The outdoor lifestyle on the Windward side of O’ahu lends itself beautifully to natural elements in decor, especially natural wood furniture and accessories. Locally, there are many places to purchase custom, natural wood furniture, accessories and distinctive imported wood pieces.
Waimanalo resident, Kini Ziegner, has been creating natural wood furniture for more than 40 years and started his business, Woodworking Hawaii, in 2008.
Building is second nature to Ziegner, who grew up watching both his father and grandfather build furniture, swimming pools and even homes.
To create his one-of-a-kind pieces, Ziegner uses a variety of local woods, including mango, mahogany and koa. Monkeypod is his favorite for its termite-resistance, affordability, stability and its wide variety of hues.
All of the wood that Ziegner uses comes from construction sites cleared for homes, commercial businesses or roads, much of which would have previously been used to make mulch.
“What I like is the conceptualization, acquiring the raw materials and using what I have at hand - what’s local and affordable – and making a product out of it that is aesthetically and structurally pleasing and is going to last for generations,” Ziegner said.
Rather than using electricity and drying the wood with a kiln, Ziegner uses a process called “stickering” in which he places a broomstick between slabs of wood so that air flows between them and allows for natural air-drying. Drying the wood slowly through this process means it is less apt to crack. This preparation process takes six months to one year depending on the thickness of the wood.
Once the wood is ready for building, the time it takes to create one piece varies, starting at about two weeks for a simple table, but Ziegner and his staff of ten are able to produce many pieces at one time.
Ziegner can build just about any type of furniture for your home, canoe paddles, and even smaller accessories such as jewelry boxes.
One of Ziegner’s favorite customization techniques and a trademark of his work is to add sea shells and colored glass so the table resembles the shoreline. This particular style has proved especially popular with military aviator clients who want to replicate the coastline as they see it from the air. It’s also a way to involve the younger family members in the creation of custom furniture, as they can choose their favorite shells for inclusion in the piece, Ziegner said.
Woodworking Hawaii – Custom Hawaiian Hardwood Furniture
41-625 Kaulukanu Street, Waimanalo, HI 96795
More Great Local Resources for Natural Wood Furniture and Accessories:
Island Treasures - Island art and natural wood accessories made by local artists
629 Kailua Road #102
Kailua, HI 96734
Red Bamboo - Handpicked painted and natural wood furniture imported from Bali, clothing and home accessories
602 Kailua Rd # 101
Kailua, HI 96734
Rust and Root – Custom, Hawaiian Hardwood Furniture
41-829 Kakaina Street,
Waimanalo, HI, 96795
Bali Boo Furniture – Handpicked, imported Indonesian furniture and décor
The Koa Room - Handcarved Koa furniture made by craftsmen located here on- island and from Indonesia
201 Kapaa Quarry Pl Ste 401
Kailua, Hi 96734
Photo 1: Monkeypod table with resin inlay by Kini Ziegner of Woodworking Hawaii (courtesy of Woodworking Hawaii)
Photo 2: Cutting Board from Island Treasures
Photo 3: Bowl from Red Bamboo