With more than 1,000 varieties of acacia Worldwide, most of the Acacia wood imported into the United States originates from two species: Acacia KOA-also known as Hawaiian KOA-and Acacia Blackwood. The sources of Hawaiian KOA are declining due to the slow growth of trees and desertion. Both species are precisely defined as part of the Acacia genus, which also includes shrubs and plants, but is most commonly referred to as simply KOA or Australian Blackwood.
Types of Acacia
Acacia is a wood harvested from 60 trees at 100 feet tall native to Australia and Hawaii. It also grows as spiny bushes in temperate and tropical climates. Smaller Acacia varieties are usually not used as wood fountains. The Hawaiian Koa is the Premium species of Acacia for wood. It contains high amounts of figurated grain and produces a high gloss glow after finishing. KOA is more expensive than Australian Blackwood, which is generally considered a lower cost alternative to the Hawaiian KOA. A domestic species-the lobster–is similar in characteristics to the Australian KOA and Blackwood and is sometimes referred to as false acacia, but does not confuse you with authentic Acacia.
The Hawaiian KOA
The Hawaiian KOA occupies 1,790 in the Janka hardness scale. As a matter of comparison, Maple, one of the toughest domestic varieties, ranks 1,450. Considered easy to carve and sculpt with common woodworking machines, KOA exhibits similar features for the domestic black walnut. It mainly presents broad grain patterns with open pores, but due to intermittent grain patterns, intertwined grain rippling or 90 degrees-may suffer from blowing or chipping when it is milled. The color of the Hawaiian KOA is varied but maintains patterns similar to mahogany with golden tones, amber, and reddish brown. It is not uncommon for KOA to show the mixed colors in a tape formation. Blocking and blocking of grain patterns that cause problems during milling add character-and sanding-show a finish appreciated by special woodworkers. KOA boards, hand-selected and highly figurative, high command prices. KOA is not resistant to decomposition and insects and is not suitable for outdoor use without a sealant.
The Australian Blackwood is increasingly used as a substitute for KOA, but the descriptor is somewhat misleading. The color of the Australian Blackwood oscillated between brownish and reddish brown and is very similar in colors of mahogany or Hawaiian koa. In the Janka range, Australian Blackwood is slightly lower than KOA at 1,160 and tends to have a straighter grain and better machining characteristics than KOA, with fewer interlaced grain patterns than chip or blow-out. Australian Blackwood exhibits greater resistance to decomposition than KOA, but remains susceptible to insect attack. Blackwood is not suitable for outdoor use without a sealant. Both KOA and Australian Blackwood are known as sensitizing agents, causing irritation to the eyes and skin when cutting or during grinding.
Australian Blackwood and KOA are interchangeable for use as veneer, fine furniture, cabinets, gunstocks, canoes, and musical instruments. KOA is more often sought for special projects such as figurines, bowls, plates, and carvings. KOA is more figurative and usually ends in a larger enamel than the Australian Blackwood. Some musical instrument manufacturing companies use a combination of rosewood, mahogany or fir to build guitars, blending them for the best sound and appearance-Acacia has all these characters combined. It produces Rosewood heat, mahogany or fir resonance, and has flame and figure making Acacia guitar some of the best in the world.