Common Name(s): Ohia
Scientific Name: Metrosideros spp. (M. collina, M. polymorpha)
Distribution: Pacific islands
Tree Size: 65-100 ft (20-30 m) tall, 2-4 ft (.6-1.2 m) trunk diameter
Average Dried Weight: 57 lbs/ft3 (915 kg/m3)
Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): .70, .91
Janka Hardness: 2,040 lbf (9,070 N)
Modulus of Rupture: 18,260 lbf/in2 (125.9 MPa)
Elastic Modulus: 2,269,000 lbf/in2 (15.65 GPa)
Crushing Strength: 9,170 lbf/in2 (63.2 MPa)
Shrinkage: Radial: 6.9%, Tangential: 12.1%, Volumetric: 19.1%, T/R Ratio: 1.8
Color/Appearance: Heartwood is a light to medium reddish brown. Grayish sapwood is not well defined.
Grain/Texture: Grain is interlocked, with a medium uniform texture and moderate natural luster.
Endgrain: Diffuse-porous; exclusively solitary; medium to large pores in no specific arrangement, moderately numerous; parenchyma not visible; narrow rays, spacing fairly close.
Rot Resistance: Rated as non-durable to perishable; good insect resistance.
Workability: Generally difficult to work on account of its high density and interlocked grain. Ohia also has a rather large movement in service, as evidenced by its high shrinkage values.
Odor: No characteristic odor.
Allergies/Toxicity: Besides the standard health risks associated with any type of wood dust, no further health reactions have been associated with Ohia. See the articles Wood Allergies and Toxicity and Wood Dust Safety for more information.
Pricing/Availability: Not commonly exported. However, slabs, lumber, and smaller craft blanks can all be found on occasion. Prices are in the mid range for an imported tropical hardwood.
Sustainability: This wood species is not listed in the CITES Appendices or on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Common Uses: Furniture, flooring, and turned objects.
Comments: Ohia is a very common species in Hawaii. According to folklore, Ohi’a was the name of a warrior that was transformed into a tree.
Will Ohia make good knife handle,if so what might be the best glue and finish to use? The piece I have is old and dry.
I just used some figured ohai on a knife after I stabilized it & it is gorgeous! It won’t let me attach a photo, but it will be on Instagram soon. Instagram.com/mattoxknives
As far as finishing outdoor railing and so forth cital is about the only thing that has any sort of durability in the salt air. I worked in the hotels for years hear on maui. Humidity and the cure of the wood has everything to do with a good finish. We use to let it bake in the sun until it oxidizes then apply a thin layer to fill the cracks after drying then sand it down if natural look was the desired effect .then re apply a top coat that will give you two years before a re application.… Read more »
Smells like sweet water chestnuts
Does anyone have any experience in putting a Varnish on this wood? We have a wooden bridge made of this and used a minwax poly-utherethane and it peeled after a few months.
I just milled some kiln dried Ohia and it is super oily. I imagine varnish and other treatments would find it hard to adhere to this wood. My hands feel like I rubbed lotion all over them after handling the wood for about an hour.
I’m not sure about this wood specifically, but if your bridge is outside, I wood recommend an oil based spar-urethane, like Miniwax Helmsman. Most poly-urethanes that I have worked with are for interior applications.
My flooring in my home is Ohi’a and we’ve had our varnished a few times with a matte and shiny finish on separate occasions… both do great