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Custom Hawaiian Wood Furniture, Art & Home Finishes

About R.K. BUILDERS, INC. and Big Island WOODS

For Ray Kobayashi, using Big Island wood in his houses is his passion.  He built his own residence using locally grown koa, mango, eucalyptus, ohia and sugi pine on the walls and ceilings.  Ray has now turned his talents to create rocking chairs, plant stands and other furniture.  He also created jewelry and document boxes.  The latest creations are sculptured vases, many of which he has named according to what he saw in them as he made them.   These are the native woods that he has used:

MILO (Thespesia populnea), commonly known as the Portia tree elsewhere, is prized calabash wood because of its beautiful reddish brown colors. Finding milo that carpenter bees had made holes in, Ray saw potential art pieces and began his new and original “Bumble Bee Art series, including “Wise Guy” sayings, and the new “God” and “Double or Nothing” series of sculptures and vases.

Milo wood vessel

"Original Hawaiian PUNCH" (Milo)

Milo wood vessel

Takenoko Twins, born same day only 15 minutes apart"

KOA (Acacia koa):  Koa trees are endemic to Hawaii and our most prized wood.  Used by ancient Hawaiians to build canoes, paddles, spears and surfboards, it is now prized by woodworkers to create ukuleles, guitars and bowls.  Koa is protected by our government and what is now sold for wood is from trees that have naturally fallen down or are ready to fall.  Prices are now between $16 to $50 board feet (depending on the quality).  We have used Koa in jewelry boxes and vases.   Hues vary from golden yellow, red to chocolate brown with wavy lines and swirls and from light to dark.

Koa vase
Koa "Spam Can Art"
Koa vase

Koa vase, 5"x7"x4"

MANGO (Mangifera spp):  Known mainly for its delicious fruit, this light golden blond colored wood has distinct multi-colored designs.  Growers cut the trees down only after they cease to produce fruit.

Mango vase
Mango wood vase

SUGI PINE (Cryptomeria japonica): Also known as Japanese Cedar,  sugi pine is the national tree of Japan.  The wood for our boxes comes from a huge tree grown in Honokaa.  The original designs, colors and smells make this type of wood truly unique.

Sugi Pine Box
Sugi Pine Box

EAST INDIAN ROSEWOOD (Dalbergia latifolia) is distinguished by its purple-brownish color with distinguished grains.  Imported from Indonesia, the wood is an excellent turning wood.

East Indian Rosewood vase & jewelry box
East Indian Rosewood vase & jewelry box


When we moved to Hilo from Japan, we hoped that we would be able to find a nice neighborhood and a comfortable home to live in.  R.K. Builders, Inc designed and built our home in the Waiakea Heights subdivision.  We love living here and enjoy the large lanai in the back for many of our activities, often times with guests from out of the island.

Ray is easy to talk to and his knowledge about building products and the most efficient way to install them make him a great contractor. He found the best way to install the accessible ramp to the front of our house and worked hard to make this wonderful addition to our home.

Saeko & Masa Hayashi

We operate our own wood mill to take raw local hard woods such as koa, ohia, mango or eucalyptus tree, cut it into useable sizes, dry it in kilns, then trim the wood into pieces that can create unique boxes and cases, vases, furniture and original home finishes such as crafted walls, flooring, ceilings, trim, moldings, cabinets, gazebos, fences, gates and Ohia posts.

We realize how important our island resources are, that is why we utilize every useable inch of these valuable Hawaiian hardwoods to integrate into our interior finishes, accents, furniture and art.