Griffin Exotic Wood

Koa & other Hawaiian Woods
Koa (in photo above) (Acacia koa)

Koa, the best known of Hawaiian woods, grows year round and can reach heights of 100 feet.  The specific gravity is around .55, making it similar to American Black walnut in density.  It has been used for centuries by Hawaiians to make wa'a (dugout canoes).   It is a great wood for many purposes including musical instruments, bowls and all kinds of projects where a medium weight wood can be used.   Our figured Koa has the beautiful chatoyance in the curl seen in the photo above, and the distance between curls vary (the one above has very tight, close curl).    As best we can tell, it is not classified as endangered.  The biggest threat to Koa in Hawaii appears to be overgrazing of cattle.   Click here  for a larger detail of the Koa photo.

Grading explanation for figured wood:
Gallery grade minus (gg-) is a nicely figured piece that has some figure scattered around, not tight or all over figure
Gallery grade (gg) is a highly figured piece of wood. It has very high and intense figure on at least two parallel sides, or very good figure on 3 or 4 sides.
Gallery grade PLUS (gg+) is a piece with rare intense figure that appears on all 4 surfaces of a square. Usually uncommon to rare.

Macadamia wood now on this page below the Koa.

unless specified otherwise.



Exotic Wood Chart

Biblical woods

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Koa tree in Hawaiian Islands.                                             Koa Tree flowers                                                        Freshly cut log



sample photo--pieces have good curl figure
. Some pieces have black lines,
others may vary in color from red/tan
to black and tan.  Random appearances:

Curly Koa pen blank, GG

3/4 x 3/4 x 5 to 5.75 inches long
Price: $10.50

Curly Koa pen blank, GG PLUS

3/4 x 3/4 x 5 to 5.75 inches long
Price: $14.50 (in stock occasionally)

photo credit: Forest and Kim Starr
Hawaiian Sandalwood
(santalum ellipticum)

Hawaiian sandalwood is very rare, and few have the opportunity to own this wood. The quality of our pieces sold here is equal to the best East Indian Sandalwood as far as aroma. Grain is quite fine and the wood takes fine detail very well. Even in Hawaii, few individuals have been able to use this wood for woodworking as it is almost never sold. Ours was legally obtained from a private landowner who needed to remove a dead tree in the past and kept these pieces to sell. This is the rarest wood we sell. We have had inquiries from a museum in Hawaii because they cannot obtain it anywhere in the islands. It is available in other small sizes for .80 per gram and little log sections (with defects) for .30 to.60 per gram. Once we sell our current stock, we doubt we'll ever be able to get any again and consider it a once in a lifetime find. Please be aware that even the best sandalwood is not like a bottle of perfume. It won't fill a room like an air freshener or even be noticed by people who have trouble smelling subtle smells. (Some individuals cannot even smell a quart of paint thinner spilled in the rug of a closed up 85 degree room---as I have witnessed with surprise!) Most people can smell it very well when bare wood is held up to their nose at room temperature. Cold temps or very high humidity might decrease the smell. It can fill a room if properly used as an incense, or when it is turned on a lathe. These are top grade for aroma in sandalwood--as good or better then any sandalwood from India.

NOTE: you CAN export these from the USA!

The above photo shows the range of colors in the pen blanks listed below. They are all pretty similar and there is little/no sapwood in them. Outstanding aroma in these, you will really fill the shop when you work on them! Note: Just a few available in most sizes. If we run out of your size, let us know and we'll cut more for you.

Hawaii Sandalwood
7/8 x 7/8 x 5 to 5.5 inches

Price: $42.00

Hawaii Sandalwood
3/4 x 3/4 x 5 to 5.25 inches

Price: $34.00

Hawaii Sandalwood Half pen blank
3/4 x 3/4 x 3 inches

Price: $16.00

Hawaii Sandalwood Half pen blank
5/8 x 5/8 x 3 inches

Price: $13.00

Click the photo for the other two sides.
Top quality aroma/oil in these defect free pieces*, cut from the highest quality logs, aroma is outstanding with a high oil content. Notice how these are a little darker then some? Reason seems to be the very high oil content in these. Extremely rare wood basically unknown on the market. They smell great and you'll love these if you like sandalwood.
Quality = to top grade Mysore sandalwood

*Piece E is a natural edge log slice: some cracking but mostly clear , biggest check in white circle in the pic above.  
 All these pieces came from the same log section!

Hawaiian Sandalwood
2 3/16 x 2 3/16 x 7.5 inches
Piece B

Price: Sold BUT:  more in the works for June 2022  

Macadamia wood
(macadamia integrifolia)

Macadamia wood has an appearance much like lacewood/leopardwood, but has a pinkish cast and slightly different markings. The color can look like red stain with a finish.   Just like lacewood or oak, the appearance of the markings changes based on the angle the wood has been cut.  The wood often develops multiple defects when drying, which makes it very important to buy truly dry wood.  These pieces have been kiln-dried or air dried completely.

The freshly cut wood looks like the lighter pieces.  If exposed to light without a finish, the
pieces gradually look like the darker ones above.  The darker color is only skin deep, and
as soon as the piece is sanded, the lighter color is apparent.  Sample photo of typical pieces.

Macadamia wood, kiln dried
Pen blank, 3/4 square by 5-6 inches long
Price: $2.90

Click Photo for a second view.
Nice clean dry pieces. This wood is incredibly hard to dry without cracks going everywhere. Fortunately, once dry it seems stable. Picking the best pieces to start, we have to buy about 4-5 pounds to get one pound of blanks, making getting from wet lumber to perfect dried blanks a very costly, long term (very slow drying required) and laborious process. Probably why you don't see the dried cleaned up ones for sale much, if ever, elsewhere. We don't really make money on it, but do manage to get another hard to find (in this quality) wood out there for our customers.

Macadamia wood, dried
Piece 4
1.75 x 1.75 x 9.25 inches

Price: Sold, we'll add more pieces as soon as we can get dry stock.

Mango wood (curly shown)
(mangifera indica)
Origin: Hawaii, USA


photo courtesy of Frank McClure
Koa: A dead/dying tree being harvested legally on private land.

photo coutesy of Frank McClure
Koa: Getting some of the figured wood, usually lower on the stump.


Order online, or call us Monday through Friday 970-241-2827 (minimum phone order is $50 plus shipping)
International callers and all Questions:Email us

Note that everything on this page (photos too!) are copyrighted and may not be used
without written permission.  Credited photos to other than James Griffin
or Griffin Exotic Wood llc must still be credited if you use them.  Credited photos
on this page can be used without permission by getting them from the Wikipedia article on Koa..
Copyright 2006, 2020 by James Griffin.  If you are a customer
and desire to use some of our photos on your website, email us with your request.