Mango Wood vs Koa Wood: What’s the Difference?

Most people care about their furniture and the kind of wood it is made of. The typical options of wood from which to choose are maple, oak, and cherry. However, those are not the only available types of wood, particularly if you live in Hawaii. Many people might not know what Mango and Koa wood have to offer, but the truth is that they are both great options for furniture.

What’s the difference between Mango wood and Koa wood? There are many differences between Mango wood and Koa wood. Koa wood is more expensive, as well as somewhat more water-resistant. And the two types of wood also require different types of maintenance.

If you’re an avid woodworker trying to figure out what type of wood to use to make your next piece of furniture, Mango and Koa wood are both strong contenders. You can make quality furniture from both of these types of wood. They both come with their advantages and disadvantages, so it’s up to you to decide which one would be better for you.

What Should You Know About Mango Wood?

When you hear the word “Mango,” chances are that you think about the fruit, not the wood. However, the wood from the Mango tree is very useful as well. One can find Mango trees in places such as Hawaii, Australia, Brazil, Mexico, India, and Southeast Asia. The use of Mango wood in those places is considered eco-friendly, since many Mango plantations harvest their trees for their timber after the trees have passed fruit bearing age.

There are many uses for Mango wood. It is not only used to make furniture, but also guitars, panel door, turned bowls, cabinets, and flooring. The unique grains, colors, and finish of Mango wood makes it an attractive choice.

For us, what makes Mango wood so special are the colors. Mango features different shades of brown, but there are also different greens and pinks because of the different types of fungi that grow in the wood. The fungi isn’t necessarily a bad thing for the wood, because it doesn’t impact the integrity of the wood. The fungi just makes for a richer and more interesting appearance to those who appreciate that sort of nuance in their wood.

Mango wood furniture is very durable. But it is still a good idea to protect the wood’s surface with regular polish or wood oil. In doing so, you can expect your Mango furniture to last for a long time.

What Should You Know About Koa Wood?

If you didn’t know, Koa is just one of the acacia species found mainly in Hawaii and Australia. And if acacia wood kind of sounds familiar, you can find acacia wood being mentioned in the Book of Exodus, where it was used to build parts of the Tabernacle and the Ark itself. So while there are many different types, the species that is most prized here in Hawaii is acacia Koa.

In Hawaii, Koa wood is commonly used to make beautiful furniture. However, Koa also has many uses that you might not think about.  These include:

  • Outdoor equipment, such as canoes, bodyboards, and surfboards.
  • Musical instruments, such as ukuleles, electric guitars, and even the Kalimba (if you are a Game of Thrones fan, check out the theme song being played on a Kalimba).
  • Containers and calabashes

What Do Mango Wood and Koa Wood Have in Common?

Both Mango and Koa are great candidates for furniture making. They both have great qualities.

For example, both of these types of wood are durable and strong. So you can expect your Mango or Koa furniture to last a very long time. Additionally, both of these types of wood are resistant to moisture.

The wood grain in both also have qualities that many people find appealing. The fungi in Mango create striking colors patterns. Whereas, the chatoyancy and the curl in the Koa wood grain create an exquisite and unique look.

What’s the Main Difference Between Mango Wood and Koa Wood?

Perhaps the major difference between Mango wood and Koa wood that matters to many woodworkers is the price. Koa wood furniture is significantly more expensive than Mango wood furniture because the price for the wood itself differs. It always depends on the grade of Koa, but you could pay up to 10 times more for Koa for the similar amount of board foot. So while a handmade rocking chair can be made entirely from Mango wood, usually Koa is used to only highlight certain aspects of the design.

How Does One Care for Mango and Koa Furniture?

We try not to overthink this too much, but it is still good to point out that different types of wood sometimes require different maintenance. However, to keep things simple consider the following for your furniture: placement, exposure, and general maintenance.

Placement

The wood coloration of Mango is somewhat volatile. So it’s a good idea to keep Mango out of direct sunlight to keep the wood from fading. This is somewhat true with all wood products, but more so with Mango wood. In general, it is a good idea to keep your Mango and Koa indoors if possible. But if you regularly use your furniture outside, some would go so far as to suggest that you rotate the furniture so that different parts of it are exposed to sunlight over time; this way, if it fades slowly due to sunlight exposure, it will at least fade evenly.

Exposure

You should also avoid bringing your Mango and Koa wood furniture into direct contact with water and liquid for prolonged periods. Even though both woods are fairly moisture-resistant, if you spill a large amount of liquid onto your wood, you should do your best to wipe it up with a dry cloth right away. Also, it is a good idea to keep hot objects off your furniture. Finally, avoid exposing the wooded surfaces to chemicals. This means that you should try to keep alcohol, nail polish, perfumes, and any other synthetic substances away from your furniture.

General Maintenance

To make sure that your furniture lasts for a long time, you should polish it regularly. If you want to learn more about how to maintain your wooden furniture, please check out the, “Shop Secrets Shareable: Our 10 Best Polishes for Wooden Furniture,” on our Home Page here for some useful tips. So even if you don’t use or spill anything on you furniture, it is still a good idea to polish your furniture once a year

Final Thoughts

In Hawaii, more people are considering Mango or Koa furniture because of the unique coloration and beautiful grain qualities of each wood. Both of these types of wood can be found locally where these trees grow. And both require maintenance to keep you wood looking lustrous for a long time to come. The main difference, however, is that Koa is significantly more expensive than Mango.

We hope this article was helpful. Essentially, you can make or acquire fantastic furniture made from either Mango wood or Koa wood right here in Hawaii. Consider what you like in terms of wood color, unique appearance, price, overall maintenance requirements, and then make the choice that best fits you and your home. If we can help, please come visit us in Hilo or please give us a call, (808) 959-4060. When you are on the internet, come see our one of kind furniture collection and our evolving list of services at www.rkwoodshawaii.com.

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