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little timber
06-16-2016, 06:32 AM
I searched and found nothing, I'm sure a thread already exists so sorry for asking this again, but would anyone care to share their source for koa? my preference is in billet form as opposed to sets. This is more a general knowledge thing for me as I am not looking to buy any right now, but would like to know where to go when I need some.
Thanks much!

sequoia
06-16-2016, 05:23 PM
I'm pretty sure Little Timber that if anyone on the forum who has access to billets of koa, they are not going to advertise here in the Lounge. Maybe they will contact you privately. Good luck!

I have built exactly one (1) uke out of koa. There are two reasons I never built with it: 1) I couldn't afford any of the nice wood I found and the other affordable stuff was inferior and badly flawed. And 2; I used to think that koa was used as an ukulele wood mostly because it was "traditional" and it looked cool, but had no special acoustic properties. Well was wrong I on the second count, this stuff made a phenomenal sounding ukulele. I have a ton of ukes sitting around and the best tend to rise to the top as players like cream rises to the top of milk. Darwinian selection where only the fittest survive and the weak end up gathering dust. The koa top uke is now top dog and sounds best (to my ear) of all my ukes. I'm playing in a concert on Saturday and the koa uke gets the nod. Lovely stuff. Too bad so much of it got wasted on crappy, cheap built ukuleles.

91929

Kanaka916
06-16-2016, 07:13 PM
Did you try a Google search? Koa wood for sale may be a good place to start ... just sayin'!

tparse
06-16-2016, 07:32 PM
This is where you want to go.
http://www.hearnehardwoods.com/z.monthlynewsletter/may16newsletter/hawaii_koa_logs.html
It might not be cheap but they have a large supply of Koa.

gerardg
06-16-2016, 09:03 PM
I order some from years here :

https://www.curlykoa.com/

Steve is a serious seller, great choice, and prices not so high like on some other places.

Doc_J
06-17-2016, 01:06 AM
Bob Gleason has nice koa sets. http://www.pegasusguitars.com/ukulele-sets-page-1.html

little timber
06-17-2016, 06:48 AM
Thanks for the links. I did do a google search but all I turned up was sites with no stock for sale, boring pieces at ridiculous prices, boards too narrow to make anything but pens and pool ques out of, and ebay... and I hate bidding and watching an auction.

jcalkin
06-17-2016, 08:20 AM
This is where you want to go.
http://www.hearnehardwoods.com/z.monthlynewsletter/may16newsletter/hawaii_koa_logs.html
It might not be cheap but they have a large supply of Koa.

My friend Ron Sharp (New Hope Guitars) travels up to Hearne Hardwoods to saw logs into guitar sets. Ron was kind enough to save a few blocks of scrap koa for me. The price might be dear but the wood is very nice, even the junk.

powdrell
06-17-2016, 09:35 AM
+1 Bob Gleason/Pegasus Guitars...

dofthesea
06-17-2016, 10:10 PM
Are you doing your own re sawing? If so are you thinking this is going to save you money? Typically the good billets get either stashed or get cut up into guitar/ukulele sets. Usually if you have to ask where to buy it aint going to happen. Its kind of like asking surfers where the best secret breaks are. Oh ya up and move the hill and around the corner then drive 38.5 miles and take a right lol

Timbuck
06-17-2016, 10:47 PM
This is the only supplier that I could find in the UK ;) http://www.bhg.com/shop/hot-sauce-harrys-hot-sauce-harrys-koa1303-koa-sweet-bbq-rub-pint-p35bf6f370186af08978afe5b7433fef0.html

Andyk
06-18-2016, 12:28 AM
This is the only supplier that I could find in the UK ;) http://www.bhg.com/shop/hot-sauce-harrys-hot-sauce-harrys-koa1303-koa-sweet-bbq-rub-pint-p35bf6f370186af08978afe5b7433fef0.html

That's a great sauce of koa Ken

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
06-18-2016, 06:12 AM
Thanks for the links. I did do a google search but all I turned up was sites with no stock for sale, boring pieces at ridiculous prices, boards too narrow to make anything but pens and pool ques out of, and ebay... and I hate bidding and watching an auction.

As a builder on the Big Island of Hawaii, where 99% of the world's koa comes from, I'm interested in this question as well. The fact of the matter is, the days of finding great koa at affordable prices is long gone. I've stopped buying logs, cants or boards and stick to precut sets because it's cheaper in the long run when you consider the waste and the hidden heartaches (rot, bugs and flaws) found in larger pieces. But you'll be paying dearly for it. It's time for us all to lower our expectations when sourcing koa. The good old days are over. And I'll also throw my vote toward Bob Gleason as being a good source when he has it.

mainger
06-18-2016, 02:37 PM
I have bought wood (but not Koa) from these folks before:
http://ukuleletonewood.com/ukulele-sets/ukulele-back-side-sets/koa-back-side-sets.html

The cedar, redwood and walnut I received were all very nice. They have nice looking butternut, but I have no idea what that sounds/works like.

I would like to try building with Koa one day, but my poor building skills make it hard to justify such a high price for just 1 set.

Good luck with your search!

Pete Howlett
06-18-2016, 10:26 PM
As chuck says . I now buy from a Luthiers supplier. It hurts but ñot as much as when you hit rot or felling shakes as you resale your over priced board....

Timbuck
06-19-2016, 04:03 AM
As a build on the Big Island of Hawaii, where 99% of the world's koa comes from, I'm interested in this question as well. The fact of the matter is, the days of finding great koa at affordable prices is long gone. I've stopped buying logs, cants or boards and stick to precut sets because it's cheaper in the long run when you consider the waste and the hidden heartaches (rot, bugs and flaws) found in larger pieces. But you'll be paying dearly for it. It's time for us all to lower our expectations when sourcing koa. The good old days are over.

Chuck don't give in Have faith;) there is one place that has plenty of the old stuff not far from your house...on Waimea ...for those who are confused ...this Church is built from Koa timber inside and out.

http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc143/shiregreenbod/Imiola_Church_Waimea_Hawaii_zpsovnyq86e.jpg (http://s219.photobucket.com/user/shiregreenbod/media/Imiola_Church_Waimea_Hawaii_zpsovnyq86e.jpg.html)
http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc143/shiregreenbod/koa%20church_zpsxg2ismff.jpg (http://s219.photobucket.com/user/shiregreenbod/media/koa%20church_zpsxg2ismff.jpg.html)

aaronckeim
06-19-2016, 11:52 AM
Yes, we only buy pre- sliced sets nowadays. It seems expensive, but saves quite a bit of money in the long run. We have many woods that sound and look as good or better than Koa, but customers still want it. It's so expensive for us that we upcharge for it and customers still want it. We super upcharge for mastergrade and customers still want it. I guess everyones trying to get it while they still can, but I am working hard to source woods that are local to where I live and a little more sustainable that can compete with the best looking Koa.
A

Michael Smith
06-19-2016, 06:08 PM
It's not a healthy situation that everyone wants it despite the price. If the price gets too hight poaching will be the next step. A ban can't be too far away. I would like to see Koa planted in other parts of the world. If I could find some seeds I would start planting it here in CA. Maybe I will take a trip to The Islands and collect some seeds and try to take it off my taxes.

Timbuck
06-19-2016, 09:16 PM
May be it's getting hard to obtain, but! there are loads of new solid Koa ukuleles for sale on Ebay, most at very modest prices..Tho' some are described as Acacia Koa, what ever that is.

mainger
06-19-2016, 09:52 PM
Tho' some are described as Acacia Koa, what ever that is.
I believe that's the scientific name of Koa. To be scientifically pedantic, it should we spelled Acacia koa, with a lowercase k and italics :)

Pete Howlett
06-20-2016, 10:23 AM
There was a guy in India selling 'koa'... looked like it on YouTube. He never got back to me with a sample. I guess the Chinese got in there before any of us could blink :)

sequoia
06-20-2016, 07:24 PM
Thank you Mainger. Duly noted. However, your sentence structure is flawed in the second sentence. It should read: "It should be spelled Acacia koa (not to be scentifically pendatic), with a lowercake k and italics."

(just kidding!!!)

Anyway, the stuff is rare and expensive I will grant you. Is it worth it? Yes!... Just sold and delivered my only koa uke to a new owner. She was thrilled. I was thrilled to make some money. Goodbye koa. Probably never again.

92004

mainger
06-21-2016, 02:18 AM
Thank you Mainger. Duly noted. However, your sentence structure is flawed in the second sentence. It should read: "It should be spelled Acacia koa (not to be scentifically pendatic), with a lowercake k and italics."

(just kidding!!!)


Touché! ;)




Anyway, the stuff is rare and expensive I will grant you. Is it worth it? Yes!... Just sold and delivered my only koa uke to a new owner. She was thrilled. I was thrilled to make some money. Goodbye koa. Probably never again.


This brings in another line of questions. Why exactly is it rare? "Acacia koa is the second-most common tree in Hawaii" (source: http://www2.hawaii.edu/~idol/research.html). Is it rare because those fancy curly logs are rare? Is it rare because good sounding pieces are rare?

Doc_J
06-21-2016, 04:46 AM
This brings in another line of questions. Why exactly is it rare? "Acacia koa is the second-most common tree in Hawaii" (source: http://www2.hawaii.edu/~idol/research.html). Is it rare because those fancy curly logs are rare? Is it rare because good sounding pieces are rare?

From The Wood Database (http://www.wood-database.com/lumber-identification/hardwoods/koa/)...

"Comments: Although Koa is naturally quite abundant on the islands of Hawaii, most Koa forests have been cleared for grazing pastures; and since young Koa seedlings are edible for grazing animals, most new trees are prevented from growing to lumber-harvestable size. As a result, mature Koa trees are either scarce, or in hard-to-access mountainous locations, and the price of Koa is likely to only increase further in the future. Australian Blackwood (Acacia melanoxylon) is considered to be a more sustainable, and visually/mechanically similar substitute."

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
06-21-2016, 06:29 AM
Touché! ;)




This brings in another line of questions. Why exactly is it rare? "Acacia koa is the second-most common tree in Hawaii" (source: http://www2.hawaii.edu/~idol/research.html). Is it rare because those fancy curly logs are rare? Is it rare because good sounding pieces are rare?


Are you kidding? I read the source on that quote and I call total BS. I lived here for several years before I saw my first koa tree. You have to know just where to go to see them. There are so many trees, especially the invasive ones, that are much more abundant.

tparse
06-21-2016, 07:44 PM
I spend 6 months a year living in the Koa forrest on the Big Island. I can tell you the only reason Koa is rare is because of animals...two and four legged. These days it is because of the 4 legged ones, especially wild sheep and goats. I can go into a Koa grove and see hundreds of small Koa trees and 100% of them are topped mostly from wild sheep. To save the Koa all of the land must be fenced and well maintained. That is incredibly hard and expensive. A bounty on wild sheep and goats would go a long way towards preserving the Koa. Don't hold your breath on that tho.

mainger
06-21-2016, 08:23 PM
Are you kidding? I read the source on that quote and I call total BS. I lived here for several years before I saw my first koa tree. You have to know just where to go to see them. There are so many trees, especially the invasive ones, that are much more abundant.

Hey, don't shoot the messenger! ;) I'm only relaying information. The guy does seem pretty legitimate (http://www.ctahr.hawaii.edu/Idolt/)... I did do my undergraduate thesis on Miconia calvescens, though, so I am familiar with the invasives issue in Hawaii.

This is a very interesting read: http://www.fs.fed.us/psw/publications/documents/psw_gtr211/psw_gtr211.pdf
Pages 3 and 5 hold useful maps of the bi island, and the whole section on physiological ecology is very interesting, as is the second chapter on koa forest ecology.

Don't get me wrong; I have (unfortunately) never set foot on the Hawaiian Islands. I'm interested in the discussion about the tree, its availability and associated value. I'll be happy to hear more about your first encounter with one, if you'd like to share.

hawaii 50
06-22-2016, 08:13 AM
I spend 6 months a year living in the Koa forrest on the Big Island. I can tell you the only reason Koa is rare is because of animals...two and four legged. These days it is because of the 4 legged ones, especially wild sheep and goats. I can go into a Koa grove and see hundreds of small Koa trees and 100% of them are topped mostly from wild sheep. To save the Koa all of the land must be fenced and well maintained. That is incredibly hard and expensive. A bounty on wild sheep and goats would go a long way towards preserving the Koa. Don't hold your breath on that tho.


these guys are trying......pretty sure they have the property fenced off....and using the same land where most of the Koa trees grew in the days past...


http://legacytrees.org/reforestation.html

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
06-22-2016, 08:38 AM
these guys are trying......pretty sure they have the property fenced off....and using the same land where most of the Koa trees grew in the days past...


http://legacytrees.org/reforestation.html

Thanks for bringing that up Len. Jeff Duster runs an excellent program with his Legacy Trees reforestation project. But even he will admit that maintaining miles of fencing is a never ending job and extremely expensive. The feral animal problem on BI has really gotten out of control and threatens much of the flora and fauna here.

Pete Howlett
06-22-2016, 09:14 AM
Goat curry and lamb shank is the answer...

resoman
06-22-2016, 09:18 AM
Pigs are bad too. I knew a guy from Captain Cook that they paid to get pigs off some of the farms.