Starting Out Naked

I don’t think there has been a better time to for someone to start wood working in over a hundred years.  At least for hand tool woodworking.  Quality tools are once again being manufactured and the internet gives us unprecedented access to used tools.  There are numerous blogs on the internet with a wealth of information.  Not so much this one, but the good ones. 🙂  Videos abound for just about any type of project you can think of and more are uploaded every day.

A round of recent comments on one of my posts set me to thinking about and re-watching one of those videos.  Well, actually three of them.  Back in August, Lost Art Press released a set of DVD’s entitled “The Naked Woodworker“.  On the DVD’s host Mike Siemsen walks the viewer thru acquiring essential tools, putting them in working order.  He then demonstrates how to use them to build a pair of saw benches and then a very functional workbench.  Taking an aspiring wood worker from naked, starting with nothing, thru their first fledgling steps on their hand tool journey.  There is an emphasis on keeping the costs low by purchasing second-hand tools and common construction materials.

The first DVD follows Mr. Siemsen as he searches thru the Mid-West Tool Collectors Association regional meeting for the tools that will be needed to get a person started.  What to look for, points of condition and the expected price point are all covered.  The newly acquired treasures are then taken back to the shop and made ready for use.  Basic maintenance, sharpening of edge tools as well as hand saws is covered.  It’s not an exhaustive dissertation on the subjects, but more than enough to get the uninitiated up and running. 

The second DVD covers the construction of saw benches and then a workbench using commonly available construction lumber that can be found at any lumber yard or big box home improvement store.  All of the construction is completed with the basic tools that were acquired and restored in the first DVD.  Mr. Siemsen also answers that age-old question, “how do you build a bench without a bench?”.  Quite handily as it turns out.  The bench built requires no vise, thus limiting the amount of initial cost in getting started.

Mr Siemsen’s down-to-earth approach and humor makes these DVD’s an absolute pleasure to watch.  I will, without hesitation, recommend this video set to anyone who is looking to get started in hand tool woodworking.  In fact it’s worth watching no matter what your experience level may be.  Naked or full clothed.  I don’t judge.

Here is a little taste.  In the video below Mike Siemsen demonstrates the various ways to use a workbench without a vise.  Be sure and watch all the way to the end.

Greg Merritt

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8 Responses to Starting Out Naked

  1. ant11sam says:

    No naked hairy bottom…. ??? 😦
    What a disappointement…. lolol

    I whatched this video some time ago. I must say I love the his sponsor! 😉

    • Greg Merritt says:

      Sorry to disappoint Antonio. Maybe next time. LOL

      There is a good bit information in the above mentioned and linked videos. I absolutely believe every woodworker can benefit from watching them.


  2. Reblogged this on Paleotool's Weblog and commented:
    “I don’t think there has been a better time to for someone to start wood working in over a hundred years. At least for hand tool woodworking.” Great information. Subscribe to Mike Siemsen’s YouTube channel to learn more.

  3. Dave G says:

    There are numerous blogs on the internet with a wealth of information. Not so much this one, but the good ones

    Hi Greg I can not agree with your comment above I think your blog is one of the most interesting and varied blogs around. Following your recommendations I have just purchased a japanese mitre square and the Gyokucho Ryoba double sided 210 mm saw which for the interest of any UK woodworkers is on offer at Rutlands for £19.75 which I thought was a very good price . I will let you know what I think when I get them

    • Greg Merritt says:

      Wow! Thanks for that David. A little self-deprecation keeps me humble.

      That is a good price on the saw. I think you will really like it and the square. I know I would be lost without both of those items in my shop. Remember my post about a light touch? Can’t wait to here your thoughts once you get a chance to use them.


  4. Deniseg says:

    Greg, I so agree with you on this being a great time to get involved in woodworking and particularly hand tool work. Mike Siemsen’s advice about wood holding on a bench without a vice (like mine) has been so helpful to me.

    Hey, did you see the Tansu in this month’s Fine Woodworking? You are a trend setter!!

  5. Reblogged this on The Madcap Woodwright and commented:
    I just discovered this blog. Very well written, and worth reading.

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