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Friday, June 5, 2009
koa heirloom furniture
Aloha from Makawao,
The tradewinds have returned to Maui. Today was a lovely day with fresh breezes cooling the island.
I promised to write about the gorgeous koa wood furniture that comes from these islands. Hawaii attracts and produces master craftsmen and artists. Mango wood, koa wood, and monkeypod are all popular for the furniture builders. The bowl turners are attracted to Norfolk pine because of it's translucent quality. I have an amazing salad bowl that my wood turner friend made for me from the old shower tree that finally came down.
The outer layer of the mango tree is often unusable for the craftsmen. The grain of the inner wood has a speckled quality. Mango wood can be surprising with it's orange and yellow colors.
Koa wood has been called the king of the Hawaiian woods. The grain from koa wood glows with an inner light. The highly sought after and stunning curley koa ripples with a wavey grain.
Even though replanting koa trees is being done in many areas of the islands, koa remains on the endangered species list. The last I heard, koa wood was around $22 a board foot.
Furniture made from this handsome wood usually commands a high price.
I have a few koa treasures, one table is at least 100 years old with square nails. I traded some pottery for a white table many years ago that I had a good feeling about. When I started stripping the paint and finding curly koa, yahoo!! I was stoked. Great trade.
My other treasure is a koa dining set with a 6 ft round table that is circa 1900, made at Hilo Boarding School. Hilo Boarding School trained Hawaiian young men in the art of wood craft in the late 1800's and early 1900's.
This is a stunning set with eight patchwork 1970's koa chairs. The heirloom quality dining table and chairs is presently being offered for sale.
One of Maui's master woodworkers, Peter Naramore of Kingswood Shop, did a wonderful restoration job creating a craftsman style base from Big Island koa. I was very lucky to have Peter's expert hand in this restoration project.
Another fine Maui woodworker is Mats Fogelvik. Mats is a Swedish woodworker with very creative and contemporary designs.
If you want to see some fine examples of Hawaiian woodwork, cruise the web and check out the sites for our great furniture builders. The picture I am posting today is the Hilo Boarding School dining set.
Aloha for now on this almost full moon night.......