Formosan Koa

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Formosan koa (Acacia confusa)
Formosan koa (Acacia confusa)

Common Name(s): Formosan koa

Scientific Name: Acacia confusa

Distribution: Southeast Asia and Pacific Islands

Average Dried Weight: 52.4 lbs/ft3 (840 kg/m3)

Comments: Not to be confused with the much more commercially popular and common koa (Acacia koa), found mainly on the island of Hawaii. Formosan koa is a slightly heavier and more obscure wood. The root bark of the tree is sometimes harvested and ground into a medicinal powder.

Note: This is a truncated profile page. If you have any helpful info or experience with this wood species, feel free to leave a comment below and I’ll do my best to integrate any relevant data when I expand the page. ~Eric

Images: Drag the slider up/down to toggle between raw and finished wood.

[caption id="attachment_22051" align="alignleft" width="300"]Formosan koa (Acacia confusa) Formosan koa (Acacia confusa)[/caption]

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is it also suitable for boat building? I am looking for something rot resistant

Andy Brennan

Hardest wood to be found in Taiwan, will tear out easily in a planer due to grain direction variation, I use a router sled to flatten.
Sanding up through the grits from 120 – 400 brings out the beauty of the wood, starts to get a burnished shine at 320 – 400, more so when progressing up to 1000 grit, the grain really pops after wax paste and machine buff.

Andy Brennan

Beautiful wood to work with, poses some challenges at times but the finish is amazing.

Victor Seow

What is the Junka hardness of Formosan Koa? Is it also used to make guitar tops?

Andy Brennan

1460 lbf, yes it could be used for guitar tops.


I’ve worked with a few smallish pieces. I found it noticeably denser than common koa, more along the lines of purple heart. The grain was also much more dramatic than the picture here. I didnt have any issues with glue. I did notice a minor tendency to tear-out on the planer but that might have been dull blades at the shared shop I use. The boards I was able to get also tended to be quite narrow; in the 4-6″ range with nothing over about 6.5″ available.