Oval slats

The name is Slats, Oval Slats.

I thought I’d explore a bit more about my pinned slat construction. This is a very minor evolution of the form, but I’m pleased with the outcome.

Things I learned:

  • You need a lot of brass rod to complete this. Each pin was 2.5” and there are 24 of them so you need five linear feet of brass! It’s a surprising amount for such a small finished piece.
  • The materials are all 1/8” thick hardwoods.
  • I wanted to bring out the contrast of the woods so I thoroughly wiped the edges with alcohol, no other finishing was done.
  • I am glossing over many things here. Definitely read about the first slat project, I went into more detail there. The power drill trick in particular is 100% necessary.

The overall layout was an easy design. The idea of the stripe just fell in my lap, but I think the overall effect was what I was looking for: simple and bold.

Maple, Walnut, Brass

The close up on the edges shows an artifact in the design. Out of habit I kerf adjusted the pieces, inkscape can introduce artifacts to paths when you do so. Unfortunately there was a small displacement on two nodes where there should have been one, as such you see small overburns on every piece. Especially noticeable on the maple.

Maple, Walnut, Brass

The contrast between the woods really jump out when viewed from an oblique angle. This would be enhanced if I were to oil the woods. I may take the time to try finishing them at some point, but for now I’m leaving it as is.

Maple, Walnut, Brass

The slats make for interesting shadow patterns inside the “box”. Is this a box? Is it a basket? I’m not sure what to call it so for now it’s oval slats.

Maple, Walnut, Brass

Final thoughts? In terms of stability, the structure is fairly sturdy. I glued the bottom run to the base and glued the pivot points of all of the top layer. When that set, all of the inherent flexibility of the structure was suppressed; the result is a rigid structure. I’m not sure I’d call it strong per se, but I don’t feel like I have to baby it either.

A plywood would probably be a stronger option but since you’re looking at edges primarily here just remember how that will affect your outcome. Painted-edge plywood could look very cool.


Stupid question: had you considered curving the slats to conform to the oval, or would that have been way too much of a pain for no real difference?


I like it, it’s one of them items that just say pick me up.


Stupid question

Not a stupid question at all! I think curving links could be really cool. I discussed a number of possibilities in my original slat post thread, here’s an excerpt:

Straight sides? Literally for squares. Curve your links. Put sharp angles on them. Make them have inner cutouts. Engrave their surfaces. Paint them.

The only thing I’ll say for curves and angles at this scale is that hardwoods will snap across their grain very easily. If you go for very wide slats it might work in hardwood, but if you want to userhin slats like these (1/8”) then you probably need to use more stable materials. Acrylic and plywood come to mind, but I’m sure there are others.


Reminds me of those wooden mats.

I think teak would be better as a bathroom floor mat.


I’ve seen roll-up door mats made of heavy rubber in the same way. On a smaller scale you could make an interesting trivet or placemat this way, hadn’t considered that.

This one is a bit cheaper, using rope instead of metal rods. But they cheated and faked the slats.


That’s a pretty cool idea. There’s definitely some potential for lasering this technique and using some sort of thread/string/monofilament as the structural element.

I love how this looks. Like all good ideas, this method is the start of an explosion of creativity using different materials, shapes and outcomes. This “seed” will grow in many different ways and I am very appreciative of your generosity. Sharing your experiences and insights is so helpful to someone like me.


@evansd2: I suppose wooden dowels in place of brass rod is not an practical option because such a small diameter dowel would be too fragile? :sunglasses:

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I love a project of slowly constructing an object out of lots of tiny pieces. I feel this needs a “construction” video with someone speaking softly in the background about the process of connecting each piece - Bob Ross style.


Hmm I bet 1/16" oak dowels would be pretty strong… I actually have some kicking around the shop in my dowel collection, I should give it a whirl when I have time. (which may be never, so if someone else wants to do it, post pics!)


Yeah…Bob Ross style or at a golf tournament. :smile:


Happy little slats?


Another really cool wooden item from you! At some point I hope you line them all up and take a group photo so we can ooh and aah all over again.


I love this design. I could use up all my scraps to make pieces for this!


Love the design! I’d probably feel I needed a solid run around the top to finish.

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I was surprised to discover I actually like the uneven look. Normally I’d be a “smooth top” sort, too.

I’m eyeing my massive scrap pile and thinking I should take a day and reduce it to a box of slats. My craft room would be ever so much neater!


Since I was working in hardwoods at this fine scale, this is not very practical. Aesthetics aside (I wanted it to be open, like crenelations), you will be crossing grain with your top oval, and that will be extremely fragile. You could stack two layers and cross them and probably get away with it, but I felt that even if I wanted to do that (which I didn’t), it would be too thick and heavy for what I was trying to do here.

If you look at the other slat project I posted (linked above), you can see that I did in fact put a solid ring on top – it’s not a bad look, just not what I was going for here.

Trust me … it’s an amazing piece … was more mentioning this weird characteristic that I have. :slight_smile:

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