Sunday, August 30, 2015

Smart Gal

Sunday night ideological propaganda. Or perhaps a reasonable gal talking about the world.

Make some tea, invite a friend to your couch, and enjoy. Not the truth in the form of hip-hop, but the truth nevertheless.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Open Source Forge

Heads up for my man Mark there in the north, he just sent me pictures of his forge in the making. I love the art...
 south elevation

 east elevation


 south at top, 1/4 " = 1 ft. or shaku

 roof structure
​layout of tools, doors, and shoji; west room changeable except sen platform is more certain.

Thanks Mark, this is truly a great gift to all of us. 

Monday, August 24, 2015

That was it

So, tomorrow I leave to Santiago to take care of my gaggia, make the bag for europe and prepare the last batch of chilenojapanese sharpeners. Next class is 12th, 13th and 14th of september, again in Santiago. Next week we meet again for Sergio's last class and doing some more joints with Pablo and Keiran.

Let's start with a video:

The saw is a bit ticker at the beginning, so when you are way into the cut you cannot use the full length, so it's not an improper technique of the fellow there.

Yesterday we were looking for stuff in the flea market, and arrive home around 2pm. It was time to lay out some between centres distances.

It took me a lot head scratching, but actually I didn't need to put the beams like that, I could have just measured with a plumb bob and the line. We checked with H1 and looked good if a tad short. I can make another joint at the end later, nay bother now.

The measurements. From centre to centre on the horizontal plane.

 Today we marked the shoulders for the tenons. Again, pure centre line

 Not so precise but I guess good genug.

 And then the fast part, chop away what's not a horse.

 Keiran left at noon. Now I think I take a small nap and finish the second and third shoulder, try to finish at least this tomorrow.

Considering that there was the biggest storm in the last 40 years during this month, and spend like a week cleaning the mess, I guess it went kinda fast. Last week I was already knackered, today I fucked my leg for not stretchting before work. I want to arrive to santiago and just sit and fix my coffee machine, not see wood for a few days. Timber framing really wears you out, and you need to work with more people, it's not something you can properly do alone. In average, each component of the joints took one day to make. The scarf joint 3 days to cut and 1 more to pare. We spent a few days just squaring some of the wood. No electricity was used save for the speakers. Cutting the mortice with a brace is a waste of time, chisel is way faster.

That's pretty much all. Almost a month in Valpo with dogs, hills, wine and woodworking. And lots of friendship.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Saturday's Asado

Very typically chilean: eat meat and drink wine.

But friday night is sharpening night in valpo. French iron, argentinean stone and kiwi hands.

The stone has 2 grits along the length, on part cuts fast and the other slow.

Ok, this morning we started sharpening, because sharpening is the beginning of everything in life. That's 3 sharpeners in a row.

A bit later, the fire was on.

And the dogs working hard as usual. They played with me in the morning and remain tired for the rest of the day. Me too.

Morticing in the smoke, the best way ever to mortice.

 Our good friends vino, papas y tomate.

And western plane being used a la japanese but the other way around.

I put the luthier to make timber framing. At my PhD defense one of the professors said that the most important part of being a teacher is to push people out of their comfort zone. I dig that idea, that's the only way you learn, when you are rambling unknown roads.

 And Sergio to make a tenon (Pablo was doing the mortice, it was hilarious to hear them fight for whom screw it up first)

 That's Sergio, on the back Juan Manuel, and you already know the kiwi

 My work was at the bbq.


And food for the doggies, burning the fat over there.

And wetting the planes and squares. Don't ya love the mix of planes, tools, glasses and people?

 It was a good fun, that much is true.

 Pablo took a picture. I don't like pictures of myself but what the heck, we are making history so let's take a few.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

For Love or Money

"L'amour est a reinventer, on le sait." 

The title is stolen from an essay of Michael Hardt that starts like this:
The expression “for love or money” is generally used to indicate the two extremes, which cover between them the entire spectrum. “I wouldn’t do that for love or money” means I wouldn’t do that in exchange for anything. It can be interesting, however, to read that or as marking not an opposition but a common function that love and money share, somewhat like the or in Spinoza’s famous phrase “deus sive natura,” which claims polemically that god and nature are two names for substance itself. I do not intend to propose that love and money are the same thing, but rather, that putting them in relation can reveal the power to create and maintain social bonds that is proper to money and can (and perhaps should) be also the vocation of love. Posing love in relation to the power of money can help us construct a properly political concept of love.
We lack such a political concept of love, in my view, and our contemporary political vocabulary suffers from its absence. A political concept of love would, at the minimum, reorient our political discourses and practices in two important ways. First, it would challenge conventional conceptions that separate the logic of political interests from our affective lives and opposes political reason to the passions. A political concept of love would have to deploy at once reason and passion. Second, love is a motor of both transformation and duration or continuity. We lose ourselves in love and open the possibility of a new world, but at the same time love constitutes powerful bonds that last.
I was reading a post about crafts and society and this phrase struck as totally, completely wrong. "At this point in time we are faced with the fact that we may only have a one method to make change and it's through where we put our money." I think it was the god young Oscar Wilde who said you cannot fix poverty with the same means that create it. If it wasn't he, tan pis.

It doesn't really matter where you put your money, it eventually spills to BP and BP spills it back at you.

(I do love how ideology at its purest appears here, by recourse to the facts.  "Sie wissen das nicht, aber sie tun es," they know it not, but they they do it, said my german friend. )

Then I was reading yet again a very poignant text on the extinction of crafts in Japan:

I like to re-read things I like, since I always find mistakes on the text that the previous time I didn't see because I was too thrilled by the content. The mistaken sentence was this: "There were always cold, hard economic reasons for the extinction of a trade." Then he goes to argue what happened with natural resources and labour, and finish with: "But the most basic reason was that demand for the hand-made items produced by these cottage industries had declined sharply."

It's true that there are cold, hard, very real economic reasons for the extinction of manual work around the globe. But those cold, hard and phallic economic reasons are put forward with a big shovel of politics and violence. Political violence as in Greece, or pure violence as in Chile 50 years ago. Oh wait, didn't they throw something like a nuclear bomb in Japan before transforming its means of production from hand made to machine made? I may be watching too much anime and started to see violence in every economic transformation I find —my bad.

And now for the Gonzalez turn: saw sharpening was always a labour of love. If you don't believe me, sit there and learn it. Without love you end up nowhere. Saw sharpening as a technique is not coherent with global capitalism because is a work of love. And if you want to keep saw sharpening alive you need to simply restructure the whole of the global economy. Besides that, you would be stopping more global warming — but that's secondary, what's important is that we have sharp saws, and that our children have sharp saws, and the children of those children have them too. If they also have an environment and wood to cut, it wouldn't hurt.

Somewhere further along the article Hardt says that love should be able to organise social relationships. Ya know, instead of working for wages working for love. Instead of paying teachers to develop a curriculum in a university and teach it, make it ourselves and teach it ourselves, not for money but for love. You see where I'm going no?

Sounds crazy, I know, but the only crazy ones are the ones thinking that a steady growth and GPD indices will solve all our problems. They have been not only proven wrong by history and the environment — they didn't solve any problem and destroyed the biological support for pretty much life on earth in the attempt, in just a few years —, they have also showed themselves stupid, mad and selfish.

Love is to be reinvented, said Rimbaud. And one knows it.

A gut feeling that is, but a truth nevertheless.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Center lining

Today I was by myself here. Not so easy to move the 6 meter beam and separate the members for another perhaps final paring. I found out that the book didn't include the taper for the wedge that helps separate the pieces. Also moved the pillars, A3 and A2 and started marking things.

 I like to look at this joint.

There was a particularly interesting moment today when I was thinking of how to compensate for the difference in height that the pieces have.

We squared one, the other remains twisted and a bit cupped.

You can see that at the end of the 6m the piece goes a bit to the left. It also goes up and down a fair bit. But I don't mind, I just make a shouldered tenon in 3 direction, and most importantly, I simply measure from the centre line. That way I don't care about the shape of the wood. It was real great moment.

Then I started writing names on the beams.

I did the centre line with a chalk line, It was not so bad, just very imprecise. Then started chopping that mortice. I thought of Gabe and took my shoes off. What a good feeling man. Plus you get extra focus to saw when your toes are close to moving iron.

And something I don't really like to do, I used a brace and bit to speed up the process. It's hard work, I wouldn't have thought so. The beam is a 6x6 or a bit more maybe. No idea what wood.

I started with the ryoba but was definitely not the tool for the job.

An hour later or maybe more, I had that. Then hammock. Still my arms are in pain for all the moving here and there of the beam.

It doesn't sound like much work for a day but it's finally starting to come together. After having done the spline, things seem to go faster now. I was thinking of using a thinner secondary horizontal beam, and use some of that left over wood to make the fence. I also think I need 2 more pairs of saw horses, so perhaps tomorrow I do that. Need to get food and a haircut though, so the morning will be in the city. 

Sunday, August 16, 2015

5 days

I was just taking sun in the hammock, last rays of sunday sun. Slightly coldish and hang-overish sunday. Yesterday we danced, quite a lot, and drunk no less. Feels like I found the city I like.

Anyway, in the hammock being lazy, thinking on the same sounds that come from both sides of the quebrada. In front, poor and dirty, they hammer and build, drink beer, have loud music. On this side, slightly less poor and dirty, we (or rather Keiran as I'm catching sun) hammer and build, have loud music. Chisels cutting wood on both sides, men building shit on both sides. Just need to bring a sharpening stone to the next hill and show em a bit of what sharp tools do.

And bring my best friend after a day of classes:

Kross golden, the closest I've found to a real ale in this forsaken country.

Anyway, this was the course yesterday, the plane day. Keiran is reading about the splice joint he's finishing now.

About the class: 4 people are not twice two, they are four. Newcomers got sharpening almost the whole morning and oldies got planes. They talked a lot, made jokes, got to know each other. They compete too. It's a complete different dynamics than just 2 guys. I like it, and think that's a really good number, so good that I actually said no to the fifth person who wanted to take the september course. Do you realise there are no saws on this picture? First rule of the saw club applies here, when not in use, they are hanging indoors. Chisels and planes are tougher, but saws need care, love and a wall.

This's the reason of the title, after 5 days of "classes" ( 3 official, one to finish a dovetailed box that's still not finished, and one day of massive planing and squaring the beams) Keiran is cutting a splice rabbeted dadoed tenoned joint, or as we like to call it here, TTsplice for obvious reasons

A few shots from the class. Pablo helping with a beam, Victor squaring a dai blank. He has serious issues with position though


Oh yeah, die Roubo, we don't really need ya.

That's the joint started.



The guy in front was also working, moving some soil around

 Azebiki rules.
 And the dogs play
 a lot

We used the saw because there was an ugly knot on top

and moar teas

Took him like 4 hours to cut half of the splice, and T's need still some paring. I didn't really do anything but just saying don't fuck it up, be careful, use a wider chisel, and played a bit with my slick, man, it's a sweet tool. Does that sound sexual? not intended.

You know, it really starts to make sense, to seem possible, to make things better on the other hill. And then the next one, and then yet another. And then you go to a bar, as we did yesterday, and the hand made bar would not be a relic from another time and another world, but something that a friend of you made last month and that you made the profile plane for it. Beer tastes better on such bars. Girls dance sexier too, and look more beautiful and poetry is written on those tables, and men have conversations, which is a dance with words where souls build each other and take each other out of the mud of poor existence. Then death comes and you are not there but the tables remain as do the books and the dancing. And a poem remains maybe, or a way of doing things. Eggplants with tomato sauce and cheese on top, as my mother used to cook.

A feeling has gotten me, and it's the feeling of no regrets. I don't miss in the slightest the money, the travels, the architecture of europe, the 8hours a day in front of a computer screen. I've got something else here, something that there was simply not possible. Like you are doing the right thing, you know? You see skills pass (or maybe been born) into another person and the confidence grow on them, and we are keeping those japanese carpenters who owned the tools before me alive, they resurrect in us and we live through them and with them, if that makes any fucking sense. And that happens here, with the beer, the music, the dirt and the dogs.