Sunday, November 16, 2014

Rabbit, rebate, rabbet

The toolworks on the title is because I want, eventually, to make tools.

Well, to be more precise, I want to have a life where I am the most radically disconnected of the world in terms of materials and energy that's feasible to have an elegant life. You know, elegant as in Einstein's equations.

It is easy to be an anarchist when you can grab your gigantic car, go to the next shop, buy some lie nielsen tools and then back to your sofa and gigantic TV. I wonder if the cars get bigger in america to fit the TVs or is it the other way around.

For those of you who don't know,  90% of the world doesn't have car, tv or a lie nielsen shop around the corner. Let's forget the 50% who lives in war or ebola countries, and that leaves us with shit loads of people poor and with no tools. On top of that, during the good old times of the colonies, british guys went there, took the wood, and left shitty governments and few guys dead. Maybe they took the tea too.

So, I don't want no anarchist tool shite, I want an "free association of producers where you never treat your fellow only as means" tool chest. Bear with me a bit, the picture comes.

The idea of development as we get in southamerica, in Chile to be precise, comes directly from USA like our m&m's.  As Harry Truman rightly put it, we are consumers, and they will help us to consume our way out of poverty. Don't worry if you voted for going another way, we will kill your people and make them stupid and afraid in order to convince you that's the right choice.

And so it happend and Chile became the North Korea of neoliberalism, and health sucks, education sucks, and worst of all, people are retard.

Eventually, the same happened in the whole world by the hand of Thatcher, Reagan, and the IMF. Nowadays we call it austerity.

Where was I? Hating the Chicago school of economics for making the world as stupid as in the middle ages. I mean, we used to have science and don't believe in god, but when they told us about the shitty hand of the market and the rational agents, we all said Amen.

I escaped from Chile because I wanted to live in a democratic country. You know, all that crazy shit of health insurance, pensions and equal rights. Holland was a cool place, but IMF is stronger. Europe nowadays is pretty much dead.

So back to Chile.

I do not only want to build "el buen vivir" there. (That means the good living, for those monolinguals from the north.) I want to build the elegant good living. The fair good living. The beautiful good living. For me, all of these go hand in hand. Like Plato, ya know, truth, beauty, justice, bacon... all in the same plate.

And the only way to do that is with your hands, and the hands of your friends.

I used to think that learning woodworking was not enough to change the world. Of course there is plenty of shit to do still, but the fact that I am able to make boxes, and tables and tools, means that me and my friends can skip Ikea for good. It means that I can teach people, to continue working after I'm gone to Mexico. It means that if I want to build something like Tokio 1800, I don't need 3000 carpenters more, but only 2999. And now we are talking of the coolest city ever, with samurais on the street and carbon neutral. (Btw, Tokio 1800, or Edo, had one million people living there, and 3000 carpenters only. Adding the apprentices, that makes roughly one carpenter every 100 people.)

Something along those lines.

Btw, it was sunday so I made a rabbet plane:



  1. Hello,

    Don't let the silence of the internet woodworking world worry you in response to your good explanation of recent history, it's basically a collection of very right-wing people and the ones who are not, sheepish or apologists. I just want to let you know you're not alone.

    Ernest duBois

  2. Thanks a lot for your comment Ernest, it means a lot to know that.

    I saw that you are living in Holland, whereabouts? Checked that video of the timmermans shop in markeloo, beautiful. I used to live in Hengelo for a year (then back to enschede) and I guess I was once there by bike... I will definitely try to visit it next year, I'm taking the plane from Amsterdam in summer.


  3. Hi Sebastian,

    I lost track of the address here till now, it's why I didn't get back to you sooner. You really do get around, you little traveling woodworker. I am living up high in the north of Holland for 15 years now but come out of USA before than time.
    The workshop is a funny thing you know. Because it is operational and somewhat authentic is does not meet modern safety demands from institutions like government and insurance, and so it is not officially open for the people. I made it there mostly on a fluke, you will never find it advertised or promoted, not even a sign out front. In a way it makes it all the more interesting.



  4. nice to hear you back Ernest,

    Indeed I travel quite a lot, but I'm really tired of it. I want to settle down and start building things that will last.

    It's funny what you say about the workshop. We kinda had that argument with Julia before we decided to leave... it's simply too complicated to open the kind of place we want to open here, too many rules and laws. But I didn't imagined it was so bad. Underground woodworking, I like the idea.


    1. Oh you shouldn't disrepair on my account, it is a museum or at least some retired businessman's private collection. It can be visited only off the cuff, or incidentally, if you know what I mean, and is a matter of simply tracking down the man with the key.


  5. Is that a Japanese iron in your rabbet plane? cómo lo hiciste? nunca vi igual.

  6. Hola Max,

    Si, lo encontre en ebay. Check con Junji:


  7. Mil gracias! Me voy a comprar uno.

  8. The best political analysis I've read so far companero! You're right, the shit 's gonna hit the fan pretty soon. I'm a french carpenter and long time user of japanese tools. Let's keep honing our skills, learning, teaching, working, ir a por el todo!

    1. Merci bien Comapañero, and wise words.

      In a few years I could use some carpentry help, in case you are thinking of visiting the americas in the future.

      A la prochaine!