Hawaii's hardwoods

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Forum topic by Bluepine38 posted 12-07-2010 08:06 PM 2074 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3336 posts in 2506 days

12-07-2010 08:06 PM

On a visit to Hawaii, I met an older woodworker, and curious about how they made their early canoes, asked
him about how they made them and other wooden items. They did not have any metalworking culture
that I knew of, he grinned and answered,”First you catch a shark.” The idea of woodworking tools took
on a new meaning as he told how their main implement for woodworking was sharks teeth, which were
sharp and tended to last a while. I told this story to my son-in-law who then proceeded to give me some
dark Hawaiian hardwood that an uncle had given him a few years before. He was sure the name of wood
started with a k and that it was not koa. The uncle is not available anymore and I have been unable to
find an online source of information. Does anyone out there know anything about Hawaiian hardwoods?
Thank you for any help you can give me.

-- As ever, Gus-the 77 yr young apprentice carpenter

8 replies so far

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3336 posts in 2506 days

#1 posted 12-07-2010 08:47 PM

Gave up to quick the first time. is giving me way more information than I need
right now on Hawaiian trees.

-- As ever, Gus-the 77 yr young apprentice carpenter

View Des's profile


19 posts in 2365 days

#2 posted 12-07-2010 11:01 PM

There is a fairly common tree that produces very pretty lumber called Kiawe. Maybe thats it.

-- Des

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2393 posts in 2304 days

#3 posted 12-07-2010 11:22 PM

are you going to use shark teeth to work the wood?

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

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253 posts in 2497 days

#4 posted 12-10-2010 04:20 AM

Theres a wood called Kiawe which is basically mesquite. nice wood and really good to bbq with ;)
Discovered this when i moved from Hawaii to Texas in the 80s

-- Woodworkers theory of relativity - the quality of your scrap is relative to your skill level

View dpoisson's profile


190 posts in 2335 days

#5 posted 12-11-2010 10:57 PM


If you look at my guitar stand in my projects, the extra little pieces are made of Koa. My dad loves that hawaian wood since a lot of guitars / ukeleles are made of it.


View Keale's profile


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#6 posted 05-22-2015 11:19 PM

If it is pretty dark there is an endsngered species called kauila that is a dark Hawaiian Hardwood.

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77 posts in 602 days

#7 posted 05-23-2015 03:28 AM

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482 posts in 1364 days

#8 posted 05-23-2015 07:44 AM

Kamani or Kiawe… kiawe is the darker of the 2. Ohia is another common Hawaiian hard wood but doesn’t start with K

-- "He who has no dog, hunts with a cat" Portuguese proverb

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