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Project Information

Here are two small Koa boxes I have just finished. They are approximately 8" x 3" x 3". Due to the increasing rarity and difficulty of obtaining Koa, and my belief that it is one of the most beautiful of all woods, I am experimenting with small boxes done in 1/4" stock. The grain pattern is curly (or fiddleback) on all sides and show's the typical lustrous waves common to highly figured Koa (here's a word I discovered while researching Koa - chatoyance - basically the shimmering change of luster as the piece is moved).

The joinery is straight forward, either mitered or a rabbeted butt joint at the corners with the bottom set into a 1/8" dado (not flush). I used small felt pads on the corner bottoms to soften the 'seat'. This size stock doesn't lend itself to splines or box joints or fasteners, so I am using 3/32" brass rod for hinges and epoxy to glue the joints. These boxes are admittedly delicate and even with epoxied joints they may not hold up over time. One can hope they do.

Most of the time expended went into the finish. Lots of do-overs. They are hand rubbed high gloss polyurethane for shine and durability. Koa is open grained and must be filled prior to finishing to obtain a mirror like surface. There is also a week wait time while the finish cures prior to rubbing out the surface. No matter how much I clean my shop there are always tiny flecks and dust in the finish. Very visible in gloss. When they're done though, the grain looks superb and they feel really great in your hand. Soft as a baby's ….. ;-)

As you can tell I am also experimenting with my new Nikon camera.

Looking forward to comments.

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Comments

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118,619 Posts
Wonderful and beautiful box plus amazing wood.
 

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5,794 Posts
Very nice boxes. The grain is fantastic. I have never used koa before but your boxes make me want to order some.
 

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18,205 Posts
Great lookng box's and amazing wood. Very well done! Congrats.
 

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3,191 Posts
Fine Work, my Friend!! The Koa is spectacular, and your finish really does it justice…
 

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17,103 Posts
Beautiful boxes and superb finish. The Koa wood really stands out.
 

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70 Posts
Beautifully grained timber, you've certainly made the most of that excellent wood
 

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223 Posts
These are breath taking. I love the way the grain all seems to continue and match perfectly.
 

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23 Posts
These are stunning You should be very happy how they turned out.
 

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2,242 Posts
Great choice of wood and I really like the way you attached the lids!
 

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941 Posts
Beautiful box, love the curly Koa. Have never worked with Koa before so have no experience with how easy or hard it is to work and finish but it looks like you have mastered it. Great job - keep up the good work.

Jim
 

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36 Posts
A local hardwood supplier here in San Diego, about two months ago, had a pallet full of 4/4 Koa including some shorts. $48/bd was expensive. Wish I had more storage as I would have bought some for a future project.
 

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194 Posts
Currently, any purchase of Koa is a great deal. They are only allowing the logging of naturally downed timber at this time. No living tree can be cut. I was very fortunate to be able to purchase 100 bd ft back in 1997 directly from a sawyer in Hilo. I still have most of it left. The highly figured stuff can run to $90-$100 bd ft. It is really pretty tho, isn't it? But that's why I am really picky about what I use it for. Pretty much nothing over 1/4" thick.
 

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194 Posts
Oh yeah, it's pretty easy to work with. You have to be careful with planing due to the curl; there is a slight tendency to chip. I have a Grizzly thickness sander so I only have to get close with the planer, then sand to final size. Zebra wood is lots harder to work, the grain is interlocked and you virtually have to sand it into submission. And I did a lignum vitae box some years back that dulled several tools, but it was a really great green color that I liked.
 

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194 Posts
Just an update note; both of these boxes have sold. Time to make some more…......
 

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11,989 Posts
Unbelievably beautiful grain patterns and colors : )
Nice job on both boxes !
 

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32,187 Posts
Vic, these are very nice and the wood and finish are beautiful.
 

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I have about 2000BF of curly Koa that I collected while living in Hawaii in the 90's. I have made more furniture and small projects than I or my family needs more. The Koa collection is up for sale. Mostly 3/4-4/4 up to 9" width. Have a slab 8ft X 3+ft 10/4.
I'd be happy to deal with serious buyers… no Looky-loo's. The Koa is not cheap. It's gonna be 100-200$/BF…Those who know about it, know it's story and worth in today's market.
 
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