Monday, November 23, 2015

New house

Today we signed the contract and got the keys. So we have a house. A house with no kitchen and in a very chilean state of "conservation".

When you enter you see this:

 At the left Julia's workshop

 Then the reason we like the house

 and more
 and another

 and this is from my office, on the other direction

 some sash to do eventually to replace that beautiful mdf

 The stairs. Need to change that metal handrail.

Very tall ceiling

Something Don will like to see. No portland no sir, this is real adobe over here. I think I need to repair that.

 And from downstairs. We have 4 windows in the upper floor, and 4 in the lowe floor.

 That the "ascensor cordillera" if you ever drop by here

And that's a bakery making bread with wood, the smell of fire and bread in our house is quite gezellig

 Next to the kitchen. You don't want to see the kitchen. There is no kitchen actually, we need to buy one soon.

 And the stairs going up.

There they took the moulding off or something like that, need to figure out how to repair it.

 And the hallway with all the windows. That's ceramic on the floor, over the wooden floor. Sigh.

Let's see how it develops. We need to hire a truck and move some tools, sewing machines, a couch and 2 bikes. An a dog, of course.

And sorry Gabe, I left the hammers in my Dad's place for the last carpentry class next sunday... next week they are here.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Pitufina, computers, valpo and all that

Here she is:

The new member of the family. She's still not used to see hammers or bikes or anything... had lived 5 months in a house with a woman and 4 other dogs. So we need to teach her about the world.

Next week hopefully she will be going to Valpo:

and maybe take some rest with the others perros there

 She needs lessons on french philosophy and british architecture it seems

Those were a few of the pics I took monday, tomorrow we need to go again to check another house, our landlord sounds like a dragqueen, says the house has a view. 

I've already started working, that is academic work, so I'm spending more time at the computer. This is what I'm doing:

I define an interaction matrix giving the forces between (A,B)x(A,B) and check what kind of structure appears. When there is a structure that has some functionality, bang, write paper and try to convince an experimentalist to make the experiment.

Not that you care, what's important for this blog is this:

 That's where you start. Then you file nicely to get this (red line)

 But if you are sloppy
 Or sloppy on the other direction

What I'm trying to illustrate here is how to push the file while you sharpen to keep a proper geometry on the teeth. This was one of the things difficult to explain during the class in netherlands, and I will try to explain the process more detailedly in the near future. For that class I promised the guys I was going to write a pdf with all the info I have on saw sharpening, and a bit after that Jason asked me to make a new write up on saw sharpening after all this time. My plan is to have edited by Jason and Gabe (and hopefully Mark too) so we have a "peer-reviewed" article on saw sharpening. Being close to a computer then means that I could work on this faster.

It's been almost 6 months since I was working for the last time, and something has changed in my way of working that I attribute to all the woodworking.

Before, I just sat behind the computer and spent time till I had an idea or something worked, and made lots of mistakes, debugging and rewriting since in the computer to undo things is quite easy. Not so in violin making. Each step needs to be well thought and you know what you are going to make before start making it, otherwise you waste your time. When you don't know what to do, you put the plane down and look at the problem till you understand what you need to do. I'm working now much more this way, writing code with almost no mistakes because I know what I want to do. And when I don't know I put the computer down and go make some tea.

On the other hand, if I don't plane in a few days I get angry and very stressed. I need to feel the steel cutting wood to sooth my soul.

Tomorrow we are going to see another house, hopefully this is the right one and I can finally start to build my shop. My shop.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

It's sunny here

It's sunny. That means there's fruit. That means there's juice. That means there are plenty of naps.

Actually I've been signing papers, working a bit, moving stuff from one house to the other, and in general looking for ways to start a new life here for the now 3 of us. Yes, we got a dog. More on her later.

Today was the second day of a class in Chile (no pictures sorry, too busy) and got two mails from guys in Netherlands.

One of them was Roeland from

When I knew that he was coming, and after checking the tools he made, I knew I had found a new home for one of my kanna blades I had there in Europe. It's part of my drug dealing job. The first for free and then you start charging for it, just that I forget always the second step.

Anyway, here two videos Roeland made, first a small kataba he started during the class in Friesland and then a kanna sole repair. I bet these won't be the last japanese tool related videos we will see from him.


Edit: and what he says about the kanna: Ben echt heel blij met deze (gekregen) Kanna er gaat echt een hele nieuwe wereld voor mij open ik schaaf al 28 jaar handmatig maar deze benadering is een openbaring, dat wil overigen niet zeggen dat japanse schaven beter schaven maar dat ze simpelweg op een andere manier werken. Ga me in ieder geval verdiepen in deze materie en vind het leuk om deze technieken me eigen te maken. Je kunt met een scherpe Kanna zonder veel kracht heerlijk schaven en de controle over de schaaf is zeer natuurlijk en makkelijk eigen te maken (vele malen makkelijker als het leren schaven met westerse schaaf) In mijn beleving :)

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Singing my little song

In one of his interviews, Francisco Varela, the great Chilean neurophenomenologist, says that scientists are like a modern troubadours, singing their little song from place to place and getting food and shelter for it. And so, he says, I go from country to country telling my story about how to the human mind works.

But the modern scientist goes from conference to conference by plane, stays in a good hotel, gives a 15 minutes talk, and gets drunk with taxpayers' money. And to organise that you apply for grants, you work for institutions and need to comply with several rules that you don't really agree with but say it's ok as long as I can keep doing my own little thing.

This weekend I sang my song, a song composed of shavings flying from the wood and metal vibrating to the pass of a file, in the misty flatness of northern Holland, also known as Friesland. We sharpened saws, eat bean soup, and set up and planed with some beautiful kanna.

All this was possible since Don had the great idea of making me give a course/demostratie in his workshop, and arranged everything for it to happen. We came here, got fed and had a bed to sleep in so I could sing my little song saturday in front of a few people and a dog. And we didn't get drunk with taxpayers' money nor costed 4000 euros to organise it, as the conference for the scientists costs.

That was something really funny when I was going as a student to critical philosophy school in Birkbeck, in central London. The school was 600euros or so, we had lectures the whole day in the university, and then later we hit an italian restaurant and kept talking of Derrida and Kant and their relation to Capitalism and how to overthrow it (while eating a very tasty capitalist pizza that's it.)

In that way, the explicit content of their philosophy was undermined by the material organisation of the workshop, or so I felt.

(A similar irony was at play in the Leipzig degrowth conference, where from 50 people 5 years ago the last conference was 5000 or so.)

As usual when we handtool workers meet, we talked about the lost knowledge and how the government, universities and the market are not doing anything to preserve it. Well, that knowledge was created and maintained long before universities, nation states and capitalism existed, and it was alive simply because people cared enough to teach it to others and to learn it from others. From which follows, I think quite clearly, that as long as we learn from and teach each other that knowledge will be alive. We need nothing but to meet and share what we know, and learn what we don't (and hopefully doing it in a way that doesn't destroy what we actually want to save, if you catch my drift.)

Anyway, nuf said. It took me 15000km to finish writing this post, not something I usually do. I leave you with some pictures of the workshop (of course I forgot to take pictures, was too busy checking people file. When my friend Pauli comes to Chile in 2 years I will hire her for taking analog pictures of it.)

Thanks again Don.