Mike Siemsen's blog

Nicholson Bench Horse

We have been busy making Windsor chairs which, as you may know, require several spindles in the back. These spindles are drawknifed and spokeshaved to shape on a shaving horse.

Gramercy Tools "Blue Moon" Saw Vise

Some things show up once in a blue moon. I ordered my saw vise from Tools For Working Wood at the WIA conference in Valley Forge in the beginning of October. Since I had ordered the vise pre-production I didn't expect it right away. On December 31st my patience was rewarded. Since there was a full moon that night, the second full moon of the month, I am calling this my “Blue Moon” saw vise. The vise comes unpainted and Joel recommends oiling and waxing it but I opted to paint mine with a Rustoleum brand hammered metal finish in dark bronze. The vise also comes unhandled, I made a quick handle out of a piece of 1/2 inch pvc pipe that I heated and flattened in my bench vise and pressed on to the saw vise. I mounted my vise onto a board and I clamp it in the bench vise when I file. I am very pleased with the way the vise looks and works, it holds the saws tightly and at 14 inches long I only have to move my 26 inch saws once. While I was waiting for my vise to show up a neighbor gave me an old Wentworth that he didn't use, you can see the two vises are related in how they work. The Wentworth was a little loose so I made a leather sleeve to mount on the back jaw which took up the slack. I just sewed a pocket in each end of the leather and slipped it over the rear jaw. Saw filing has never been so good!

A Froe For Christmas

When My 15 year old Daughter asked me what I would like for Christmas I told her I wanted a Froe. I let her know that I had won one on E-bay and that she could pay for it if that is what she wanted to give me. Being a curious child she went to her computer to find out what this thing was that her father wanted. She went to Google and typed in “Fro”. The rest of this post is her “letter” to me.

Jim Tolpin's Split Top Roubo

It is fun to see other people using the split bench top since Dean and I explored it initially back in December of 2008. Bob Lang adapted aspects of it onto his bench and Jameel from Benchcrafted has really ran with it. Here is Jim Tolpin's version.

Storage Options

There has been some recent discussion on the Old Tools Listserv about storage of tools and materials. Here are some photos of different methods I use for storage. I did not clean the shop prior to the photos so you can see real life examples. Feel free to send me photos of your storage ideas.

Workbenches and WIA

Sorry I haven't posted in so long. Since the great fun we had at WIA in St. Charles, IL I have been busy getting ready for a class here at Mike Siemsen's School of Woodworking with Garrett Hack. I just finished building two more benches today. I have also recently built a base for a vintage top and rebuilt a bench that I built over 19 years ago, lowering it to 34" from 42" and removing the Record and Emmert iron vises and fitting it with wooden vises of my own making. I hope Garrett likes working at it. It is 96 inches long.

Woodworking in America, Hand Tool Olympics. What to expect

There are six events in the upcoming Hand Tool Olympics to be held during the WIA Conference in St. Charles. I will explain the events so that you will know what to expect and you can practice if you wish. The tools pictured are not the tools you will use but are representative of them. All of the lumber used will be clear pine, no knots!

WIA Prizes

Here are pictures of some of the prizes that will be awarded to participants in the WIA Hand Tool Olympics.

Woodworking in America, Hand Tool Olympics, St. Charles, Illinois

I have been working with Glen Huey of Popular Woodworking to design a Hand Tool Olympics for WIA near Chicago. Here is the “official” press release. I hope to see you there sawing! Mike

Announcing the ‘Hand Tool Olympics’ at Woodworking in America

In sports, you need to compete against a superior player to improve your own game.

So to make you a more skilled tool user, we're holding a “Hand Tool Olympics” at our Woodworking in America conference in St. Charles, Ill., this August.

Olympic feats

I have been busy working with Glen Huey of Popular Woodworking on designing a Woodworking Olympics for the Woodworking in America Conference in St. Charles, Illinois.The conference takes place on August 14–16. We have come up with several fun events, a couple of which involve sawing. I am donating some saws so I have been busy rebuilding several handsaws to use during the competition and then award as prizes. They will be fine tuned and sharpened by Mark Harrell of TechnoPrimitives.

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