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Hawaiian Koa Winter Squash

Some time ago, we acquired several bundles of Koa veneer from a regional lumber yard. One of the bundles sat unused for quite a while, and when we finally opened it, we discovered some incredible bookmatched pieces! We saw these two pieces together and even in their raw state two things were clear: it was destined to be a winter squash, and it was some of the most beautiful grain and coloring we have ever seen on Koa!

We began by planing the two inside edges smooth and gluing up the pieces. After that, we sanded everything smooth with the orbital sander and cut the exterior shape to follow the grain. A natural squash shape. We then added 3 solid Koa pieces to the back as braces, as the veneer is only 1/8” thick. Then in another stack of veneer, we found yet another super cool piece with a little natural live edge structure and amazing swirling grain to make the ‘cap’ for the squash. We used a Dremel sander to sand and angles the sides of the cap and glued it on. Once that was dry, we finished the piece with multiple coats of hand rubbed oil and urethane in a satin finish.

To make the piece more festive, we created a couple of squash leaves. One is made of leather and the other is made of fleece, and each one has a felt backing. The leather and felt leaf is assembled with fusible webbing and the fleece and felt leaf is hand stitched in a rustic, quirky line stitch with embroidery thread that matches the wood. These leaves were then attached to the neck of the squash with thick copper wire, curled on both ends for some fun spiraling tendrils. We LOVE this squash.

And boy is it big. At just over 3 feet tall, this is the mother of all squash. It is 10” wide at its widest, and about 3/4” deep, including the Koa braces across the back. It hangs via a sawtooth hanger attached to the top brace on the back—all you need is a nail.

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