Man throwing shaka from truck hauling koa wood down Mauna Kea

Our Story

Welcome to the Wood Dragon Hoard

You probably already know that dragons are collectors, you could say curators. They see treasure, admire its distinctiveness, and set it aside to enjoy. There certainly is a sort of pleasure in that alone, but the real curator knows that the best pleasure is in sharing the collection with others who will enjoy it. So, come on in! It’s warm, but it’s not dragon fire. It’s the heat of flame maple, the radiance of golden quilt, and the sparkle of rich koa, mango, and so much more. 

This treasure trove is open to all discerning woodworkers. Those who value high quality and unique woods. Each piece in this Hoard has been individually selected with an eye for its artistic features. The Wood Dragon enthusiastically invites you to seek your own crafting treasure in this truly special, constantly expanding collection.

Baby koa growing on a koa log

This photo: Baby koa on Mauna Loa, growing on a RIPPIN' curly log. We left it alone. Above: Kimo defies death coming down Mauna Loa with a crazy load. That's Island Style, Brah!

View of forest and harvest of maple

Field work - Clark County, WA

History of the Hoard

The Wood Dragon Hoard is a division of the Specialty Chest, LLC. The Specialty Chest is an instrument wood wholesaler, that has been in business since 2007. We are a small company, comprised of three people. We do all the processing of the wood from tree to guitar components.

Instrument builders (we’re talking guitars and ukuleles here) have very strict specifications for their wood materials. These are important for building instruments that are strong, resonant, and beautiful. Qualities best achieved with wood that is without defect. Defects (like knots, bird-pecks, stain, and voids) may affect the tonal qualities of the wood, or present issues that are difficult for large-scale producers to compensate for in production.

History of the Hoard

Field work - Clark County, WA

The Wood Dragon Hoard is a division of the Specialty Chest, LLC. The Specialty Chest is an instrument wood wholesaler, that has been in business since 2007. We are a small company, comprised of three people. We do all the processing of the wood from tree to guitar components.

Instrument builders (we’re talking guitars and ukuleles here) have very strict specifications for their wood materials. These are important for building instruments that are strong, resonant, and beautiful. Qualities best achieved with wood that is without defect. Defects (like knots, bird-pecks, stain, and voids) may affect the tonal qualities of the wood, or present issues that are difficult for large-scale producers to compensate for in production.

Who is the Wood Dragon?

This is where we switch to first person narrative. I’m Sara, the Wood Dragon.

That’s me in the tree. Do you want to hear about how a person evolves into a dragon? It started long ago with a paper route. One of the stops I made each day was to a craft store. To me, the wood section was a magical place and the dragon transformation started there. I was entranced by the colors, the smells, the grain pattern, the sparkle and shimmer of some woods, the texture of others. They were like jewels.

I also had two trees, which were my refuge. They were box elders, both with huge, burly bases perfect for climbing. I didn’t know then that under the bark was vibrant striations of black and red. I knew nothing of the seams of shimmering figure. I just knew that from their branches, I could watch the robins raise their families and the busy little black and red beetles scurry around.

The path I took from paper route to Wood Dragon-ness was long and winding, but the love of the trees and the love of the wood were the beginning. 

Sara Te'o in banyan tree - Honu'Apo, Big Island, HI

Banyan tree in Honu'Apo, Big Island, HI. Home to ants, coqui frogs, and the occasional dragon.

Who is the Wood Dragon?

Banyan tree in Honu'Apo, Big Island, HI. Home to ants, coqui frogs, and the occasional dragon.

This is where we switch to first person narrative. I’m Sara, the Wood Dragon.

That’s me in the tree. Do you want to hear about how a person evolves into a dragon? It started long ago with a paper route. One of the stops I made each day was to a craft store. To me, the wood section was a magical place and the dragon transformation started there. I was entranced by the colors, the smells, the grain pattern, the sparkle and shimmer of some woods, the texture of others. They were like jewels.

I also had two trees, which were my refuge. They were box elders, both with huge, burly bases perfect for climbing. I didn’t know then that under the bark was vibrant striations of black and red. I knew nothing of the seams of shimmering figure. I just knew that from their branches, I could watch the robins raise their families and the busy little black and red beetles scurry around.

The path I took from paper route to Wood Dragon-ness was long and winding, but the love of the trees and the love of the wood were the beginning. 

Loading koa into a truck - Big Island, HI

Loading koa - Big Island, HI

Sharing the Hoard

As I work with my partners putting wood together for the music makers, treasures emerge. Beautiful pieces of wood that have unique, wonderful qualities precisely because of the “defects” in them. Over time, I’ve gathered quite a collection. We used to have to discard a lot of this material. It was heart breaking. Our focus on music meant that we just didn’t have a market for it. I’ve worked for years to build a market for our beautiful craftwoods. Perfect, music quality wood is amazing, but the material that I really, really love is the crazy. Voids, stains, and live edges are a delight to me. 

The Hoard began with me stashing my treasures for my own projects, but over the years, my supply of unique and wonderful pieces has far outstripped my ability to craft with them. My partners started referring to my stash as my “Hoard” and I started calling myself a Wood Dragon. Fitting, right?

Each piece in this collection has something that has excited me personally. Maybe I see a tabletop, or a serving tray, or even a canvas to paint on. Each piece is one that I would like to create with myself.

Sharing the Hoard

Loading koa - Big Island, HI

As I work with my partners putting wood together for the music makers, treasures emerge. Beautiful pieces of wood that have unique, wonderful qualities precisely because of the “defects” in them. Over time, I’ve gathered quite a collection. We used to have to discard a lot of this material. It was heart breaking. Our focus on music meant that we just didn’t have a market for it. I’ve worked for years to build a market for our beautiful craftwoods. Perfect, music quality wood is amazing, but the material that I really, really love is the crazy. Voids, stains, and live edges are a delight to me. 

The Hoard began with me stashing my treasures for my own projects, but over the years, my supply of unique and wonderful pieces has far outstripped my ability to craft with them. My partners started referring to my stash as my “Hoard” and I started calling myself a Wood Dragon. Fitting, right?

Each piece in this collection has something that has excited me personally. Maybe I see a tabletop, or a serving tray, or even a canvas to paint on. Each piece is one that I would like to create with myself.

Let's Find Your Next Treasure

If you're seeking something unique and dramatic, something out of the ordinary this Dragon Hoard is for you. Whether you’re turning bowls or building tables, we have wood that will dazzle you.

Come on in and seek out your own treasure. If you don’t see what you’re looking for here, ask. It’s a large collection and something may be tucked away in a corner. I enjoy talking with the visitors to the Hoard. Tell me about your project and I will do all I can to help you find the treasure that will fit your most perfect vision.

Wood Dragon Hoard logo - brown dragon with hibiscus - tagline reads a figured wood treasure trove

About Sara Te'o

Sara Te’o is co-owner of The Specialty Chest, LLC experts in producing high quality music woods since 2007. Sara spent 20 years working in behavioral health and became a Reiki Master to complement her practice in both clinical and college settings. Burnout and life changes combined to shift her path in a different direction. Now, she spends her days playing with blocks, making sawdust castles, hanging out in the PNW woods and on Hawaiian volcanoes. She also gets to meet amazing artisans and help them find the perfect wood treasures to realize their artistic aims.

All of our wood is sourced exclusively from the Pacific Northwest and the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi.

Cascadia region and Hawaiian flags

Find your perfect wood treasure today

Koa Mini Slabs & Project Boards
2-piece curly koa set with beautiful color, spalting, 5A curl throughout, and live edges.
2-piece curly koa set with beautiful color, spalting, 5A curl throughout, and live edges.
Curly Koa Book-matched Set (KBM240131)
Price
$300
Gorgeous curly koa 2-piece set with 5A grade curl throughout, sap, spalting, and live edges.
Gorgeous curly koa 2-piece set with 5A grade curl throughout, sap, spalting, and live edges.
Curly Koa Book-matched Set (KBM240130)
Price
$585
Koa craft board with interesting shape, light crotch feather/curl, beautiful color, spalting and live edges.
Koa craft board with interesting shape, light crotch feather/curl, beautiful color, spalting and live edges.
Koa Craft Board (KCB240110)
Price
$195
Dimensions each piece: Thickness 1.125", Maximum width 10", Length 36.5".  Beautiful 2-piece curly koa set with wonderful contrasting heart to sap wood with heavy spalting, tight 5A curl throughout and live edge.
Dimensions each piece: Thickness 1.125", Maximum width 10", Length 36.5".  Beautiful 2-piece curly koa set with wonderful contrasting heart to sap wood with heavy spalting, tight 5A curl throughout and live edge.
Curly Koa Book-matched Set (KBM230314)
Price
$350
Dimensions: Thickness each piece: 1.125", Maximum width 11.5", Length 58.75".  Beautiful 2-piece, book-matched curly koa set with striking heart/sap variation, light spalting, 5A grade curl throughout, and live edge.
Dimensions: Thickness each piece: 1.125", Maximum width 11.5", Length 58.75".  Beautiful 2-piece, book-matched curly koa set with striking heart/sap variation, light spalting, 5A grade curl throughout, and live edge.
Curly Koa 2-piece Set (KBM230312)
Price
$595