Mike Siemsen's blog

WIA- Hand Tool Olympics

If your going to WIA be sure to stop by the Hand Tool Olympics and have a go at some of the events. We are there to help with the events with services ranging from tutelage and encouragement to heckling as is warranted. Visit with members of SAPFM and view the furniture they have on display, ask them how they made it, have fun, learn things!!
Be sure to keep an eye on the Blogger's Challenge, sure they write about woodworking but where do they stand in the pantheon of heroes? There will be teams of 3 bloggers each competing for honor, dominance and plain old fun!

Building a Roubo type frame resaw

Our quest to make a frame re-saw began at the first WIA when we tried out Adam Cherubini's ver­sion. Adam's saw didn't work very well and we thought it was because the blade was too thin but we weren't sure. In making our frame re-saw or veneer saw we began with a bit of research. We looked at plates in Roubo and studied photos of saws in the Hay shop at Colonial Williamsburg, we also looked at examples of Swedish saws available in our area. The saws all seemed to be about the same size with slight variations on the hardware and handle shapes.

Des Moines Workshop

I just finished teaching a workshop for the Des Moines Woodworkers Association. What a nice group of guys and what great facilities they have access to! The Seminar room behind the Woodsmith store is fantastic as is Bob Saunders classroom space at his Prairie Rose Studio. There were eight students building a small chest with two drawers.

2011 WIA conference, save the date!

I hope to see you there competing in the Woodworking Olympics! The conference is always a good time and a good place to meet up with friends and rub shoulders with the famous and infamous!

The Woodworking in America team is proud to announce the dates for the 2011 Woodworking in America conference – September 30th – October 2nd, 2011, at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center.


Tool Tuesday: Bitstock

Our group worked together to make bitstocks John brought in a couple of old ones and we studied some photos to come up with this fairly standard design. We made them from hard maple. The body was sawn out and shaped by hand. While the body was still a rough blank we bored a 1/2 inch hole in each end , we made sure the holes were along the same axis and centered in the stock. The lower hole was made square with a mortise chisel.

WIA 2010 - Dovetails

The dovetail competition at the Hand Tool Olympics during WIA is always fun. The competitors run the gamut from skilled woodworkers to those who have never cut a dovetail before. For those who have never cut a dovetail before we guide them through making the joint and show them how it is done. For those who know how to cut dovetails we sometimes challenge them to a “throw down”, a head to head competition. These head to heads are usually accompanied with lots of humorous trash talk and posturing.

WIA Hand Tool Olympics Results

I hope that all of you that participated in the Hand Tool Olympics had a good time. We do our best to enter everything accurately. Keep in mind that this is for fun. Prizes were awarded to the winning conference attendee in each event and raffled to a conference attendee that participated in an event.
A big thank you to Bad Axe Tool Works for the donation of two tenon saws
to Lee Valley for the donation of 2 bevel up jointing planes
to Jim Bode tools for the donation of two 2101 Stanley/Yankee braces
to Ron Herman for two Crosscut and two Rip saws, nicely refurbished

See You There: WIA- Hand Tool Olympics

Six of us a getting ready to head out the door for WIA. This will be my fourth WIA and my third with the Hand Tool Olympics (HTO). The HTO has been a great way to get to meet other woodworkers from around the country and make some new friends. We always try to keep it fun and informational and we welcome those who want to lend a hand or hang out and watch after they have competed. I believe we are the only booth in the Market Place that isn't selling anything!

18th Century Chisel Making

My friend Dean Jansa has wanted some 18th century style chisels for his Seaton tool chest for sometime now. Having exhausted efforts to have others make them we decided to make them ourselves. We were able to borrow a couple of 18th century P. Law chisels for examples from our friend John Walkowiak. Our choice for material was O-1 tool steel. We purchased various sized blanks from McMaster Carr to match the 12 chisel sizes, 1/16th through 2" and a 1 1/4" #3 sweep gouge. Since we were able to get four chisels from a blank we invited two other guys to join us, Tom Howard and Steve Schwabacher. We decided to meet on Tuesday nights which we have dubbed „Tool Tuesday“. We have sawed, ground, filed, hardened and tempered the steel,flattened the backs and fitted them with handles. We used the 2" wide chisel in a demo we did for the M-WTCA tool meet in Hastings, MN. It was great fun to use and it worked great!

Tuning and Using Hand Planes Class

We started out on Saturday sharpening the elusive card scraper. It is a simple tool but getting it to work correctly with out help is difficult at best. All seven students were soon pulling shavings so we moved on to chisels and plane irons getting them sharp and removing some of the mystery of sharpening. I cannot say enough about how important the skill of sharpening is in woodworking, it is truly a „gateway skill“, you will not advance far in the craft without it. After munching some sandwiches for lunch we tuned some bench planes and went over what to look for when acquiring a plane.

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