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Thread: Koa - pros and cons for no stabilization

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    Senior Member Anton's Avatar
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    Koa - pros and cons for no stabilization

    I have a very nice piece of Koa I've been holding onto for some while, it is NOT stabilized and therefore quite light compared to a stabilized piece.

    Assuming it is fully dry (2-4% moisture after 2 years of laying around); I'm toying with the idea of making an extra light and nimble cutter using this wood. Has anyone gotten away without stabilizing a Koa WA handle? Pros/cons?

    Thanks in advance

    Antonio

  2. #2
    Canada's Sharpest Lefty Lefty's Avatar
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    I've wondered the same, as I've seen some gorgeous pieces at some of the wood suppliers I use.
    09/06

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    Email me at: tmclean@sharpandshinyshop.com

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    Weird Wood Pusher Burl Source's Avatar
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    Koa seems to be plenty tough and durable on it's own.
    I don't think there would be any problems as long as you do a finish that seals the wood.
    Otherwise the Koa is prone to end and surface checking.
    My suggestion would be Danish Oil. I like Watco brand.

    My impression with natural Koa vs stabilized Koa, was the stabilized was easier to finish and the figure stood out better.
    Primarily because it is a fairly coarse grain wood.
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    Sponsors Dream Burls's Avatar
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    There are a number of factors that can be used in deciding whether or not a wood needs to be stabilized: use, density, specific gravity, hardness, etc. One rule of thumb that I use is that if the specific gravity (at 12% MC) is below 80 I will always stabilize. Koa has a SG of 67 at 12% MC so at 2-4%, if your measurement is accurate, its SG is probably in the mid to upper 70s. The kind of puts it on the cusp, but I would stabilize so as not to have to worry about it. Of course if you live in a temperate climate where the temperature doesn't vary that much and you don't leave it soaking in the sink, you may not have any problems. While the piece will pick up some weight after being stabilized, that's the trade off you make for sleeping well at night.
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    Canada's Sharpest Lefty Lefty's Avatar
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    Good to know. I've had great results with my current finishing steps, so I might have a goa at koa...see what I did there?
    09/06

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    Senior Member Anton's Avatar
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    Thanks all for the input.

    Tom, you are an influencer... (that is not a word btw)

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    Check out this thread for some discussion and Marko porn

    http://www.kitchenknifeforums.com/sh...ehandle-or-Not

  8. #8
    Senior Member Anton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TB_London View Post
    Check out this thread for some discussion and Marko porn

    http://www.kitchenknifeforums.com/sh...ehandle-or-Not
    Great find - thank you!

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    Quote Originally Posted by TB_London View Post
    Check out this thread for some discussion and Marko porn

    http://www.kitchenknifeforums.com/sh...ehandle-or-Not
    Damn, post #25 in that thread was pretty awesome!

    I read through the entire thread--good read. Marko commented about koa losing color when stabilized. I used some Craig Stevens stabilized koa, and it turned out awesome. Of course I didn't see it pre-stabilization, but I still find it quite mesmerizing.

  10. #10
    Weird Wood Pusher Burl Source's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by toddnmd View Post
    Damn, post #25 in that thread was pretty awesome!
    I read through the entire thread--good read. Marko commented about koa losing color when stabilized. I used some Craig Stevens stabilized koa, and it turned out awesome. Of course I didn't see it pre-stabilization, but I still find it quite mesmerizing.
    Muddy color and dull figure comes from using the wrong stabilizers.
    K&G uses a different formula with Koa than what is used for maple and other woods.
    Any Koa I have ever sent to them for stabilizing has always come back with an improved appearance.
    Mark Farley / It's a Burl
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