Mike Siemsen's blog

Preparing for WIA 2012 - Midwest and the HTO

In a couple of weeks we will be in our booth in the Northern Kentucky Convention Center running the Hand Tool Olympics for the fifth time.

Hammer Time!

We have been making a few hammers just for fun. The heads are made from O-1 steel hack sawed, turned on the lathe and filed to shape. The eye is drilled out on a mill/drill machine, They are then heated red hot and quenched in peanut oil. After cooloing they are polished a bit so you can see then metal and then heated at the center of the head until the head and pein reach straw color and are quenched again in peanut oil. This gives the head a diferential hardening with the center being softer than the head and pein.

Under the Greenwood Tree , Hand Woodworking

Under the greenwood tree, Who loves to lie with me, And turn his merry note Unto the sweet bird's throat, (Shakespeare)

It is my never ending quest to find interesting classes that cover skills that people seek to acquire, while making something valuable to take home and treasure. I have designed a great class for green woodworking. How does one get wood from the log to a project with those beautiful, tactile, faceted, shimmering surfaces from hand planes? This „unplugged“ class will cover riving timber from the log using froes, mallets, gluts and wedges.

Second Edition of " The Tool Chest of Benjamin Seaton" available soon

Great news for those interested in tool chests and old tools!

Upcoming local woodworking events

My friends and I will be demonstrating at a few events this year. For Starters February 11th will see us at the Midwest Tool Collectors Association(mwtca­.org) meet at The Medina Ballroom in Medina, MN. The meet opens at 7:30 am with selling starting at 8:30. this is a great place to look for tools or learn about the ones you have! 500 Highway 55, Medina, MN 55340

We will be running a Hand Tool Olympics for the Minnesota Woodworkers Guild on February 22nd. Business meeting will start at 6:30 pm.

Satisfy your wife

From the 1927 book, How to Work With Tools and Wood, published by Stanley Rule and Level. This photo pretty much speaks for itself. 

There's a Hole In The Bucket! Getting Started in Woodworking With Hand Tools

Getting started in woodworking can be a bit like the the old song „There's a Hole In the Bucket“, at every turn there is an excuse or stumbling block to success until you come back to the beginning and start over with the same litany of excuses. We are here to break that cycle and help beginning woodworkers get started. We will build up our tool kit and skills as we build a pair of sawhorses. In later posts we will build a Nicholson style workbench and a tool box as we add to our skills and tools. With that old song playing in the background we will help you get past the excuses and into woodworking.

Nicholson Vise Question

I received this question from another Mike wondering about the „original style“ vise on the Nicholson Bench.

I hope this finds you doing well. I have a quick question regarding your Nicholson bench. I currently have a Nicholson which has a twin-screw vise rather than a copy of the original like you included in your bench. I've heard some pretty negative comments about the original style, but it certainly looks like it takes up less room than my twin screw, which requires 34". Would be nice to get some of that space back to make planing easier and more comfortable.

Rage Against the Machine!!

I am fairly certain that Chris Schwarz and I are Luddites! Many people mistakenly think of the Luddites as being anti-technology. What the Luddites were really striving for was the ability to retain control of the weaving industry as granted to them in the 1663 Royal Charter of the Company of Framework Knitters (stockingers).

Only 11 Months to go to WIA 2012

The adventure and fun that was WIA 2011 is behind us now. Only 11 months to go until WIA 2012 (unless they change the date!). It was great to see old friends and meet some new ones. The Hand Tool Olympics went well and was a big hit with those that competed. I want to thank my friends who helped out in the booth, Tom Howard, Steve Schwabacher, Jeff Hand, John Griffin-Wiesner, Emily Bonhan-Owen, Dean Jansa, Nick Stahlmann, Bob Rozaieski and Mark Hochstein. This is a great crew of people and I couldn't do it without them.

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