American Chamber of Commerce in Japan – 10 Points Business Series

“Wood is Good”

10 + 1 POINTS:

  1. Elevator Pitch
  2. Find an Expert
  3. Balanced Wheel of Life
  4. Expect Things to Go Wrong
  5. Stay Focused
  6. Trade Shows
  7. Target Market
  8. Niche Business
  9. Relationships are Paramount
  10. Drink Vinegar
  11. Hana hou point - Digital Savviness: Navigating Japan's E-Commerce Platforms for Business Solutions

Sawmilling Methods

Milling a log into lumber involves cutting the log into boards of specific dimensions. The three main methods of sawmilling are plain sawing (also known as flat sawing), rift sawing, and quarter sawing. These methods involve cutting the log into uniform, rectangular boards that are well-suited for a variety of applications.

Plain sawing is the most common method of sawmilling and involves cutting the log into boards by making parallel cuts along the length of the log. This method produces boards with a cathedral-like grain pattern that is the most common and least expensive type of sawn lumber.

Rift sawing involves cutting the log at a slight angle to produce boards with a straight grain pattern. This method is less common and more expensive than plain sawing because it produces less lumber and requires more time to produce.

Can I really dry Hawaiian Koa on my own?

We often get inquiries to supply koa and other Hawaiian wood lumber. Most times the customer wants to use it right away, so of course will need "dry lumber to work with. But what if you don't need it right away and all you can find is "green" lumber? Let's discuss that and perhaps you will find some of these points a good review and help you discover a new world of woodworking.

Over the decades, and if I include my father's operations from the early 70's, the Winkler have milled and dried MILLIONS of Board Feet of Hawaiian Koa. Yes, that's right, 7 figures, and if we include non-Koa species I think that number might even be in the 8 digits! Wow, even I'm impressed thinking about it. While I'm not trying to "toot our own horn" I share that info so you understand we have gone through so many different problems and issues to come up with fairly consistent methods to produce quality dried Hawaiian-grown woods, hard or soft.
January 13, 2023 — Jorma Winkler

Glue types for KamiPLY and WashiPLY and other paperback veneers

We sometimes get asked about which glues should be used for our paperback veneers.  While there are many methods, and many glues, let’s review the two most common glue types for both hobbyists and professional woodworkers working without a press.

While we do discuss some layup techniques and pointers here, this article is chiefly written to help you decide which glues you should use based on your method of laying up, rather than going into too many details about the layup process.   After reading this in its entirety you may also decide on a particular layup method based on the glue you decide to use.   We hope you find this helpful!

Finishing Koa KamiPLY or WashiPLY Veneers and Lumber

Hawaiian Koa is a great wood to apply a finish (also called varnish). It loves to accept pretty much any kind of finish, from all different kinds of oils, waxes, urethanes, lacquers and nitrocellulose. While I am not particularly a finish expert, I have worked with so many woodworkers, and gotten all kinds of feedback over the last 30+ years of being in the koa wood business. We also manufactured furniture and ukuleles for over 10 years so I can only speak directly to our own experience.  But I do want to re-iterate, Hawaiian Koa LOVES to have a finish applied. That's where the beauty of the natural wood really comes through.
January 10, 2022 — Jorma Winkler

Koa is NOT worth it?!

Aloha all,

Just thought I’d share my thoughts as a tonewood supplier and ukulele builder, since I get asked a LOT about whether or not a player should spring the extra $$ for an all solid Hawaiian Koa ukulele (or guitar).

Simple answer - Yes, if you can afford it. But why?

Is a Koa ukulele any better than a maple, walnut or mahogany? Will it produce a better sound? And will the epic looking curly koa sound better?

Koa Tonewood Koa Grade Tonewood Supplier Tonewood Grade Exotic Tonewood Koa Wood Koa Ukulele Koa Guitar Koa Ukulele Sets Koa Acoustic Guitar Sets Koa Electric Guitar Sets Koa Guitar Top Koa Backs Koa Sides Hawaiian Koa Curly Koa Figured Hawaiian Koa

Grades of Koa Wood & Koa Tonewood

In the early 2000's we pioneered the current Koa grading system specifically for the instrument market which we adopted from the tonewood Maple, Spruce and Cedar market. Much mahalo and a big thank you to David Lapeyrouse of Timbre Tonewood in BC, Canada for all your help in those early years! Previous to that, Koa sets were often sold as "A", "AA" or "AAA" according to the models of guitars in the market especially at Taylor Guitars.

Yet, with so many different customers with specific needs and the boom of the ukulele industry, we needed more grades to fit the market, so we adopted the 1A thru 5A grade. Even now, 20+ years later, we continue to hone the grading and have been knows to offer 4A+, 5A and the ever-so-rare 5A+ aka 6A or as we have recently started calling them "Ubers"!

We use the grading system explained below for our Koa tonewood products namely Koa ukulele sets, Koa acoustic guitar sets and Koa electric guitar sets.