Woodcraft in the Philipines #2: Workshops in the Philippines

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Blog entry by kiwi1969 posted 03-25-2009 07:57 AM 4014 reads 1 time favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Carving in the Philippines Part 2 of Woodcraft in the Philipines series Part 3: Logging »

Most people assume that workshops in Asia are pretty primitive, and for the most part they are absolutely right. The local carpenter is a real jack of all trades by necessity, especially in the provinces where retail stores as we know them don,t exist. Local customers place their orders at the workshop which is usually tacked on to the front of a house or some other structure. Anything is available from architectural to furnishings, and despite the primitive conditions of some shops, is of a sufficiently good quality to meet the needs of the client. In fact some of it is simply stunning. I found this video on an expats blog site here
The workshops are alot like the ones we see in museum villages and i,m sure Roy Underhill would feel right at home here, but perhaps Norm Abram might struggle with tools like this.The saws not running if you were wondering Photobucket
In cities like Cebu it,s a different story. Cebu is the centre of the export furniture industry and has many high tech factories contracted to European and American customers, Ethan Allen for example, has a plant here. These facilities are well gaurded and rarely signposted, visits are by apointment only and industrial spying is a fact of life. If you want to see furniture that blows your socks off then Cebu furniture show is must see. Manila runs second to Cebu and this is where the picture below was taken. This is where I worked for three years, it must have been a monday morning as it wasn,t always this tidy!
Working here does have it,s perks.
Stay tunned for part three.

-- if the hand is not working it is not a pure hand

10 comments so far

View daltxguy's profile


1373 posts in 3909 days

#1 posted 03-25-2009 10:26 AM

Very cool. Thanks for sharing that. Nothing worse than having a chicken run across your freshly finished table – well, almost.

-- If you can't joint it, bead it!

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3817 days

#2 posted 03-25-2009 01:38 PM

Thanks for the post, Daryl. That is certainly an interesting shop in the video.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View woodworm's profile


14468 posts in 3585 days

#3 posted 03-25-2009 01:48 PM

Thanks for sharing the video and photos with us.

The video I watched would make me question my self…”am I comfortable working wood in that enviroment as compared to my present small shop? When I said comfortable I mean it is in real situation I am having now. Today I may be turning a bed post, and when I wake up the next morning I may have only an empty hut, thus I got to close shop! LOL….

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 4309 days

#4 posted 03-25-2009 05:04 PM

Very interesting video. Talk about low overhead. I do like the idea of a wall free shop.

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4094 days

#5 posted 03-25-2009 06:35 PM

Pretty amazing insight to how others do it.

Really appreciate the post.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View manilaboy's profile


177 posts in 3930 days

#6 posted 03-26-2009 03:04 AM

And you guys think you do not have enough clamps? Just look at the one chiselling a mortise on a wokrpiece held between his bare feet.

daltxguy – a chicken running around will always be tolerated. Cockfighting is the number one sport in the country. And these guys are very passionate about it. They will bet a major portion of their hard earned wages in jobs like these on a cockfight. To them, it is well worth it. It relieves them of the stress of the daily rigors of life.

Dennis – Low overhead? Low revenue also. The man taking the video says the price of the door is Pesos 7,000. At current exchange rates, that is just a little under US$150.

Keep them coming Daryl. I love to see/hear insights and ideas of the country from an independent point of view.


-- "Real jocks do it on a bench"

View peruturner's profile


317 posts in 3357 days

#7 posted 03-26-2009 04:44 AM

That is the way here in peru guys work I se it every day, if you gys care enter this place and see how is the work(turning)in the jungle of peru
go to the shop and see all of it ,also the fantastic woods there

View kiwi1969's profile


608 posts in 3437 days

#8 posted 03-26-2009 08:55 AM

Peruturner Thats a great site. I wish people in the Philipines were that responsible when it comes to managing their natural resources.
I am quite happy in a primitive shop but I would add a floor and evict the chickens! An open shop is ok in this climate and in the province they all know each other anyway so security isn,t really an issue. It is fascinating to me to see how others do it but I do believe if you gave these guys the chance to have a shop like the ones featured on this site they would jump at it.
Glad you all enjoyed the post.

Manilaboy I,ve seen a cockfight near lake Taal and it,s intense, noisy and confusing and I don,t recomend any foreigner go to one without a trusted guide. It,s always risky commenting on someone elses country so if any offence is caused I apologize in advance, feel free to correct me if I make a mistake.

-- if the hand is not working it is not a pure hand

View manilaboy's profile


177 posts in 3930 days

#9 posted 03-26-2009 11:45 AM


Don’t worry about me. I don’t get offended by other people’s opinion of how we are here in the Philippines. That’s why I prefer to hear/read/see an outsider’s view, I can readily reason why we do it our way. I will never say you are wrong. I will just say why it is so in the Philippines.

I can understand your view of a cockfight/cockpit. But it is the only place in the country that a politician can be trusted. You name it. Congressmen, governors, mayors. You can find them there. And those birds are no chickens when they fight.

-- "Real jocks do it on a bench"

View Don Newton's profile

Don Newton

716 posts in 3613 days

#10 posted 03-27-2009 04:49 AM

Holy Crap! That was very enlightening. How about a show of hands from all of you Lumberjocks out there who would finish their furniture projects outdoors? This is definately what this site is all about….sharing and seeing how others do it. Thanks

-- Don, Pittsburgh

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