Mike Siemsen at the Mike Siemsen School of Woodworking is now accepting students for his third Hand Tool Immersion class on May 29 through June 5 at his shop in Chisago City, Minn. This low-cost, all-in, communal-cooking experience is designed to jump-start the hand skills of woodworkers who couldn’t normally afford a class.
Mike is an outstanding teacher. Funny (especially if you love corn). Very skilled. And a blast to hang out with. Just don’t get in his van (just kidding; John and I love his van).
All the details are below. If you can make it work, I promise you will not regret it.
— Christopher Schwarz
Hand Tool Immersion 101
- Date: five days May 29th through June 2nd
- Cost: $650
- Materials: Included
- Skill Level: Intermediate/all
Back by popular demand! An intensive 5 day all-out immersion into handwork. The goal is to tune up your hand skills to as high a point as possible in five days. You will tune up your tools and use them to build a tool chest in which to haul them home. For those of you on a limited budget, we will be camping on the grounds of the school (please bring your own gear) and cooking communally in my house. There is a shower and places to camp. If you choose to stay in a hotel, that’s totally cool and understandable. Know that you are always welcome to hang out late into the evening working on your project. The school is open 24 hours a day for you. This class is limited to 12 people and is aimed at, but not limited to, 30-somethings needing a jump start into woodworking.
I’d like everyone in the class to have a complete tool kit when they finish the course. Below is a list of the tools needed for the class. If you want to purchase tools that you need for the class and would like help selecting tools or need recommendations on where to buy them e-mail me and I will be happy to help.
- No. 5 jack plane, such as a pre-war Stanley with a clean iron (no rust) and a tight chipbreaker.
- Low-angle block plane, such as Stanley 60-1/2 with a clean iron and movable toe piece.
- Wooden rabbet plane (skew or straight iron). Wedge needs to work.
- Card scraper.
- Large router plane, such as Stanley No. 71 or No. 71-1/2.
- Hand drill, sometimes called an “eggbeater,” such as a Millers Falls No. 2 or 5 with a 1/4” chuck and intact chuck springs (i.e. the jaws are spring-loaded and work)
- Brace with a 10” sweep. Good chuck with its springs still intact and a tight pad.
- Bevel-edge chisels with wooden handles (1/4”, 1/2” and 3/4”).
- 16 oz. hammer with a wooden handle. Striking face should be smooth and slightly crowned.
- Squarehead joiner’s mallet. We can make these during the class.
- 12” combination square that is square, locks tight and has clear markings.
- Marking gauge. The metallic ones, such as the Stanley No. 90, are preferred.
- Backsaw with a 10”- to 14”-long blade. Straight saw plate, comfortable wooden handle and little or no rust.
- Coping saw that takes pin-end blades and locks tight.
- 10” cabinet rasp (older and sharp is better).
Materials are included in the price of the class.
7 thoughts on “The Return of the ‘Baby Anarchist’ Class”
Chris, will Mike be accepting monetary donations to help defray costs? I believe he did so last time he offered this class. Best regards, Wes
Mike is always grateful for any donations that will help defray the cost of the course. Send him an email through his site, and thanks for bringing that up!
As a previous attendee – highly, highly recommend!!!
I was one of the lucky few to join Mike’s first class offering last year. Spending five days woodworking, learning, sleeping, drinking, and urinating in Mike’s backyard is a like a mix of attending Hogwart’s School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and an experiencing an 1800’s joinery apprenticeship.
As he looks over your bench observing your work, he’ll be sure to tell you if you’re doing it right; although, don’t be offended when he tells you (it feels like yelling), “Don’t plane the line, damn it!” Rest assured though, your classmates will admit later they were happy you were the one to get yelled at and not them. It’s this mix of camaraderie, fear, and shared passion combined with Mike’s knowledge, intellect, humor, and command of both his shop and audience that makes this worth every dollar you’ll spend.
I also attended last year. Mike generously opened up his yard to us for camping, and opened his house for meals and showers. Mike knows woodworking, but more importantly, he knows how to teach woodworking. The reason for everything we were doing was explained thoroughly, and if there were multiple good ways to accomplish the same tasks, he’d show us all of them. Even with every bench in his shop full, he somehow managed to get around to all of us personally throughout the entire process.
If you want to really learn the foundations of handtool working, you’ll never find a better opportunity than this class. You’ll also get a quick lesson in deadpan cornball humor and the chance to learn fascinating hammer based drinking games. I drove for two days to get there, and it was still worth it!
I was the one who planed the damn line… but I’m learning! Like Nate and Adam above I would highly recommend spending a week with Mike. He’s a wealth of woodworking and worldly knowledge and a riot to boot.
As yet ANOTHER attendee of last summer’s session, I’d like to chime in and wholeheartedly endorse the above. It was like the most interesting parts of shop class with the world’s best shop teacher, but we could drink beer and didn’t get yelled at for cussing. I don’t usually get all woo-woo mystical but I consider it a formative experience and I thought I was pretty well done with those.
Comments are closed.