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Brazilian Koa As A Top?


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I purchased (albeit on a whim) a lot of brazilian koa today. It looks incredible (mahogany shimmer, but with lovely grain lines, very nice looking wood), and it has a really really really high janka rating.

I'm planning on using some for a top wood, some for fretboards, some for necks even.

My questions

1) why is this an uncommon wood? Its gorgeous, hard as a rock, and relatively inexpensive.

2) any safety concerns>? I know a lot of those rainforest woods are basically cancer sticks, I will be using appropriate safety gear, but just wondering how concerned I should be about it.

3) anyone use it here? Any advice?

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I've never heard of brazilian koa? Where did you go about finding it?

cabinet and flooring store lol... just this wonderful wood staring at me in the face...

Well I couldnt find much about it. Its supposedly similar to goncola alves. I messed around with it for a bit yesterday. Very tough and durable wood... I dropped stuff on it, took a hammer to a peice, clamped the bejesus out of it, didnt even dent it. This will make for a great and durable top! Jigsawing was difficult.

Smells really great when you cut it.

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I recommend against hammering guitar wood... :P

Aside from that,I am so done with woods that are too hard to properly work.I had my time with bubinga,maple,etc,but from here on out I plan on sticking with softer woods for bodies...mahogany,alder,etc.

It is just so much more of a pleasure to build a guitar when you don't have to bust your ass and dull your tools to shape the wood.I'll count on the finish to protect it after.

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I recommend against hammering guitar wood... :P

Aside from that,I am so done with woods that are too hard to properly work.I had my time with bubinga,maple,etc,but from here on out I plan on sticking with softer woods for bodies...mahogany,alder,etc.

It is just so much more of a pleasure to build a guitar when you don't have to bust your ass and dull your tools to shape the wood.I'll count on the finish to protect it after.

haha the wood itself is REALLY easy to cut with the grain, but ridiculously difficult to cut it against the grain :P It seems to splinter easy

That said, I was vacuuming the dust up today... And the filter on my vacuum fell off, and I got a big heaping gulp of it. I must say, Im not a fan of the feeling!

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Not sure where they get the Koa reference from. I did some Google searching on it and to me, none of it resembles koa, sans the reddish tone I saw in some pictures but that could have simply been the sheen from the flooring finish. Koa is indigenous to Hawaii and as far as I know, it only grows on the islands. I could buy the the Tigerwood reference but I'm not so sure about the referneces to Goncal Alves. Too red and not enough green to me.

People attach names to lumber to make them sound special. At Martin, we sell a wood called Morado. It's also known as Pau Ferro. From what I understand, Martin did not want to associate the wood they used with the popular basses built in the 70's and 80's so they used a less common name. We use several other species that have more "common" common names than the ones we opt to use.

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Off topic a bit I think,but Pau Ferro is a great fingerboard wood...it is a pleasure to work,is more tightly grained than most rosewoods,and it smells like a candle when you cut it

As a fingerboard it feels smoother than ebony to me

I made some finger board blanks of this stuff, its super tight grained, and very very smooth even after a simple rough cut. Im pretty sure its going to make an absolutely fantastic fretboard.

I've played on some pau ferro guitars, has the look of rosewood but the feel of ebony, tough to beat for sure!

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