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Big Island

Koa – The Native Hawaiian Wood

Koa (acacia koa) trees, being endemic to Hawaii, were grown and used by Hawaiians for generations.

I was sitting in my yard today and noticed how large the koa (meaning brave, bold, fearless) trees have gotten in the past 6 years

Koa can grow to be several hundred feet in height and have a diameter of over 10 feet (mine are not there yet). Along with their natural resistance to salt water, they make the perfect canoe. Large heavy surfboards were also made and used.

Due to logging and grazing, there are very few forests left. Cutting of growing trees is now illegal, so any products that are made come from dead/fallen logs or private lands.

The beautiful ukulele was largely made from koa. Now, with koa being less abundant, ukuleles are often made of veneer (a thin layer applied to another wood). If you are lucky enough to have a ukulele of solid koa, you also know how precious it is.

If you are lucky enough to find a piece of property with a koa tree on it, you have just been lucky enough to find yourself a piece of Hawaiian history.

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Katie Minkus, R(BIC)

April 20, 2011

Aloha Lucy – great post! I have “Ko” trees in my front yard… sadly, missing the “a”…

Katie Minkus, R(BIC)

April 20, 2011

Aloha Lucy – great post! I have “Ko” trees in my front yard… sadly, missing the “a”…

Lucy

April 20, 2011

Katie you are too funny. The kou tree actually is used to make eating utensils and bowls. Koa cannot be used for such things since the Koa’s oils are poisonous. So you have a great tree in your yard

Lucy

April 20, 2011

Katie you are too funny. The kou tree actually is used to make eating utensils and bowls. Koa cannot be used for such things since the Koa’s oils are poisonous. So you have a great tree in your yard

Katie Minkus, R(BIC)

April 20, 2011

Huh! Well, you learn something new every day! Plus, I thought it was spelled “Ko” not Kou, so I’ve actually learned two things today!! Thanks! No wonder that guy who carves bowls wanted to know if he could cut those trees down for us… AH HA! 🙂

Katie Minkus, R(BIC)

April 20, 2011

Huh! Well, you learn something new every day! Plus, I thought it was spelled “Ko” not Kou, so I’ve actually learned two things today!! Thanks! No wonder that guy who carves bowls wanted to know if he could cut those trees down for us… AH HA! 🙂

Lucy

April 20, 2011

Yup, don’t let them have your tree 🙂 Ko is sugarcane. You were close.

Lucy

April 20, 2011

Yup, don’t let them have your tree 🙂 Ko is sugarcane. You were close.

Pam Deery R(B) Big Island

April 21, 2011

Lucy; my husband is a furniture and cabinet maker and anytime he gets a request for KoA not Kou, he knows it will be a “big money job”! Hard to come by and very expensive these days. He made me a gorgeous Koa jewelry box a few years back…probably worth lots more than the jewelry inside. Thanks for sharing.

Pam Deery R(B) Big Island

April 21, 2011

Lucy; my husband is a furniture and cabinet maker and anytime he gets a request for KoA not Kou, he knows it will be a “big money job”! Hard to come by and very expensive these days. He made me a gorgeous Koa jewelry box a few years back…probably worth lots more than the jewelry inside. Thanks for sharing.

Lucy

April 22, 2011

Aloha Pam, I’ve seen some of the things your husband made the time I stopped by your shop. He does some nice work. Maybe with time, koa will be replenished and we’ll see more products. I hope so.

Lucy

April 22, 2011

Aloha Pam, I’ve seen some of the things your husband made the time I stopped by your shop. He does some nice work. Maybe with time, koa will be replenished and we’ll see more products. I hope so.

rick levitt

September 22, 2011

hi …a number of years ago i bought some large pieces of koa…approximately 6 feet long by 3-4 inches thick and 30 inches wide…i believe that these were the last flitches cut before the moratorium on cutting koa was introduced…i am looking to sell the 3 slabs thaqt i have ….any interest…contact rick e-mail fclevitt@aol.com

rick levitt

September 22, 2011

hi …a number of years ago i bought some large pieces of koa…approximately 6 feet long by 3-4 inches thick and 30 inches wide…i believe that these were the last flitches cut before the moratorium on cutting koa was introduced…i am looking to sell the 3 slabs thaqt i have ….any interest…contact rick e-mail fclevitt@aol.com

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