‘The Naked Woodworker’ Now Available

NW_wrap4_1024x1024The Naked Woodworker” DVD and downloadable video are now available in the Lost Art Press store.

The video, hosted by Mike Siemsen, is an introduction to the world of hand-tool woodworking that begins with a tool kit comprised of only a 5-gallon bucket. It ends with completing a workbench that will allow you to start building serious furniture.

While that might sound like a long journey, it’s not. Siemsen, a life-long professional woodworker, has distilled the process of purchasing, setting up and using a basic set of hand tools down its most important essence. And he doesn’t waste a second of time or a penny of money in the process.

Here’s an overview of the 174-minute video:

1. Buy the tools. We followed Siemsen to a regional meeting of the Mid-West Tool Collectors Association where we picked through piles of tools all morning to separate the good user tools from the stuff that should be left to rust. Armed with a wad of $200 in small bills, Siemsen negotiated with the dealers to assemble a useable set of tools, everything from the saws and planes, to the files and saw vise needed to sharpen them up.

These principles can be used to buy tools online or at an antique mall.

2. Fix the tools. If you buy the right tools, they don’t require too much repair. But every old tool needs a little setting up. Using home-center equipment (a grinder, belt-sander paper and carpet tape), Mike fixed up and sharpened all the tools. He set up the planes. He sharpened the saws (and repaired their totes). And he got all the Auger bits in good order.

3. Build a sawbench. Before you can build a bench, you need a pair of sawbenches. So Siemens shows how to build a sawbench using nothing more than the basic tools, construction lumber and a couple of buckets.

4. Build a workbench. With the sawbenches complete, Siemsen builds a full-size Nicholson-style workbench using more construction lumber and the same set of tools. You don’t a single machine to make this bench, just Siemsen’s clever ideas and the tools you’ve fixed up.

The bench is designed to do all the tasks required in modern workshop, and it doesn’t take a month of Sundays to build. Siemsen built the entire bench – start to finish – in a single day. It might take you a few weekends.

The biggest surprise of the entire “Naked Woodworker” project is how affordable everything is. Siemsen spent a little more than $571 for everything, from the tools to the wood to the glue and screws. But he’s a good negotiator. We estimate almost anyone could do the same thing for no more than $760.


In addition to the two videos, “The Naked Woodworker” includes a detailed SketchUp drawing of the bench and a spreadsheet that details every tool, screw and stick of lumber purchased for the project.

This product is available in two formats: A two-DVD set that ships from our warehouse in Indiana for $22, or in digital format for $20. Customers who purchase the DVD will be able to download SketchUp drawing of the bench, a pdf of all the tools and materials used in the video after checkout.

Customers who purchase the digital product will download three documents: a SketchUp drawing of the bench, a pdf of all the tools and materials used in the video and login credentials to be able to watch the video on any device and download it onto any device – all in HD.

You can order “The Naked Woodworker” in our store.

— Christopher Schwarz

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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33 Responses to ‘The Naked Woodworker’ Now Available

  1. Jason says:

    I’m watching Part 1 right now (just as the post came through). Listening to Mike is like visiting home (I moved to PA from MN 3 years ago). Great stuff, very informative and makes shopping the tool shows feel more doable.

  2. lashomb says:

    I would guess the HD download is 720p? And it was shot at that or higher?

    • lashomb says:

      Hmm, purchased the download option. Received a link to download the support materials, but not the videos.

      • lashomb says:

        Nevermind, I didn’t read clearly enough. The PDF with creds is inside that small download. Got it.

  3. Bob Jones says:

    Now if you could just make this DVD the first thing a future woodworker sees when he walks into a home center you may change DIY forever.

  4. Watched through today. I’ve actually gone through most of this process over the last few months, but still learned a lot. If nothing else, learning that my eclipse honing guide has a straight side and a curved side was worth the $20. Mind blown.

  5. Jonathan says:


    You usually offer free shipping on new items for the first few weeks. Is this the case for the DVD hard copy?


    • Jonathan,

      We wanted to make this product affordable for any beginning woodworker, hence the $22 price. If we offered free shipping on this product, we would lose money on every sale I’m afraid.

  6. danieltikhon says:

    I am fortunate to live fairly close to Mike, and have taken a few classes from him, including a six-day class during which we built a side table. I am so appreciative of his hand tool skills, and ability to teach them. I’m recommending Mike, and this video, even before purchasing it; which will happen pronto.

  7. Just watch the saw horse part. Excellent!! love the presentation style. It’s like on Dragnet – ‘Just the facts’

  8. andymckenzie617 says:

    Any chance it will be possible to get just the sawbench and workbench components separately? I’ve probably got more tools than I need already, but I could really use a bigger and better designed workbench…

  9. gyegreene says:

    Hi! I notice your Australian vendor does not yet have the DVD listed. Any projections as to when it will be available?



  10. deads2k says:

    Is there any way to actually purchase a digital download that I can own (as opposed to hosted on someone else’s server that I _hope_ remains available in perpetuity)? I wouldn’t mind DVD quality instead of HD, but I do prefer to have actual possession of things that I buy. If not, I can purchase the DVDs and rip them, but that costs more and I don’t really care about the physical object.

    • When you buy the download version, you are given directions to be able to download the mp4 files, which you will own forever and will be able to transfer to any device.

      Hope this makes sense. The simple answer is: yes.

  11. mentos1975 says:

    This is the sort of guide I’ve been looking for. While I am not starting from absolutely nothing, I often wished to find a beginners guide that assumed it. I’m buying a download right now. Thank you.

  12. Don’t get it stuck in a dog hole! Haha!

    I bought this yesterday and was able to get through both videos. Very enjoyable, and Mike has a good sense of humor. I’ve been wanting to build a Nicholson workbench since I discovered them just a few weeks ago and enjoyed watching this build process – hopefully I can get some lumber soon to build my own!

  13. Jeff Faulk says:

    Apologies for the repeated inquiry but does this happen to have subtitles available? Very important as otherwise I won’t be able to understand much 🙁

    Thanks in advance!

    • Jeff,

      Sorry I didn’t respond to your first question on it. I was on the road.

      I looked into adding subtitles using a commercial service and it would have easily doubled the cost of this project for us. If you have a solution that is low-cost, let us know. We’d like to do it. But we’d also like to eat….

      • gyegreene says:

        Hi! This technically isn’t “subtitles” in the modern “DVD options” manner — but couldn’t you just type up the transcript, and “key in” the text? Of course, you would have to then offer a separate version: the “permanent text” version. The question is whether you had enough hearing-impaired (and/or “reads English better than understands spoken English”) customers that would be willing to shoulder the slight extra fee for this “special edition”.

        The less elegant way (but cheaper and faster) would be to offer the transcript as a downloadable *.pdf. The *.pdf would include references to visual cues scattered about (e.g. “[Mike picks up handsaw, begins to cut]”) to keep the viewer/reader on track.


        • We looked at that option as well. That was $700 just to get a transcript. Then it would have to be inserted into the video.

          If anyone is willing to step up and make a transcript, we will be happy to provide the video (gratis, of course).

      • Even if you already had the text available (which I’m assuming you don’t) – adding subtitles is still a fairly extreme task. I work in the IT/Edu industry and have done some help and research into subtitling videos. It’s a fairly arduous task, even for 10-15 minute videos.

        I guess you could try feeding the audio into something like “Dragon Naturally Speaking” to see what you get, but that software generally requires being “trained” by the user doing the speaking. That would at least get you to the point of a transcript. There are probably other better tools out there now, since Siri & Google Voice seem to do a decent job at transcribing most people without any “training”.

      • Jeff Faulk says:

        I’m glad to see the willingness to help out here 🙂

        Certainly I’d be glad to pay a modest extra to obtain a bare-minimum transcript; it would not be any great trial to read that alongside watching the video. Subtitles would be more ideal, but they’re more complicated since you have to time them appropriately to what’s being said. Out-of-sync subtitles are extremely annoying, more so even than machine-translated subtitles (ever try it on Youtube? right barrel of laughs there).

        I pretty much figured there were two options: ask for volunteers to do a quick-and-dirty transcription, or do same but offer a modest return for it (free LAP hat. Woo). Given that this is over 2 hours’ worth of video, that’s a lot of transcribing to do.

        I’ve been through this before with Lie-Nielsen, and they’re pretty much in the same situation. The market of hearing-impaired woodworkers is a very small one, I’m afraid…

      • Mike Siemsen says:

        Not being knowlegable about such things I wonder how it would work to have a sign language interpreter stand alongside of the running video and video tape their translation with the video running in the background? That would take the run time of the video to make. Cost would be the price of the interpreter and the videograper. I don’t see this as something LAP would necessarlily do. Maybe it would be a PITA.
        For those of you that just can’t understand Minnesotan their is a book for that.
        and a video

      • Jeff Faulk says:


        Something along this is done on occasion in some countries outside the US. The video of interpreter is put into a small window in the side of the main video after filming. It could work, it would just take a little longer to film because you would have to do re-takes to make sure you had everything and then edit it together and sync it up. Also make sure the window with the interpreter isn’t blocking any action without jumping around the screen too often. Technical difficulties are the main thing here– not so much cost.

        Still, it’s a very positive idea. I hope I’m not annoying anybody with all this hullaboo!

  14. These are great videos. Over the past couple of years, I have been splurging on new tools (mostly Lie-Nielson). (There are some advantages to being old!) I have also seen some of your older videos on restoring vintage planes, and have several older planes that I have brought back to life. For quite a while, I have been planning to learn how to sharpen hand saws, but it have been intimidated by the mysteries of fleam, rake, slope, pitch and set. In short, I have been afraid I would screw it up, in spite of the fact that I have several old saws on which to practice. The section on the video that covers saw sharpening is, alone, worth the the price of the videos! My intimidation is gone, and if am now ready to dive into saw sharpening!

  15. Wes Beal says:

    Watching the construction of the saw horses now, and thought of something I think I’d like to see done in the future.

    In videos like this we see people that are experts doing things like rip-sawing, planing, & etc. It looks pretty easy. Yet somehow it often doesn’t go so smoothly when I try it.

    I bet a lot of beginners tend to make the same mistakes. Everyone once in a while having a master stand by and watch while a raw beginner attempts to do the work would provide us the opportunity to hear what it is the beginner is doing wrong, and how to correct it.

    Just a thought. Knowing how longer saw cuts work for me, I’m envisioning the dimensions of the completed saw horse getting smaller and smaller and smaller as I work through the project. 🙂

    Great stuff so far – really enjoying this!

  16. Wes Beal says:


    I finally found the time to finish watching the videos, and just wanted to say thanks to you and everyone else for doing the work to put this together.

    I think these are a great introduction to woodworking. The Naked Woodworker makes getting started in woodworking very accessible.

    Thanks again. Next time I’m in Minnesota, I’m going to try to look you up.


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