Woodworking in Nairobi, Kenya #1: Contemplating the move and possibilities

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Blog entry by LukeCan posted 05-30-2018 03:47 PM 796 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Woodworking in Nairobi, Kenya series Part 2: Nairobi: The search begins »

For three years I’ve been trying to do woodworking with only hand tools in a 12’x12’ hot room I share the the Laundry machines and chest freezer of an Apartment in Panama city, Panama (not the Panama City in Florida). I am getting excited though because in 2 months I am moving to a hopefully bigger space. This time in Nairobi, Kenya for a two year posting as a result of my wife’s work.

The excitement comes from dream of the possibilities of living in a house (not apartment) that has a garage, and a yard. MORE SPACE!!

Imagining the possibilities has been fun. It has been tempered somewhat by the fact that Kenya is on 240V and not 110V. So are power tools an option? A thickness planer would be nice to take out some grunt work but will I be able to sell it easily when I move back home to 110V? What about my portable power tools and using them with a transformer? Are there any woodworking groups or co-ops there for sharing tools? Where I am I going to get supplies, wood etc.

There is so much additional stuff that has to get sorted before I can even get to the working wood part.

Step 1: Pack up my tools here in Panama and get them to Nairobi.
Step 2: Get to Nairobi
Step 3: Complete step 1 and 2 then figure out what to do.

3 comments so far

View metolius's profile


168 posts in 1531 days

#1 posted 05-30-2018 05:00 PM

Congratulations !

I’d be courious if Kenya wires with 2×120v + neutral or 1×240v + neutral.
If the former, as is done in the Philippines, you could split the wiring to get what you need. Otherwise a step down transformer is an easy option.

I don’t imagine you would have a hard time with getting some 240v equipment and reselling it later.

Yet, what do I know … I’ve never been south of the equator.

Discovering what the area’s resources will be and what the community can offer sounds like a great adventure.

-- derek / oregon

View JADobson's profile


1448 posts in 2911 days

#2 posted 05-30-2018 06:52 PM

I did a few google search and found a number of tool suppliers in Nairobi as well as some woodworking shops. If you have trouble finding material you may be able to get some help from those folks.

-- No craft is very far from the line beyond which is magic. -- Lord Dunsany — Instagram @grailwoodworks

View MrRon's profile


5924 posts in 4044 days

#3 posted 05-30-2018 07:27 PM

Check with the Kenya consultant if they have one in Panama; otherwise contact the one in the U.S.

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