Monday, March 2, 2015


It may be a generational issue or the lack of zazen but with Julia we are already thinking of where to spend the winter of 2016.

After some thought, I think we are going to Samaipata, a small town in Bolivia near Santa Cruz. Not that I have any hope you know where Santa Cruz is (and you are forgiven, it's a horrible city), but I need it for the sake of the argument.

Samaipatan street

From Santiago, the plane to Santa Cruz costs 250usd return for two months. Then you take a taxi to Samaipata por 5usd or so. You can easily live there for those two months with 250usd. I guess you spend 100usd in heating in Santiago's winter. Food is also dearer in Chile than in Bolivia.

Samaipata is on the east side of los Andes, at tropics latitude, so the weather is lovely the whole year. Our plan is go there and Julia makes bolsitas while I make cajitas, and we sell them on the streets to the gringos. (That's little bags and little boxes btw.) Samaipata is full of gringos, and gringos have cash. They even have turkish burgers and falafel.

Cajita example. Ecuadorian top, european sides and bottom. 

Which brings me to the subject of these ramblings.

To make cajitas in Samaipata you need:

planes (3x)
hammer (2x)
chisels (10x)
hatagane (4x)
sharpening stones (4x)
files (5x)
saws (6x)
knives (3x)
lay out tools (4x)

That's pretty much what I'm using right now on my workspace. I feel that is a really complete set up at the moment, except that I'm missing another small azebiki, for the sake of it...

You can also make a gate with those tools. Or stools. Or stands for the food on the market and you can barter with the cholitas and the guy who makes the zonzos (yuca with cheese cooked over fire).  (A culinary parenthesis: if it's flat and round, it tastes good. Eg. Pizza, zonzos, sopaipillas, crepes...)

Last time I was there I had a really crapy tool selection and I kind of made a gate:

Even managed to put a tad of fancy joinery there

There is already a shoemaker on the Samaipata market so a cajitamaker would not be out of place.

What I'm trying to say is: you don't need so many tools for a two months woodworking trip. A big part of the tools I have is to condition other tools. Once you have a conditioned set of tools your needs are reduced considerably.

So, this was like some prolegomena to the immigrant's tool chest. The full version is coming soon. We are moving this month and I'm not allowed to woodwork on the other flat, so everything must be packed.


  1. I guess you'll include the axe(s) in the version then.

  2. You have a really nasty comment regime here Sebastian.

  3. Hi Don

    I need some first hand experience with them first ;) Since most of my woodworking happens at night while my neighbours are sleeping I've been drawn towards the pushing/pulling tools. I do want to learn that finishing axing that you used for that drawer, seems to be an extremely fast way to do things.

  4. From my understanding of how you work wood, an axe would be very complementary. But then I can't imagine a situation without axes.