Jan 19, 2014

How about some teak?

Behind the Olive Green Window, the theme of sourcing continues to be quite a prominent one, as we are on the brink of making decisions regarding the surfaces in Project Downstairs. One of the visually most important and yet pending visual elements is the wood panel wall shown in The Vision -post

During the last months we have been in contact with several material providers and evaluated different options for the wall. As so many times before, Pekka he has literally "driven himself up to a tree" trying to figure out the optimal design of the wall: which wood should we use, should it be plywood or narrow wooden slats, and in the latter case, what should be the size and rhythm of the units? Yes, indeed once again, a lot of huffing and puffing.

Pile to teak

Finally, after an extensive research the news are excellent! Pekka found a source for massive teak with a very competitive price. Like for many other MCM enthusiasts, teak ranks rather high on the list of our preferred wood, and when the opportunity presented itself very close to where live, the status of the search suddenly changed from "ongoing" to "case closed".

Having superior material properties to most other wood, teak is actually the most cultivated tropical wood type in the world. This particular teak comes from Costa Rica, a country with rigorous laws for nature protection. Approximately 35% of nature is under protection in 32 national parks and 182 natural protection zones, which is more than in any other country in the world. The wood has been planted on an erosion area and grown for 22 years under the FSC-certificate in a manner supported by Rainforest Alliance. 

Twenty cubic meters of teak

As any MCM enthusiast knows there are several design and architectural cues typical to this era (e.g. circular staircase, slate floor and atrium terrace). A central cue to be added to this list is definitely a wood wall paneling typically found in houses built during this period.

A picture Pekka took a while back on a lunch break in a location here in Espoo gives you a good idea what we mean exactly. The lunch venue he was visiting is a restaurant called Keilaranta, designed by Arne Ervi in 1951. The building still has most of its original MCM interior decorations in place, including slate floors and really cool wood panel walls, made of pine. Make sure to drop for a visit if you happen to be in the area!

Arne Ervi's view on wood paneling

Back to our teak pile. It took Pekka and his dear friend Timo (who we kindly thank as he is always ready to offer a helping hand) almost two hours to pick exactly the boards they wanted from the piles of wood shown above. Pekka had actually made a deal for purchasing a total of 1.5 m3 of teak, but forgotten to consider the total weight of his purchase. So, when approximately two thirds of the wood had been loaded on the trailer the tyres started to give away under the weight. Very soon it become evident that more than one appointment was required to transport the remaining third of teak home. 

One cubic meter / approximately 650 kg of wood

At this point (like so many times before), the sound of reason (Minna) had a question: "Where exactly are we going to store a 1.5 m3 of wood?" Not being able to provide a clear answer right away, Pekka and Timo carried the teak downstairs, and placed it in the only suitable available space for long boards: right in the middle of the room, where construction guys would be working sooner or later. So not at all ideal, but at least the wood was protected from the cold winter weather. 

Conflict of interest

Being a creative character Pekka soon thought of more suitable solution. Next morning, he created a temporary wood storage on top of the rock formations underground. After a bit of sweating, the pile had once again moved to a new location. 

Temporary storage

So what have we achieved and shared with you, our dear readers? Simply put, nothing more than a series of pictures of pile of teak in four different locations. Great. It seemed much more interesting than it looks here in a written format. But after all, it is not that long time ago we told you about moving 12 tons of stone, and you are still with us. Thank you!

In future we will be writing further posts concerning utilising this wood, so stay tuned! Also please let us know if you are interested in purchasing FSC-certified teak for any of your projects here in Finland. We are more than happy recommend our source!

Oh, and let's not forget. What does Urho, our beloved sausage think of the teak pile located downstairs?

I love the color of this wood!


  1. it would nice to know the certified teakwood source : )
    ..and nice dog picture, so cute.

    1. Please drop us a mail and we'll set you up with the dealer: theolivegreenwindow@gmail.com

  2. Do you mind sharing us the cubic meter price of the teak wood you bought? And the weight of 650 kg/cm3 you mentioned above, is the wood already dried? I suppose raw teak logs/planks weights more!

    1. Hello Desperado! Thanks for asking. The pricing for the teak Tapani is importing from Costa rica can be found at his web page. (http://tiikki.com/3).

      Regarding the weight. You are correct. Raw, freshly harvested planks is the state in which the wood weights the most. When we purchased it, it had been approximately one year since it was harvested though. Since that it had been about half a year drying in Costa Rica and the other half in Finland. The volume of the teak pile was naturally measured at the deal, but for pure curiosity we also weighed every single piece afterwards. What we got was exactly 735,4kg/m3.



    2. More about the weight.. I just found a web page that says that freshly harvested teak weights 817kg/m3 and that the weight drops down to 641kg/m3 when its air dried. Based on that ours must have been about half-way-stage at the time of purchase.