If there is one thing my Dad loves it is tools. Walk into his shop and you are guaranteed to find any tool to suit your need. This was great growing up because it enabled me to build, and bring things from my imagination into reality, whether that be a deck chair, a new handle for a knife, or even helping my Dad restore a 1948 Massey-Ferguson Tractor. This was incredibly empowering and has meant that I have always valued working with my hands, and hence the love for quality tools has been passed on another generation. I see tools as objects that enable me to be a creative force, they bring my theory into reality and force me to problem solve in a way that can’t be taught in a school. You may be wondering where I am going with this, and honestly I’m not entirely sure either but I will attempt to reign in my thoughts and tell you why I am gushing about tools in this blog.
The Valley crew down here at Kalu Yala recently acquired a brand new Stihl 260 chainsaw with a 20 inch bar. For this I must give my repeated thanks to the staff at Kalu Yala who made this all possible! Being the first person to work with the saw I was immediately impressed. The 50.2 cc engine and 20 inch bar are more than enough to meet any needs we are likely to have out it the valley. Additionally Stihl is a brand the is recognized internationally for being both durable and extremely reliable, so it will continue to serve our community well into the future.
One of our biggest needs out at base camp right now is more seating, and thankfully the chainsaw is a very versatile tool and to this end I was able to put the saw to its first use. To create benches I relied on a cutting technique known as ripping and was able to create several rough cut boards to be used as benches, and two that have been used to create some signs around the camp (Where the saw came in handy again to carve out the letters into the sign). Although my first few cuts were not the nicest looking I hope to continue to improve my technique and teach others so that we may eventually be able to make some rough cut dimensional lumber for use around the camp. One important thing for myself and the directors was that we avoid, as much as possible, cutting down living trees to meet our needs. Thankfully we have been able to salvage a variety of old Tropical Hardwoods that have been felled by some of the local Campesino’s and the wood those salvaged trees provided should meet our needs for a long time to come. This takes me back to another lesson my Dad taught me, tools require you to be responsible. I mean those both in terms of safety and maintenance, but also in regards to how you go about using that tool in the world. If we are careful this chainsaw can be a tool that allows us to manage the forests on our property in an ecologically responsible manner that still allows us to provide timber products to suit our needs, but we must be careful not to abuse this responsibility as the state of our forested lands will reflect the state of our community.