Going to Hawaii soon and I'm interested in bringing some local wood back
with me - monkey pod and koa, for example. Has anyone done this before?
Should I attempt to bundle some up and ship it with my luggage, or have it
shipped separate via UPS or FedEx? I'm not talking about huge quantities
here, but enough to make some boxes or similar. Regardless, the stuff is
One of my suitcases was almost completely koa when we went back home.
There's a weight limit on the checked luggage, can't remember what it
is. But they don't care if it's wood or knickknacks. Just dimensions
I also had some shipped because I couldn't bear to leave that long
piece of mango behind, and the lumber seller was happy to rig those
boards up for shipping. 154 bucks for the wood, $68 to ship it from
there to Wisconsin. Shipping the wood avoided the 4% excise tax on the
transaction, which knocked a whole five dollars, plus change, off the
top. He said he'd time the shipping so it would arrive after we got
back. He also kindly offered to include the board I bought from
Kamaaina Woods. That was Ken Endriss at Paradise
Hardwoods, southeast of Hilo, in 2004.
About half the little Mom and Pop shops that are filled with bowls and
boxes and stuff, have a rack in the back with cutoffs and other nice
pieces for sale. I bought a few of those too.
Lots of chatting with woodworkers, checking out lumber piles in back
rooms, it was great.
I believe it's 50 lbs. Also, check to see you if you can ship via
the cargo hold. A lot of airlines allow you to bring cargo to a
to ship. Often cheaper than UPS or FedEx. Can't remember the
limits, etc. Probably vary with the airlines. Oh, and there are
probably new restrictions viz-a-viz security. So don't assume
you can walk right up the cargo counter. Call first!
This same topic was discussed a couple of weeks ago right here. I did
this in March 2004. I found a local furniture maker who had just had
three pallets of green 8/4 quarter-sawn Koa shipped over from the Big
Island. I bought one piece - 100" long, 8-1/2" wide, 2" thick for $388.
He cut it into four 25" pieces and sealed the ends for me as well. It
cost me about $110 to ship it home from the UPS store. I also brought
home some small pieces I got at the Honolulu Woodcraft store in my luggage.
I was talking with one of the employees at the Woodcraft store, and he
took me in the back, where he had 10 or twelve Koa boards about the same
size as the one I bought. Every one had that tight, regular fiddle-back
figure that is so prized (and so expensive!). End to end, side to side.
He said they would sell for over $1000 each, but these boards were
not, alas, for sale. Prime heavily-figured Koa was priced at $65 per
board foot in their store, and these boards he showed me had MUCH better
figure that the ones in their lumber rack.
This summer I resawed one of the four pieces of Koa into five 3/8"
slices - two bookmatched sets to be used for tops for solid-body
guitars, and one slice for box-making. It has gorgeous curl and color -
it's gonna make beautiful guitars!
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