Sep 20, 2014

Teak slats

If you have been following the teak slat wall saga, we have some news! Since last winter the planks have been stored in a pile in the darkness of the bunker, but now finally the time has come to move forward with the project! (And if you have no idea what we are taking about please review the previous posts: 1, 2, 3.)

Again, the job was to be done in the same place than last time, the architectural wood workshop of Aalto University located close to our home.  But at the brink of the very first cut, Pekka found himself hesitating. Even if he had given some serious thought for the design, when about to slice the first perfectly beautiful, massive plank of teak his mind started to wonder: "Should I reconsider the final design once more? If I make this cut I have passed the point of no return..."

The first set ready to be processed

After these fleeting moments of hesitation, when the very final decision was made, he was ready to roll. The first thing was to push the planks through a thickness planer in order to gain geometric purity. This was followed by processing the planks with first a jointer, then a circular saw and eventually once more a thickness planer. Overall, this stage took about two working days.

Coming through!

One plank ready for jointer

Based on our calculations we needed somewhere around 160 slats to cover the 5.5 meter wall downstairs. However, to have a possibility to choose between different pieces at the installation stage, altogether around 200 slats we made. This required slicing of 21 planks of beautiful teak to slats with predetermined cross section dimensions of 22 x 30 mm.

Exactly 200 pieces

Even though the slats were planed in the previous step their edges still remained sharp. Therefore, all of them needed to be hand sanded with a 240 grit sand paper to the direction of the grain. Based on the his experimental observations Pekka had made earlier this was an adequate smoothness for this stage. After sanding, the slats were cleaned with pressured air in order to get rid or all the dust particles. Only after this, they could be treated with oil and turpentine mixture.

50% Tung oil - 50% Turpentine

The first set of 20 slats has now been treated with a mixture of Tung oil and turpentine for the first time. An unavoidable side effect is of course a horrible smell of turpentine invading also upstairs (oh well, at least it is not construction dust which would mean an extra round with a vacuum cleaner). Once the slats have dried they will be rubbed with steel wool and retreated with a few layers of pure Tung oil. The most crucial thing here is to be patient in order to allow sufficient drying time for Tung oil. But it certainly will pay off, as one day all this extensive processing will result in a stunning teak slat wall inspired by the MCM era. Great!

20 out of 200

We have also made a decision regarding the actual construction of the wall. It will be a sandwich construction of nine modules, consisting of teak slats in front, acoustic panels in the middle, backed up by sheets of plywood on the very back. This allows us to attach the slats in place with screws from behind, leaving the screw heads invisible to the eye. We have also made some research regarding the acoustic panels and have managed to find an excellent material provider from Finland. More about this very soon!

Teak slats


  1. Toivottavasti julkaisette tiikkisestä rimaseinästä kuvia. Olen jo jokusen viikon käynyt sivujanne tarkastelemassa uusien kuvien toivossa. Uskon että alakerran aulasta tulee upea kokonaisuus.

    1. Terve,

      Seuraava päivitys on työn alla. Yritämme saada julkaistua sen tämä viikon aikana!