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Nipa Panels

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Hi Another one of those, "I just wish I had put my order in at OA" questions. Anyone know of a place to get real (non synthetic) Nipa Panels or rolls in the US? Weirdly I have found places in the UK, but can't ship.

And speaking of OA alternatives sources, maybe we should start a sticky with recommended places to source items, would be helpful to most tiki bar makers and lamp makers?

Edit moved to home tiki bars, probably more applicable

[ Edited by SkebengZA on 2022-04-11 07:35:40 ]

"maybe we should start a sticky with recommended places to source items, would be helpful to most tiki bar makers and lamp makers?"

Not being mean or anything but many people won't tell where a lot of the one stop shop for parts is because they make and sell tiki stuff. BUT with that said there are not many one stop shops for this stuff for the most part ya buy the stuff where you see it when you see it.

And the guys who did really well at finding stuff to make tiki stuff from hunted for stuff ALL the time. Our vacations went to all the nautical shops and shell shops we could find but those places are high dollar so you can't many times make a light from those parts as it would cost too much to sell and make any profit.

At this time I have parts for tons of lights as you need to just buy whatever you think might work and save it till you get the other parts for that light. So do you really make money making and selling tiki lights? Surely I will die with tons of unused tiki light parts.

OA would send off to China or some other far away land and buy a TON of stuff put it on a ship and over time they would use said items and make money. I don't know if even OA can find the hats and baskets they used to use to make lights and things like they used to.

Joe blow home tiki bar guy or even small time tiki maker seller can't do that.

This has come up before with little if any input as to places to find stuff. Garage sale time is here........ Good luck,

PS you will never find what you are looking for when you want it, look for cork find hat, look for bamboo find floats.

TikiSkip's on the money--OA really is the last of the one-stop-shopping spots for the full spectrum of tiki outfitting. There are no Sea & Jungles or Orchids of Hawaii to step in and fill the void. There might be a new or small company that grows into the role in coming years, but that doesn't help now.

The best we can do now is compile a list of bamboo/thatch/lauhala suppliers--there are plenty of those on the West Coast. I've bought from Forever Bamboo, Bamboo Creasian and Frank's Cane & Rush Supply and been happy with each of them. There are more out there, but nobody would confuse them with OA. Likewise the nautical shops Skip mentions. I'm heading to Galveston this weekend and plan to visit the Antique Nautical Warehouse. They have a lot of amazing things acquired from shipbreaking yards in Indonesia, but a lot of it is crazy expensive. They do have bargains, though, and that's what I keep my eyes open for. Their outright tiki offerings are marginal, though. That's the problem. To equal one OA, we have to cobble together a shopping list for a dozen different retailers scattered across the country. That becomes impractical very quickly.


Anything Nautical is going to be high, never find that cheap, and a damn ships wheel. What the heck even a cheap plastic one is costly.

This is what I do is make a list of places and websites where I find the stuff used often. That way I can remember where we get different things mostly via the net.

One tip is if you see something on eBay type that description in on Amazon lots of times I find the same thing for less doing that. If you go to the hardware store for say light bulb sockets you are paying too much.

Yup, I was mainly looking to guide newbies for some of the generic supplies. Mostly to support any business who still buys luahala/bac-bac, rope, ric rac and the like. If the tiki community has good dealings with a business, we should defs show them some love and send people their way.

I know the more obtuse items will still only be found by scouring every place you go. And really only people like yourself Skip and the other pro lamp makers will make the best use of those items. I remember reading a post of your about hats, and how the antique dealers want $20-30 for them, now that's the norm for a reproduction!


"luahala/bac-bac, rope, ric rac and the like."

Well, that is Franks cane and rush.

But Tapa that's going to be the hard one, sure you can always buy it via eBay but damn that's going to cost you. Going to be harder to find that small tapa pattern that is best for making lights.

But think about people like Bamboo Ben or say movie or TV people they will not have that one stop shop that they really need with OA gone. That could drive build costs up as well and even reduce tiki themes in shows maybe.

Shipping costs have just gone nuts, what do you think 4'' bamboo poles 8 feet long cost to ship?

Don't know what BB Ben has in mind for the rest of his life but he could step in and be a supplier/seller of bamboo and the like while supplying the stuff he needs as well. That way he could load a can and ship it and defray the costs over builds and sales as well.

But then Bens knees are going to tell him when he is done with the builds. Thats hard work I tell ya.


I was just thinking about tapa last night, actually. I've got a rattan footstool that I'd love to turn into a big hanging lamp with tapa shading, but dang you're right Skip. Ebay pricing for tapa is through the roof for anything useful, other than small swatches, and even then it's pricey.

I was under the impression a good number of folks in the Pacific still make tapa for the tourist trade. Surely there's got to be an enterprising wholesaler out there somewhere.

[ Edited by Bam Bam on 2022-05-04 13:43:16 ]


Man, I bet I have the same one here wanting to do the same thing, but damn it would be a big light.

Even back then they did not use a lot of Tapa most times it was like small cut up squares or triangles.

I did go online Esty and buy a small piece of tapa to get ahead of the difficulty to find Tapa that may come and about fifty bucks to my door for a small piece was about as good as I could get.

And they do still make it I would bet as they make their money off it, the patterns are unique to each family and is there style alone.

Sometimes groups of people work on one large sheet at a time then cut it up for each person that worked on it.

They need to grow the trees and cut and trim them over time to make the bark be the way they need it to make Tapa, so it takes a long time and effort to make that stuff.

I take off sheets of the bark paper when I make a light out of Tapa so it will let the light shine through better.

That tip right there is worth the price of admission.


Oh wow that is a handy tip. Very interesting. Thanks Skip!

"Anything Nautical is going to be high, never find that cheap, and a damn ships wheel. What the heck even a cheap plastic one is costly."

I had a conversation with one of the owners of Antique Nautical Warehouse in Galveston a few weeks back. They go on several buying trips to India and Turkey ship-breaking yards annually. He said ship's wheels are almost impossible to find at any price these days because all the ships have switched over to electronic controls. They're all piloted by joysticks now. Somehow, I don't think an authentic ship's joystick would have quite the same aesthetic value in a tiki build...

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