Koa wood prices?

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Forum topic by UncleDave posted 07-30-2015 05:09 PM 1356 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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36 posts in 1186 days

07-30-2015 05:09 PM

Topic tags/keywords: koa question

I happen to be in Hawaii on a work visit and have the opportunity to get some Koa wood back to the mainland. The problem is that I have no idea what a reasonable price is. The seller has a tree that was taken down so there are a lot of pieces varying in size. I did some web searching but couldn’t find anything definitive. Does anyone have any recommendations? I haven’t been given a price by the seller, just that she will take a “reasonable offer”. I don’t want to lowball her, but don’t want to pay too much either.


11 replies so far

View HokieKen's profile


5011 posts in 1137 days

#1 posted 07-30-2015 07:51 PM

Did a quick look on e-bay at sold listings and it’s all over the place. For 4/4 it sells for anywhere from 20-50$ per bf. Thicker stuff seems to go more at the high end of that range. The wood is not that common but it seems that larger pieces 4/4 and thicker and wider than 6” draw a high premium and figure definitely plays into it. Lumber sellers online that I found sell the lowest quality Koa around $20/bf up to $100/bf for the highly figured stuff.

Don’t guess that’s much help but it’s all I’ve got! If it were me, I’d probably offer 10 or 15$/bf and feel relatively confident I could at least break even if I didn’t use it myself. I don’t think that’s lowballing given that it still has to dry and the quality can’t really be assessed until then.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View UncleDave's profile


36 posts in 1186 days

#2 posted 07-30-2015 10:18 PM

That makes sense. I didn’t even think to look on eBay; I was just doing web searches like “Cost of Koa wood” or “Koa wood prices”. Thanks a bunch for the response Kenny. It at least gets me a ballpark figure I can start with. I’ll post a picture of the piece I get and what I spent on it later today.

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Richard H

489 posts in 1679 days

#3 posted 07-30-2015 10:21 PM

Are there export restrictions on that wood back to the mainland? There are some very funky laws controlling the flow of goods between the islands and mainland.

View Kazooman's profile


1006 posts in 1951 days

#4 posted 07-30-2015 10:45 PM

Are there export restrictions on that wood back to the mainland? There are some very funky laws controlling the flow of goods between the islands and mainland.

- Richard H

I had a similar thought. I know that there are very strict restrictions on items coming into the islands to prevent the spread of agricultural pests. However, there are also some pretty strict rules for going the other way as well. Most flights from the islands are headed for California destinations and there are a lot of restrictions in place to protect the huge agricultural industry there as well. The last time I was in the Honolulu airport waiting for my flight to LAX to depart we were all given the once over by a cute beagle wearing a vest proclaiming his authority as an agricultural inspector. A friend got busted by one of these dogs. She had grabbed an apple from the breakfast buffet at her Maui hotel and it was no problem on the connecting inter island flight to Honolulu. While waiting for her connection to the mainland, the beagle came and sat next to her carry on. Busted!

I do not have any specific knowledge about importing koa from the islands to the mainland, but I can well imagine that there are some rules in place. Stock from a supplier that has documented inspections in place may well be different than a piece from an individual who cut down a tree on their property. Probably better to check on any restrictions before buying the wood and trying to get it back to the mainland.

View MNgary's profile


298 posts in 2416 days

#5 posted 07-31-2015 03:43 AM

Offer what it is worth to you and let her decide. I mean, I mean, what is the problem for you—trying to get some great wood or trying to rip someone off???

-- I dream of a world where a duck can cross the road and no one asks why.

View Woodmaster1's profile


958 posts in 2586 days

#6 posted 07-31-2015 04:11 AM

I can remember when KOA was about the same price as oak, but that was 35 years ago. If I would have purchased a 1000bdft then at 1.50bdft and kept it until now for a profit of 18,500.00. You never know when something inexpensive at the time would explode in price. At 20.00bdft you would be doing good.

View Andre's profile


1832 posts in 1804 days

#7 posted 07-31-2015 04:21 AM

Which Island? I picked a 1.2 bdft piece that I could fit in the suitcase from Honolulu Hardwoods and they charged me a $100.00, it was nicely figured but he was looking for $120.00 for his select woods?
Coming back into Canada they inspected it to insure no bark.

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View copcarcollector's profile


256 posts in 2116 days

#8 posted 07-31-2015 05:19 AM

Are there export restrictions on that wood back to the mainland?

I purchased some Koa pen blanks on ebay from a seller in Hawaii, no problem getting them here in Nevada. Sure these are tiny bits compared to buying several board feet, anyhow in my case there were no issues

View UncleDave's profile


36 posts in 1186 days

#9 posted 07-31-2015 06:37 AM

All right so I met up with the lady today and bought three fairly good sized logs for just $100! I have no idea whether or not it’s figured or exceptional grain, but for the price I figured what the heck. I plan to remove the bark tomorrow and get it ready for the shipment home. Then I get to mill it and see what I have. Hopefully I don’t run into problems. I’m fortunate because my company is using a cargo shipper for some other equipment and I’m just going to add these to the shipment back to the mainland. Thanks for all of the feedback!

View mahdee's profile


3883 posts in 1766 days

#10 posted 07-31-2015 12:36 PM

I really don’t understand what is all the fuss about Koa wood other than it is a regulated species. A friend of mine brought me some in exchange for carving him a bird with it. I admit, it carves very nicely but other than that, I really couldn’t tell the difference between it and let say pecan. Before it was over-harvested, Koa used to be used in furniture making like couches very much like gum mainly because of it’s light weight and durable. Before buying some for that price, I would be looking at what you are going to do/make with it.


View UncleDave's profile


36 posts in 1186 days

#11 posted 07-31-2015 04:54 PM

MNGary: I was just trying to get an idea of a reasonable price to offer.

mrjinx: I think you’re right in that the koa wood is probably just revered because it’s become rarer rather than that it is an exceptional wood or something. I have plans for the wood.

Thanks for the feedback folks.

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