Monday, June 1, 2015

First fire

Today was a good day. Somehow, the municipality has a truck that comes every monday around and takes all your gigantic garbage for free. Everything. From trees to concrete passing by old crappy chairs.

So the house is very fast getting cleaner.

I also had my first "helper" today. Nico, the son of the girl who takes cares of my packages here in Chile and ex-neighbour, who wants to learn a bit of carpentry.

So in the morning I put him to plane some wood with the No 5. (You always need a plane you can trash, western planes are perfect for this.) I'm starting my morning grabbing one or two pieces from the pile there, and planing it clean, then taking the wood inside the house. The wood has been for several years there, just laying around, so most of it is really fucked up but some pieces are still salvageable.

This is "roble", the chilean one. So not oak, which is called encina here, but Nothofagus obliqua, a native species. It's used mostly in old houses for sills and the like.  It's a dense and hard wood, a bit like beech but with a wilder grain, perhaps reminiscent of ash. Or maybe just roble.

After the morning coffee and tacos with cheese and chili (I need to make a post of the food in Chile, I love the colours of it) we went downstairs to clean. The "closet" went out and under it a nice surprise.

Very mouldy rotten wood. It was a great idea not to put any kind of ventilation there. You can imagine the relation with my dad at the moment is a bit tense. Pretty much everything he makes is fucked up (save the stone walls) and today 2 axe handles where in the fire...

Anyway, we left that there to dry and I sent nico to the clean the roof and I took a few pictures.

After that we cut that old dry pine in the right with the big madonoko I got. It cut so well that I went to make a handle for it, it's a really really fast beast, more info will follow. (I'd love to make video to show you the speed of these things, a la tanaka, but my camera is crap for videos and Julia's ipad is coming in november with her... so we need to wait)

Around 5 we were dead tired. We spend the rest of the afternoon cutting trees to let the sun reach the house, so a lot of machete and sawing and moving around. For sure not the same kind of job I was used to in Graz.

After dinner, we went down, and made the first fire in my old house,

and decided that tomorrow I take it off and go to Santiago to buy some nice wood and see friends.

(BTW, I implicitly assume that if you read here, you also reading Jason's blog. Yesterday he nailed it and wrote the best ever intro to saw straightening, really eye opening. Give it a read, and then another one, this is very subtle stuff and you need to experiment and read, and then repeat. I'm very much looking forward to part 2  If everything goes according to the plan, by summer 2016 we will have documented the whole process of metate and the saws will start to sing again.)


  1. Hey Sebastian,
    Thanks for the links to Jason and Gabe, and thanks for the photos - I'm inspired by them, and all your weirdness.

    You might like this link:

    It's a radio program I heard. Also sent to Jason.

    I was reading the book they were talking about instead of finishing the forge plans-apologies.

    1. Today is the longest night in this side of the earth. I want to make it a post-colonial christmas in this part of the world. Ya know, eat a lot, drink a lot, and enjoy a lot with your friends. I only managed the food part and watch a movie with a friend this year.

      But a new year starts for us, days are getting longer and the earth starts to live again. You could not have chose a better day to write a Mark.

      Thanks for the present, I'm listening right now.