Koa Hardwood


Koa (Acacia koa) is a distinct and beautiful wood species, easily recognizable by its pale brown sapwood and reddish-brown heartwood. The variation in colour from tree to tree can range from pale blond, golden-brown to deep chocolate and koa yellows quickly in sunlight. The grain is moderately to severely interlocked, producing stunning fiddle back and rainbow figure. Growth rings are visible as black lines on longitudinal surfaces. Koa has a moderately coarse texture and a highly glossy finish.

Koa is a highly versatile timber, suitable for a variety of uses such as musical instruments, furniture, mouldings and more. It is a strong and durable wood, making it an excellent choice for a number of projects.

Koa is a sustainable and legal source of wood, with suppliers easily accessible. It is a great choice for anyone looking for a unique and beautiful wood species.

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Material Type:

Also Called:
Black Koa, Hawaiian Mahogany, Curly Koa, Koaia, Koa-Ka

Durability Notes:
Koa is durable and resistant to insect and fungal attack. It is resistant to preservative treatment.

The drying and seasoning of Koa is dependant on a number of factors; the speed in which it is processed after felling and logging, the method of drying and the specific kilns or location (if air dried). Generally the care taken by those processing the wood will have an impact on its drying and seasoning. As an overview; Koa - dries easily with little or no impact on the grade and quality of the wood. There can be some surface checking on thicker timber sections. Koa is stale in use and retains its shape. Please note that all wood is liable to move when in service plus there can be dimensional change. The extent of this will depend on; the stability of the species itself, the conditions it is exposed to, the coating, decoration and protection. You will find more information about the suitability of this wood, for any proposed application, by using our interactive system and the filters shown.

Koa has good resistance to shock loads and high crushing strength. Koa works fairly easily with both hand and machine tools, except that figured material is challenging to work by machine. Wood with curly grain may require a reduced cutting angle for planing and end grain needs very sharp tools. Koa has a medium blunting effect on tools. The surface can be brought to a high polish.

Typical Uses:
Furniture, Musical Instruments, Cabinets, Decorative Panels, Flooring, Gunstocks, Boat Building, Sculptures.

Moisture Content:
Guide - 10-18% for KD (+/- 2%)

Commonly asked questions about Koa Wood

Is Koa a hardwood or a softwood? Koa is a hardwood. It is the same for; is Koa hardwood or softwood? - Koa is a hardwood.

Most groups/families of species share the same characteristics but this normally relates to their life as plants. Individual species do not always share the same characteristics as their relatives, in terms of the wood. Many factors influence how we use the wood and what we use it for, including where it grows, how it is forested, how it seasons/dries, etc. The answers to the following common questions, therefore relate to this particular species/wood and not the Koa family as a whole. Even more specific – our answers relate to the wood (as we know it) in its form as a useable resource.

What colour is Koa? Koa can be described as brown, dark brown, dark red, orange

Is Koa good for outdoor use? or is Koa good for exterior use? Koa is most suited for exterior/external use. Koa can be used as an exterior/external timber (without treatment).

Whether the wood is naturally durable or not we would still recommend that it is decorated and/or coated with a suitable product to provide protection and/or maintain its appearance. This even applies when using the wood internally as, even subtle, changes in temperature or humidity will affect the wood. This will depend on the application/purpose of the wood and the user’s desired appearance. We also recommend that a recoating, care and maintenance programme is adhered to, for the life of an exterior wood. Wood cannot rot if it is kept dry – coatings and decoration can provide this protection. All of that said there are many durable timbers that are often left to weather naturally and will last for many years untreated/coated – movement and visual changes will occur but this is sometimes the desired effect. All wood is hygroscopic (it 'wants' to be in tune with its environment) it will therefore take on water from moisture in the air (or when directly exposed to or submerged in water) and ‘release it’ when dry or exposed to heat. This, inevitably, results in movement and dimensional change. For more about moisture in wood please click here - Moisture in wood

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