that make me sympathetic with vendors who say "The pics just don't do justice to this piece of wood" so I tried to get something at least a bit better than the face grain pics above but even this still doesn't look as good as the wood itself although it's close.


both sides of a sample plank of koa / Acian koa --- HUGE enlargements are present. This is a particularly light and grainy piece of koa and as you can see below the end grain was more crushed than cut and even the end grain update process was not able to produce a smooth finish from which to get good fine grain details. In fact, this and the similar sample directly below are SO light compared to all the other Acacia koa I've ever seen that I am very dubious about that identification

NOTE: In checking out fluorescence in wood, I found that Acacia koa fluoresces with a heavy presence of fairly bright yellow. This piece on the other hand, exhibits absolutly zero fluorescence


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above --- this piece is very soft and I did not want to slice off as much as I would have had to in order to get the entire end sanded smooth, so this update only shows the fine grain detail on some ares and the rest is whitish which is just end grain filled with fine dust.


both sides of a sample plank of koa / Acian koa --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of koa / Acian koa --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


both sides of a sample plank of Formosan koa / Acacia confusa --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


NOT a raw wood color
two bookmatched pairs of finished koa planks. The first is part of a headboard and the second is part of a table top. These were from the same artisan and are possibly even from the same set of planks. What you see is true to what they looked like in person but I think the finish probably enriched the color considerably. HUGE enlargements are present for both.


the upper two are thin planks and the lower two are veneer.


veneer --- the actual wood isn't quite as rich looking at it would seem from this picture.


plain (unfigured) veneer contributed to the site by John Chamberlain, whom I thank.


curly veneer --- this shine on this wood is real, not an effect of the lighting or of image manipulation and the color is shown correctly but seems a bit unusual for koa which is usually more brown than purple


these are the pics posted on the web by the vendor who sold me this lot (see my pics directly above). The color on my pics is accurate.


curly veneer --- this is very bland stuff compared to what one sometimes sees in curly koa but the color is very accurate



web pics: --- most (possibly all) of the bright-colored pics are from the BogusColorVendor, so colors are highly suspect


log end, probably moistened for the pic


slabs


planks


bookmatched thinwood pair with unlikely color


a slab of "cloud koa" from the collection of Scotty Drye who took this pic in bright sunlight but who says that the wood is REALLY that beautiful. I have not otherwise heard the term "cloud koa" but Scotty obtained it from a person in Hawaii.


curly planks


fiddleback planks


crotch slab




These are all from the BogusColorVendor but I notice that while their normal over-saturation of the colors are present, that seems to be something that is done by many vendors with this wood (not quite to the same extent, but still ...) so it does not seem so egregious




plank and closeup


plank and closeup


misc planks and closeups

These are all from the BogusColorVendor but I notice that while their normal over-saturation of the colors are present, that seems to be something that is done by many vendors with this wood (not quite to the same extent, but still ...) so it does not seem so egregious





guitar kits


guitar kit and closeup


guitar set of curly koa thin sheets


veneer --- the green colors are highly unlikely and this is a common misrepresentation of brown veneer for some reason having to do with digital cameras and lighting


listed as figured veneer


veneer sheets and a couple of closeups


quartersawn veneer


curly veneer, some of this was listed as quartersawn even though it looks flat cut to me


veneer listed as figured


three pics of curly Koa and one BM pair which was listed as curly but does not appear so to me although as you can see in the enlargement it has a tiny amount of curl in one area so it's probably a case of a vendor having the kind of enthusiasm that is normally reserved for used car dealers


a set of small curly planks --- the curl does not appear to be very impressive


curly turning stock and planks


scales listed as fiddleback but I would just call them curly


Two pics where both sides of the piece are shown. These are not BM pairs, as it first appears from the pics but they have such beautiful curls I wanted to show them this way.


a very clean BM pair with tight curls that show up better if you click to enlarge. The pic was contributed by John Oakes, whom I thank. The lighter section on the left is unmoistened wood.


curly veneer --- I've never seen Koa with so much green (2nd pic) or so totally lacking in any red or orange or yellow components (both pics), but that's probably just my lack of experience.


pen blanks that have been oiled and waxed and that are from a vendor who manages to make pretty much all of her wood look purple no matter what color it actually is





platter made from fiddleback koa


bowls


a turner's heartbreak --- beautiful piece of wood but a break in the rim (it's much larger than the little chipout that you see at first)


hollow form


music box from curly koa


guitar-back sets of bookmatch thin koa, somewhat curly


guitar back from what is clearly fiddleback koa (although it was not so listed)


curly koa guitar back


bookmatched figured koa with spalted sapwood, from the back of a ukulele; pic provided by Charlie Pace, whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site. Both levels of enlargement are present.


slab table with butterfly joints (enlargements are present)