(Acacia koa; Family Fabaceae)

The Koa is a large tree endemic to the Hawaiian islands. It is one of the fastest growing Hawaiian trees, capable of reaching heights up to 100 feet tall and the trunk of the tree reaching up to 5 feet in diameter. The trunk of the Koa tree was traditionally used by ancient Hawaiians to build canoes, paddles, and carvings (the right to using Koa was mainly reserved for Hawaiian royalty). Koa wood was and is still today a highly prized hardwood sought after for its beauty, strength (koa meaning "strength" or "warrior" in the Hawaiian language), and unique aesthetic qualities.

The colors of Hawaiian Koa wood vary quite drastically. The colors will range from a lighter blonde color to a deep, dark brown. There may even be a rare pink colored Koa and even white toned Koa wood. However, the rich reddish colored Koa wood is definitely the most commonly seen. The grain characteristics of Koa can display a "curly" pattern resulting from the compressed growth pattern of the tree creating a three dimensional wavy look to the wood. The curly Koa is a more sought after Koa than the more common straight grained wood. These unique aesthetic qualities of Koa wood have led to the use of Koa in the creation of many art pieces including wood carvings, musical instruments, and furniture. These qualities have also created a high demand for Koa in the Hawaiian islands making it a highly valued hardwood.


Frank Pullano Woodworking, Kalaheo Kauai, 808-332-7810, info@pullanowoodworking.com, © Copyright PullanoWoodworking.com, All rights reserved