Koa (Acacia koa) is a native Hawaiian tree of exceptional beauty. It has been all but eliminated from the lower elevations on all of the Hawaiian Islands. Koa is so variable in its appearance as to defy classification. It can be everything from red to brown to golden and even ivory. The grain can be straight, but the most valuable of koa exhibits a curly figure that creates the illusion that you are looking right through the surface. It finishes to a rich luster and depth that has made it a treasured resource for Hawaiian heirloom furniture.
The Hawaiian Islands were once blanketed in koa forests with the largest trees being sought out for dugout canoes. The wood was so prized that it was used for virtually everything in contact with the Ali'i (Hawaiian royalty). The trees reach heights of 100 feet and diameters of 4 feet. Koa is a nitrogen fixing tree and can often grow in soils too poor in nitrogen to support other species. This has allowed koa to colonize very thin volcanic soils preparing the way for other species. Mature trees have very little sapwood and are primarily high value heartwood. Koa is extensively used by fine furniture makers in Hawaii, but its exceptional value as a tone wood has brought it to the attention of musical instrument makers world wide. HLH is committed to furthering the survival and availability of this fine wood.