Valkjärvi is a beautiful lake that still sparkles on the Karelian Isthmus, at the heart of Old Finland. Centuries ago, many small villages were built along the shore of Valkjärvi, and one of them was named Siparila. Siparila, a place of natural beauty, was surrounded by thick forests. The forests were well looked after, providing many people with their livelihoods as well as providing the village with protection. The people of Siparila were renown for their woodworking skills. They were hard-working and inventive, always ready to help each other. They worked together to build cabins, houses and manor homes. Doors were kept unlocked, and the scent of coffee and fresh pastries invited guests to drop by.
Hilmer Sojakka used to sing about the homesickness he felt for the lovely place he had to leave behind: like many other Finns, he had to evacuate the area when it became a part of Russia some 70 years ago. He left his home and his heart in the village of Siparila. Siparila Oy is named after Hilmer, my grandfather, to remind us all of the importance of home.
Juha Sojakka, Managing Director
The story of Siparila begins in the year 2003, when an ambitious young engineer buys a wood processing plant with the intention of developing Finnish wood products that will make construction work quicker and easier for Finnish builders. Finns mostly use paint and wallpaper in their interior design. When houses are built from wood, we tend to use primed cladding panels that need to be given two coats of paint at the construction site, post-installation.
Black and white are the major colour trends in décor. Many people would like to use wood in their saunas and bathrooms in particular, but cannot find smart-looking wood panelling that is suited to wetrooms. Siparila begins working with the paint company Teknos to develop a surface treatment method that retains the breathability of wood. Many trials eventually lead to the creation of the Valkovahattu (White Waxed) interior panel. The product’s innovations include its translucent white surface, as well as the use of water-soluble surface treatments that are safe for people and the environment alike. Most importantly, it allows the wood to breathe!
After many construction site visits and producing countless metres of primed cladding panels, Siparila starts to be convinced that the paint finish of cladding panels used in construction could be pre-applied at the factory. This would make the builders’ work quicker and save on costs. It would also make it easier to build with wood during the winter, as the paint finish would protect the wood during its exposure to extreme cold. Siparila believes that the builders of the future will buy pre-treated wood and is the first company in Finland to invest in specialist production machinery dedicated to pre-finishing wood products.
Nailheads have the people of Siparila scratching their heads. Visible nailheads let water and impurities into the wood, damaging it. Siparila’s innovators sit down to redesign their wood panels. The blade department starts sharpening its blades as Siparila works feverishly to develop a new panel with a concealed mounting system. This leads to the Topcoat® cladding panel, which provides a nail-free wooden surface that has been given two layers of topcoat and therefore needs no further treatment on-site after installation. The innovation is granted utility model protection.
Siparila’s management realises that the company’s personnel is its most valuable resource. Work methods are completely overhauled, increasing the opportunities for personnel to influence their own work. Staff become involved in improving customer service and productivity, as well as the corporate culture as a whole. Siparila’s workers start operating in a self-directed way, without supervision. This increases the company’s profitability, not to mention job satisfaction among personnel. In the spring of 2010, Siparila receives an Honourable Mention for Productivity from Finland’s labour market organisations.
Siparila undergoes great changes. In the spring, the company boosts its competence by acquiring Parkanon Höyläämö, a wood processing company specialising in making solid wood mouldings. Its experts in wooden interior design transfer to the company, taking Siparila one step closer to its vision of manufacturing high-quality, unique wood products.
In the same year, Incap Furniture, a Northern Ostrobothnian company, falls into difficulties due to the recession. A plant owned by the company in Haapavesi splits off and joins the Siparila family. Siparila’s expertise now extends beyond cladding and interior panels to mouldings and solid-wood furniture. For the next two years, Siparila will have the honour of manufacturing beds for the world’s largest furniture retailer, IKEA.
The new pre-painted cladding panel with concealed mounting causes confusion on construction sites. To speed up sales, Siparila starts offering Topcoat® cladding with installation. Builders trained by Siparila travel all around Finland to install façades that are resistant to all sorts of extreme weather. In the next few years, they will climb up the Haltia Nature Centre and other buildings with Topcoat® panels under their arms.
Siparila’s hard-working professionals in wooden interior design, based in Parkano, believe in the future of wood as an interior design material.
Two Finnish family businesses, Siparila and Isku, realise that most of the terrace furniture Finns are buying is manufactured abroad. They have the idea of developing garden furniture designed in Finland and manufactured locally from local wood. Designer Janne Tyynismaa is tasked with the assignment, and already by the summer of 2013 Isku is proud to be selling 100% Finnish garden furniture
Nearly 100 wood industry professionals in Vaajakoski, Parkano and Haapavesi have dedicated their lives to Finnish wood in order to become better informed about the properties of the renewable natural material, in real depth, and to facilitate its varied use in construction and décor. Experienced masters in blade technology, planing and surface treatments train young apprentices daily in the secrets of wood and in upholding the Finnish tradition of wood use. Siparila’s roots lie in its Finnish history and the company is still 100% Finnish.