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About koa wood
Frequently asked questions



Frequently Asked Questions

? Why should I buy custom furniture?
If you cannot find what you want in the mainstream market, and you know what you want, it can be very satisfying to order a piece of furniture exactly as you want it. More info about ordering custom furniture.
? Why does custom furniture cost so much more than manufactured furniture?
A factory is set up for mass production, to be able to produce pieces quickly and efficiently. Sometimes that will affect the quality negatively. I also work efficiently, but I pay a lot more attention at choosing the material, matching grain patterns, etc. The amount of time it takes to build a piece can be weeks and months. The handcrafted furniture is close to art, and it is built to last. My pieces are mostly one of a kind, they are signed and dated by me, and will be around for a long time. More about handmade furniture.
? What kind of warranty do you have?
I warrant my work for life against defects in craftsmanship or materials for the original buyer. I do not warrant against wear and tear or damage.
Why are there no prices posted for your work?
Because almost all the work displayed on my web site is already sold, and prices vary a lot for different types of custom orders and materials. But to give you an idea of the price range; chair $2-5,000, hall table $3-6,000, dining table $6-12,000, dresser $5-8,000, china cabinet $12-18,000
? What is so special about koa wood?
It is an endemic species to Hawaii, meaning it only grows here. Koa has an unusually wide range of colors and grain patterns, from plain to the prized curly. Koa also has some amazing properties in the ways it refracts light, called chatoyance. It creates some amazing almost holographic effects sometimes. On top of this it is also an excellent furniture making wood. More info about koa.
? What is the difference between veneer and solid wood?
Wood is an organic living material, and in it's solid shape it moves, shrinks and swells in changes of the air humidity. When I build furniture I have to design it in such a way that the seasonal movement won't create problems, cracks, binding, etc. With veneer I can design differently, the veneer is a thin slice of wood glued onto a stable substrate, typically furniture grade plywood (plywood is many layers of veneer with the grain in alternating directions, making it stable) I can also use veneers sliced in sequence from a log, and have exactly matching grain throughout a piece. For a rare hardwood it also make sense to use it as veneers, for the higher yield. There is nothing cheap about veneered furniture, if it is done right. A veneered piece is not necessary cheaper than solid wood, veneer is typically more work, solid wood can use up large volumes of expensive hardwood.
? What kind of finish do you use?
On all koa wood I typically start with a danish type oil finish. It brings out the color of the wood the best. After that I apply either a rub on varnish, or a sprayed on catalyzed varnish. The latter one is especially good for protection of tabletops, etc.
? Do you use any other wood than Koa?
Yes, I do. Koa just happens to be my favorite, and a lot of other people's favorite too. I use any kind of wood that the project in question requires. Of course, it is natural for me to try to use as much as possible locally grown woods.
? Is Koa an endangered species?
Not at all. It is actually a fast growing tree. It has been over logged in the past, and damaged by grazing cattle. (cows love to eat koa saplings) A lot of replanting is now taking place. Koa is protected on state land, but on private land logging is allowed.
? Where do you get your wood from?
Koa wood is commercially available on a limited basis at some lumberyards, but the quality is often inferior for furniture. I usually fly over to the Big Island, and meet with some small sawmill operators, and handpick my wood. A lot of the wood currently is salvage wood from downed trees. The color and grain can be very good in such logs, but there is also a lot of waste due to rot damage. Sometimes I am involved in salvage harvesting of dead trees in state forest, or get word of a windfall on private land. More about getting koa wood.
? Can I see your furniture in real life somewhere?
Other than Hana Coast Gallery, you may contact me for a studio visit. Sometimes I have current projects for viewing. If you are on the mainland I might have a client in your area willing to show their piece.

This web site is maintained and designed by Mats Fogelvik  Last updated November 6, 2015
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