When I got back from my 11th trip to Lao, in early June 2015, I discovered that Thip was busy employing some of our family members in the making of an outdoor Thai kitchen at Bann Nah. They all joked about how they were doing this while I was away so I couldn’t shoot the idea down, ahead of time. Although it was a joke, like a smile, I could interpret what I heard in a number of ways. I think there was some truth to that joke.
Anyway, I thought it was a good idea, actually. Soon, the family will be spending large portions of the day at 9 Rai, at the beginning of the rice planting season, and will need to have a place to prepare food, protected from the rain and sun.
While three or four family members helped Thip put the kitchen together, our workers Lott and Naht had finished the interior wall and ceiling supports and were ready to nail-gun in the tongue and groove teak slats I had stained twice, glossy.
I showed Sam Lott and Sam Naht how I basically wanted the pieces to go. There is a technique to laying in teak slats which I do not profess to know, but which probably builds on the fact that there is both light and dark areas to teak. In my mind, the goal is ideally to have transitions from light to dark go more or less seamlessly. That is, for instance, a slat with a dark center and light edges matched next to another slat that is more or less light or also has light edges. When nailing one slat next to another on the non-grooved edge, you want to ideally match the design of the board you’re up against. Another important consideration is: you don’t want too much repetition of the same kind of board in one spot. You want to spread the light and dark wood out more or less evenly.
(see the gap gay [tokay] that has already moved in?)
Work like this requires a good eye for design which, in my experience, most people do not have. So, I worked with the guys when they first started working on the ceiling, to make sure they had understood what I wanted. They caught on quickly and did a pretty good job.