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Acacia Koa
Is indigenous to the Hawaiian Islands. It has a beautiful grain whose colors range from blonde to deep chocolate brown with deep reddish brown the most common color. The grades of Koa wood are Select - with very little or no figure and Curly whose figure can vary from slightly wavy, appearing sporadic ally, to a very tight curl over the entire surface providing a three dimensional look when finished to a high gloss. Much of the Koa trees in the past were harvested with little or no attention to reforestation and resource management. Thankfully, the growers are now carefully replanting and managing the harvesting of Koa to ensure a long-term supply of this beautiful wood.

Mango wood
(Mangifera Indicia) is a beautiful light colored wood with touches of gray & brown grain providing very nice grain patterns. It is also available as figured or curly wood. The Mango tree is an evergreen tree of the Sumac family and a favorite fruit tree in Hawaii with many varieties of mango. It was imported to the islands in the 1800s. The ukulele in the photo at right is made of curly mango and book matched to provide a symmetrical design. It is bound with koa wood for protection and the neck is made of koa & mango wood in a three piece laminated pattern. Sometimes there is a high degree of spalting resulting in a very attractive black grain pattern. Spalting is a result of fungi entering the sapwood.

Hawaiian Outrigger Canoe Paddle Made Of Curly Koa

Tiki Totem Pole Made Of Monkey Pod

Milo wood (Thespesia populnea) The heartwood is a dark rich chocolate brown and similar in appearance to dark walnut. The sapwood is pinkish white and together provides a beautiful contrast. The photo at right shows a Tiki with lots of outer sapwood with the lighter color dominating the Tiki and the neck is a combination of dark & lightwood laminated to form a beautiful Tiki.
Samanea saman Also called ohai by Hawaiians was introduced to the islands in the 1800s. Native to South America, this large tree reaches a height of eighty feet or more with a beautiful, thin, spreading, symmetrical crown. The most prized of this wood is the light yellow with swirling dramatic grain patterns. The Tiki in the photo is made of monkeypod wood and book matched with the softer sapwood located in the middle of the Tiki that provides a nice contrasting statue. The wood is very porous and grain filling is necessary to provide highlighting of the grain pores as well as a leveling medium for the lacquer finish that is hand polished to a high glossy protective finish.
Other wood Other local wood used occasionally includes Kamani, Keawe, Macadamia Nut, and Hao. International woods include Purple Heart, Maple, Rosewood, Ebony, Walnut, and Redwood Generally, the back and sides are made of a sturdy hardwood for strength and aesthetics and the top is made with one of the tone woods that are used in the acoustic guitar industry such as Redwood, Western Red Cedar, Sitka or Engleman Spruce.
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