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

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?

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Grading Hawaiian Koa

Please have a look at the photo above and you can see the wood grain range from the left to right from NON (1A) curly to SUPER (5A) curly. I adopted this grading system from the Maple, Spruce and Cedar market (thanks Dave!) in order to have a base line grading system when trying to sell Hawaiian Koa in the instrument market. My father had his grading system for lumber that was adopted from NHLA grading rules, but that just didn’t work when speaking luthiery. While not perfect, I found this does help our buyers understand what to expect from us. We do our best to match the buyer’s expectations with what we promise to supply.