Update on ‘The Naked Woodworker’


“The Naked Woodworker” DVD is off to the pressing plant in Virginia, and I am uploading the massive movie files to our store’s servers as I type. So here are details on the project, when it will be available and pricing.

“The Naked Woodworker” is unlike any woodworking product I’ve worked on. It started last May when Mike Siemsen and I were talking at Handworks in Amana, Iowa. While examining his workbench there, we began throwing ideas back and forth about how to capture his bootstrapping methods and bring them to a wide audience.

The core principle: Buy a few good vintage tools, fix them up, build a sawbench and a workbench. Do it fast, well and with no machinery or woodworking power tools.

In February, John Hoffman and I drove up to Siemsen’s shop in Minnesota to film the DVD, the first for Lost Art Press. On Saturday morning we hit the Mid-West Tool Collectors Association’s regional meeting where we filmed Mike sifting through, evaluating, haggling and buying the tools we’d need. (Personal note: If you like handwork, join MWTCA. It’s inexpensive to join, and the rewards are extraordinary.)

NW_Disk1After lunch with some of Mike’s buddies, we drove to his shop and began fixing up the tools we bought. Mike rehabbed the planes, sharpened the saws and fixed up the braces – all on camera.

On the second day, Mike built a sawbench and a fully functional workbench using home-center materials. Both the sawbench and workbench are amazingly clever. You don’t need a single machine or power tool to make them. And they work incredibly well.

Mike finished up work on the bench just as his friends were showing up for his birthday party (hence the beers in the background during the final shots of the DVD). Everyone ate chili (at least, that’s what they were calling it) while sitting on the new bench and playing with the tools.

This spring, I edited the footage down to two short DVDs. One on buying and fixing tools. The other on building the sawbench and workbench. We also commissioned a very nice SketchUp drawing of the bench. And, most telling, we made a spreadsheet that details every tool, screw and stick of lumber we bought for the project. Both the SketchUp drawing and spreadsheet come with the DVDs.

We spent $571.40 for everything. Then Mike sat down and figured out what the prices would be if you paid for your tools more on the high side of things. That price: $769.40.

We hope this project will inspire new woodworkers to just dive into handwork and get started. I talked to too many people who are hesitant about where to begin, how to begin or think they have to buy every tool in the catalogs to begin. You don’t.

We also think “The Naked Woodworker” will be a great thing for experienced woodworkers who need a quick workbench and some sawbenches.

“The Naked Woodworker” will be available in August in two forms: A DVD set for $22, or a download for $20. The download will be available for international customers. We don’t know if any of our retailers will carry this product as of yet. If they pick it up for their catalogs, we’ll let you know.

Next month I’ll post some video samples from “The Naked Woodworker” so you can get a taste of the project.

— Christopher Schwarz

P.S. There is no nudity in “The Naked Woodworker.” Thank goodness.

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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14 Responses to Update on ‘The Naked Woodworker’

  1. pathdoc70 says:

    Looking forward to another great LAP production. Thanks. Mike O’Brien

    Sent from Mike’s iPad mini


  2. Great project, Chris!

  3. I think this is a great idea. Goes right along with the concept of the Anarchist Tool Chest, it seems.


  4. I’m shocked and pleased that these DVDs are going to be so inexpensive! Chalk it up to more proof that Lost Art is a crusader for hand work.

    CS: From my previous posts & questions on Twitter, you know I can’t wait to get my hands on this. Another question, though: will there be a bundle price for purchasing the DVDs *and* a download as well? I’d like to get going on these projects as soon as possible (via download) but I’d like a physical copy of the DVDs as well. Also, is there a chance to pre-purchase both?

    Can’t wait for the preview videos and the announcement of the release date!

  5. tropicalww says:

    No nudity? So the whole project is made with dressed lumber?

  6. Looking forward to seeing the DVD, Chris.

    You might consider, strictly for promotional purposes, sending Mike over to Toledo for a day so he could spend some time with David Picciuto? Who wouldn’t want to watch an episode of the Naked & Drunken Woodworkers?

    I… hmmm… on second thought, maybe not such a good idea.

  7. Where’s the pre-order link? Please, take my money.

  8. toolnut says:

    I think I’m looking forward to the haggling part of the DVD more than the bench build (see “Life of Brian” , or do you say Bwian) and since I’m a numbers guy you’ve got me curious…$769.40. That is very precise for an estimate. Is that the total of the asking prices on the tools before the haggling?

    • Well we could have rounded things off, but we didn’t.

      The “high” price is based on prices Mike and I have seen for items on eBay and elsewhere. MWTCA prices on user stuff are almost always less. The “change” is a result of us using precise figures for buying screws and glue.

  9. Excellent! This is just what I need – advice on what tools to buy and two projects, for a super-reasonable $22. Can’t wait to get this.

  10. As a member of the Minnesota Woodworkers Guild I’m happy you have included a Midwesterner. LOL! Mike offers weekend classes in MIN/St. Paul area. I’m pretty far south of him but this sparks me to maybe getting up there and seeing him to get some first hands on mentoring. If I cannot, I can add the DVD to my collection of heroes.

  11. Jeff Faulk says:

    Do there happen to be subtitles, by any chance? Would hate to miss out on something like this 🙂

  12. Excellent hope it has details of those great saw horses I noticed a few blogs ago.

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