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James T Ferla - Furniture & Fine Woodworking Since 1979


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Moanalua Gardens

Rare Cuban Mahogany


It's sad to see a fine old tree being cut down. Experts say this rare cuban mahogany tree has been here at Moanalua Gardens for about 150 years. It could have been alive during the time of Prince Lot or Kamehameha the Fifth.

"It has seen a lot. It's been through a couple of wars and a few of other things but it's got its age with it."

The tree was sick, a large branch fell near an elementary school. Experts said it had to come down. The owner took cuttings, planted seedlings. They're cloning parts of the original tree to the seedlings so the DNA of the actual tree will continue to grow at Moanalua Gardens and at other places around the island.

"I want to propagate as many clones as possible and try to replant as many of these as I can, and furthermore the wood that has been cut down will probably be used to make fine furniture, guitars and really high quality material."

James Ferla is a master carpenter who makes fine wood products. He and other craftsmen are waiting patiently to get some of the wood from this tree.

"Cuban mahogany is the premier wood for fine furniture and for musical instruments. This is the only example of that wood that I've seen. You've got very unique characteristics where the whole tree is curly."

They plan to use the wood to make fine furniture, bowls and other items. World-renowned guitar maker Taylor Guitars is interested in obtaining some of the wood. They could possibly make limited edition cuban mahogany guitars from the old tree.

So while this old tree has reach the end of its life, the wood will live on, in the form of art, and furniture and fine musical instruments.


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James T Ferla - Furniture & Fine Woodworking Since 1979
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