Jack Ewing's

Hawaii woodturning
Hawaiian Style

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The Trees

A 100 foot tall Norfolk Island Pine. This is the tree that provides the wood for my translucent works.

Milo Tree
Milo wood is a dark, rich, beautiful, chocolate-peach colored wood. The tree looks very similiar to the Kou tree. Molokai still has some trees which I occasionally obtain from land clearing or tree trimmers. On the other islands the supply is very limited.

Rare Kou Tree
This evergreen tree grows along shorelines and was a wonderful shade tree near homes. At one time, Kou and Milo were the dominant trees along the shorelines of all the islands and the cutting of them was Kapu [forbidden] to the commoners being protected for the Alii.

Kamani grows near the shoreline and reaches heights of 40 - 60 feet. The tree could be up to 12 feet in diameter as is photo of the one on this website. The wood color varies from brown to red. Red being the rarest. The lustrous and interlocking grain is dramatic.

Kamani is a hardwood and one of the hardest to work with among the indigenous woods. In many parts of Polynesia, the Kamani is a sacred tree and so it was in Hawaii. Hawaiians planted the beautiful trees with their high scented flowers near Heiaus (Hawaiian temples). It is also very rare and products of this wood are seldom seen in galleries.

Pheasant Wood or Golden Shower Tree (Kolohala)
This extremely rare decorative tree is normally found in yards. Its distinctive yellow flowers and foot long pods makes it a beautiful tree. The wood's grain, when cut, looks like feathers and hence the name pheasant wood. The wood is a golden brown and if can be obtained, makes very distinctive and rare bowls.

Koa is a large evergreen tree and was commonly used for the construction of canoes in ancient Hawaii. It is known for its dark brown beauty, but only became popular for calabashes or bowls in the 20th Century as Kou died out. Curly Koa is popular for wood items such as ukuleles and bowls since the grain is spectacular. Curly Koa is very rare and much sought after. It is found in the base of the tree and in the forks. The wood grain is stretched from pressure which produces a 3D effect.

Silk Oak or Silver Oak
This tree was introduced for shade, ornament, and reforestation. It may reach 70 feet in height with a diameter of up to 5 feet. Sometimes this wood is also called lace oak. The color of wood is pinkish and beautiful when finished.

It is quite difficult to work with as the sap and sawdust are toxic being related to poison oak. I have to cover up completely and wear an air mask when sanding or turning it. One does get quite hot with all this stuff on especially where I live. Kawela; which means hot in the Hawaiian language! Once finished, it poses no problems. I think you can understand why it is the least desirable of the woods for me to work with.




Click on the Kou flower above to see
all the different tree flowers
Click images to enlarge


Pheasant Wood

Silk Oak

Monkey Pod

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Copyright Jack Ewing, 2003