Curly Spalted Koa Bowed Psaltery (Std.)


Status: Sold

Types of wood: Bookmatched Curly Spalted Koa Top, Curly figured Claro Walnut Back, Black Walnut Frame

Instrument Size: 20"x7"x1.5"


Koa is the most treasured wood of the Hawaiian Islands.  It is used in high end Ukuleles and the backs of high end guitars and CURLY Koa is among the rarest and most treasured of all Koa.  This particular piece of Koa, in addition to the unusually intensive curl of the grain pattern there is also to be found a small section of spalting.  Spalting is an interesting phenomenon which produces a light colored area surrounded by a quite distinct black line,  It is, in reality, the first stage of decay.  The progression of the decaying process is stopped by drying the wood.  Natural spalting occurs only after the death of the tree although spalting is often initiated in, particularly, maple logs because of the fascinating design that it produces in wood.  The logs are often placed on the ground and kept wet for a period of time while the spalting takes place.  The log is then sawed up and carefully dried to stop the decaying process before using.  One often sees spalted maple turned bowls, etc.

I have never seen a piece of Koa that is more intensely curly (rippled grain pattern) than this and the curl is evenly distributed over the entire top.  This is unusual as it is usually more intense in one spot and less intense in another.  Notice that the top is bookmatched.  This means that the top is “seamed” right down the middle with each side being the mirror image of the other.  The bookmatching is even more distinctive and obvious on the back (see photo below) which is curly figured Claro Walnut.

When you are not playing your psaltery, you can display this unique piece as an object of art with the included wall display hanger.  This instrument, as well as all of my instruments, was created for a purpose.  That purpose is to bring untold hours of auditory pleasure and joy to those who play it and to those who hear its haunting, ethereal sounds as well as bring untold hours of visual pleasure and joy who appreciate its unique beauty.

I welcome any comments or questions.

C Sp Koa BS front square