Koa wood (Acacia koa) is part of the Acacia family. However, Koa wood only comes from a tree that grows solely in Hawaii. Koa is a fast-growing tree that grows on all parts of the island, but the best wood comes from higher elevations. Koa wood veneer is medium golden or reddish brown with a wavy or curly grain. When finished, Koa has an unusual luster that is hard to replicate with other woods. Koa wood is similar looking to teak but does not have the oils that make Teak outdoor hardy.
Other names for Koa wood are Koa-ka (valiant soldier) and Hawaiian Mahogany. This beautiful, figured wood was once used for outrigger canoes, surfboards, and spear handles is now used for cabinetry, high quality furniture, and, having tonal properties, is great for Ukuleles and other musical instruments.
While not endangered, Koa veneer can be hard to come by because it only comes from one place in the world. It also suffers from animal depredation, with wild pigs eating the young trees.
Koa wood veneer can be flat cut with figures, flat cut without figure, or quarter cut. Koa wood veneer comes in sizes 4’x6’, 4’x7’, and 4’x8’ and a variety of backers such as 10 mil, 22.2 mil (BFV), and Peel and Stick backing.