I don't have any personal experience with it, but according to my literature it's valued for musical instruments because of its resonance properties, but is medium to coarse textured and moderately difficult to glue. The veneer is valued because of its fiddleback figure. It's difficult to saw because of its interlocking grain, and your tools have to be sharp to prevent tearouts. It has excellent stability, and is relatively easy to plane. It takes varnish and stain well, and polishes well. Weight, density, bending strength and compression strength are high. Nailing and screwing properties are generally good.
This may be more than you wanted to know!
If I had been present at the creation, I would have given some useful hints for the better arrangement of the Universe.
Alfonso the Wise, 1221-1284
Spent 3 years in Hawaii ,where Koa is grown. It is some tuff stuff. Very difficult to work with hand tools and no that easy with powertools. Definately need to be sharp. It is also not that light, but it can be very beautiful when done.
Yes I actually am very familiar with Koa and do live in Hawaii full time. I am also a carpenter and had to install koa doors and a Koa bar top. I was mostly asking what you guys thought of the wood on terms of beauty. I have seen some pretty boring pieces of koa and I have also seen some amazing ones that shimmer in the light with golden color. Sometimes it can ha tones of red, green, brown, golden brown all in the same board.
Yes it is not easy to work with even with sharp tools. It is brittle and a blow of a mallet with a sharp japanese chisel can make the board chip or the chisel too.
Check some small pieces http://cgi.ebay.com/5-PREMIUM-HAWAII...QQcmdZViewItem
There are (or at least have been) issues with cherry harvesting in the northeast. Large swaths of formerly bountiful cherry forests in Appalachia have been shut down (according to my two sawyers, anyway). Ain't gonna last forever - either the "Genuine" mahogany (which is sustainable, and not Cuban, FWIW) for it's ease in joinery, or cherry for its beauty would be my choices. Or some quartered walnut. Or Sapele. Or some bubinga.
Too many choices.
This is why I suggest people buy and why I buy only certified wood from guaranteed sustainable plantations.