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View Full Version : So what's the deal with koa these days?



Dane
11-16-2008, 10:06 PM
From what I read around, the koa is getting scarce in supply? I'm really confused and I'm not sure what to believe. I'd really like a koa uke but I'm in college at the moment and cant afford it. I just don't want to think that I won't be able to get one in the future...

Any info would be great.

uluapoundr
11-16-2008, 10:44 PM
20 years ago I worked in a local wood shop and there were tons of koa, so much so that scraps were simply just thrown away. 10 years ago, when I purchased a custom koa uke, people were saying the wood was becoming more scarce. Today, I've been told that much of the Big Island koa is sold out of state to guitar and furniture makers. Even the local uke builders are challenged in getting top grade stuff. I hear sometimes local luthiers have to buy koa from out of state, and to think that it originated from here. Koa prices are definitely high.

Locals love koa frames for artwork, but these days, a solid koa picture frame is ridiculous. Veneer is becoming much more popular.

As for you and your koa instrument, I don't think there will be no koa by the time you are done with college. Uke builders often have years worth of wood, it's the premium stuff that seems to be harder to come by.

SinisterDom
11-17-2008, 01:14 AM
I say we reclaim the Koa forests! ha!

hoosierhiver
11-17-2008, 05:07 AM
Surely someone is growing new trees somewhere.I wouldn't be surprised if there were koa tree farms in California or even in Asia somewhere.

hoosierhiver
11-17-2008, 05:10 AM
found this.

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-03/ufsp-fkt032608.php

hoosierhiver
11-17-2008, 05:13 AM
And this site,you can buy a koa seedling and grow your own ukulele.

http://www.foxcove.com/rmg/koa/

dnewton2
11-17-2008, 05:49 AM
Surely someone is growing new trees somewhere.I wouldn't be surprised if there were koa tree farms in California or even in Asia somewhere.

I think I read or heard that real koa only grows on the big island. (some one please correct me if I am wrong) There are woods that are very close to koa. Check out the Koa pili koko ukes. I also think I have seen in a uke discription poutugese koa wood.


And this site,you can buy a koa seedling and grow your own ukulele.

http://www.foxcove.com/rmg/koa/

The link on this site does not work you cant buy koa seeds or seedlings thru this site. I wish I knew where you could.

Lanark
11-17-2008, 06:03 AM
The link on this site does not work you cant buy koa seeds or seedlings thru this site. I wish I knew where you could.

Seeds Hawaii (http://www.seedshawaii.com/?gclid=COv6pOjY_JYCFQ7aDAodPEUSaQ)

Have to love the interweb...

hoosierhiver
11-17-2008, 06:08 AM
This guy has "Hawaiian Mahogany Acacia Koa",but I'm not sure what the exact species of Acacia Koa is the best.I have bought seeds from this guy before thou.

haole
11-17-2008, 06:39 AM
While doing ecological restoration on Kaua'i over the summer, I was involved in a project to restore koa trees to areas now overrun with invasive plants. So you might have some more in another 50 years. ;) It grows on several islands; the Koa Pili Koko stuff is a different species of acacia wood that probably comes from the Philippines or elsewhere in the Pacific. I'm guessing that this "Portuguese Koa" that some uke makers advertise is another kind of acacia.

Koa wasn't always harvested sustainably, although it's getting better. Right now I believe that more of it is being planted than is being harvested, but it takes a while for it to grow. So if things go according to plan, the shortage will correct itself eventually.

Dane
11-17-2008, 06:48 AM
I just didn't want it to be where in the future, the koa is all grown quickly and not as of good quality as slow grown koa. I just worry about these things... Thanks for all the info guys!!

uluapoundr
11-17-2008, 07:48 AM
I'm no tree expert but I think the trees that are yielding the wood are years and years old, not just a few years. Harvesting is from downed trees. From my understanding, there is no cutting of live trees. Also, from what I read, the koa varies depending on where it is harvested (part of the island).

If you really wanted to make sure you had a AAA or master grade koa on your future instrument, you could always purchase an uke set, there are a few sellers on the internet. As for storing of this wood though, not sure, probably depends on where you live but at least you would only have to come up with say $100 for now versus $1000+ for the custom uke. Just a thought.

nikolo727
11-17-2008, 11:44 AM
found this.

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-03/ufsp-fkt032608.php

wow thats awesome that you found this. I am in an Environmental Science class at my high school and we have to write, 10 full page review of articles pertaining to the environment all over the world. So im gonna write up a review of this bad boy right now! Thanks for the article.

UkEdman90
11-17-2008, 11:49 AM
i have a KOA bonsai tree! haha its soooo cool! its really old got it from this nursery in mexico that my bundy own's it was like 200 bux!:eek: ouch! but its really cool! for me i love KOA uke's but for environmental reasons i dont want to buy them! and the price! haha

hoosierhiver
11-17-2008, 03:05 PM
So not to get too nerdy,but do you know the latin names for the species of koa that are considered the "ukulele koas".

Dane
11-17-2008, 03:05 PM
I would sell my own brother for a uke. (A very high quality uke mind you.. I'm not THAT bad of a person.)

haole
11-18-2008, 06:44 AM
So not to get too nerdy,but do you know the latin names for the species of koa that are considered the "ukulele koas".

Acacia koa. XD

Kaneohe til the end
11-18-2008, 08:31 AM
I would sell my own brother for a uke. (A very high quality uke mind you.. I'm not THAT bad of a person.)

i would sell my brother too. 'cept i am that bad of a person