Counting our donation of nearly half of our original 17 rai of farmland to our temple for the building of the chedi (stuppa); then moving out to the remaining 9 rai and putting a dirt pad down, the Bann Nah project has been nearly three years in the making. Whenever it is referenced, however, most people consider it’s only been two years underway because that’s when construction of the house began.
Well, the stairs alone have taken a year to complete. Of course, our workers worked on other things in tandem with the stairs and also took a good number of lengthy breaks to do other things like tend to their harvests, work in and for the temple, etc. Even so, the stairs have taken a long time to get done. I’ve posted a little bit of the progression first starting with stairs pad; the stairs roof; stringer and tred; and finalizing the tred.
(Thip is ecstatic)
Please don’t think I’m complaining. As I’ve explained before, the stairs have turned out far better than I ever imagined they would. Moreover, they have become a major stylistic element to the whole mix; a dominant, beautiful element for sure.
And even though they are not completely done, they are basically finished except for the bottom concrete step and some final finishing with wood preservative, filler, sanding and stain.
The stairs are made up of about four different types of wood, most notably teak (mai sak), mai deng and pra doo -- all hard woods. Here are some details on the woods used the most:
Tree Latin Name: Tectona grandis
Local Lao/Thai name: Mai Sak
Trade name: Teak
Particularly valued for its durability, abundance of oil, and water resistance. It is used for boat building, exterior construction, interior walls and ceilings of cabins and temples, veneer, furniture, carving, turnings, and usually small wood projects.
Tree Latin Name: Xylia xylocarpa
Thai name: mai daeng
Trade Name: Pyinkado
Even though a direct translation would work out as 'red wood' it isn't, neither is it rosewood. Pyinkado is actually the Burmese trade name but it covers all wood in Lao and Thai. It is a VERY durable and tough wood which has twice the hardness of teak. Used for railway sleepers, piers and other sub-aqua purposes (15 years life untreated) also excellent flooring. With these properties it is also very heavy when green over 1000kg per Cu meter and also hard to work. It has a very decorative pink-red in color when newly cut, but deepens with age.
Tree Latin Name: Pterocarpus indicus
Thai name: mai doo
Trade Name: Narra
A beauty wood used mainly for furniture, windows and doors but also used for instruments. An open grain with distinctive scent when working -- relatively hard and termite resistant; red-orange in color, with the grain close to the exterior being blond.
A list of available wood types in Thailand, with their Thai, trade and Latin names:
Mai sisiet nua = Akazie (Acacia catechu)
Mai makha = Monkey Pod Tree (Afzelia xylocarpa)
Gaang luang = Coffin Wood (Albizia chinensis)
Mai krabak yai = Krabak (Anisoptera costata)
Mai saake = Brotfrucht (Artocarpus communis)
Mai kanun = Jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus)
Mai ngiu = Flamboyant / Flame of the Forest (Bombax ceiba)
Mai chayapruek = Laburnum (Cassia fistula)
Mai ma prao = Kokos (Cocos nucifera)
Mai daang = Rosenholz (Dalbergia parviflora)
Mai ma klua = Ebenholz (Diospyros mollis)
Mai yang = Yang / Gardschan Balsam (Dipterocarpus)
Mai yukalip = Eukalyptus (Eucalyptus sp)
Mai ni krot = Banyan / Feigenbaum (Ficus bengalensis)
Mai dton bo = Bodhibaum / Feige (Ficus religiosa)
Mai para = Gummibaum / Rubber wood (Hevea brasiliensis)
Mai takhien = Takhien (Hopea odorata)
Mai tong bung = Kempas (Koompassia)
Mai ma muang = Mango (Mangifera caloneura)
Mai champa = Magnolie (Michelia champaca)
Mai dton son = Pinie (Pinus kesiya, merkusii)
Mai pradu = Nara Wood (Pterocarpus indicus)
Mai ching chun = Siamese Rosewood (Pterocarpus macrocarpus)
Mai gong gang = Mangrove (Rhizophora mucronata)
Mai cham churee - Chamchuree (Samanea samana)
Mai daang = Burmesischer Sal Baum (Shorea obtusa)
Mai rang = Thai Sal Baum (Shorea siamensis)
Mai gong gang = Mangrove (Sonneratia sp)
Mai makam = Tamarind (Tamarindus indica)
Mai sak = Teak (Tectona grandis)
Mai daeng = Ironwood (Xylia xylocarpa)