Mike Siemsen, the host of “The Naked Woodworker” DVD, has a new video that is being streamed through the Craftsy.com site on building benches and boxes with basic hand tools.
The seven-part high-definition video takes a bootstrap approach to getting started with hand tools and (amazingly) employs even fewer tools than “The Naked Woodworker.” As always, Mike comes up with ingenious low-tech solutions to common workshop problems, such as laying out dovetails with the help of an index card.
The videos show you how to build a simple boot bench using dados and a second bench using through-dovetails. Then you build a dovetailed box.
The videos are normally $49.99 for lifetime access, but if you use the following link, the price is $39.99. (Also, if you use the above link, Mike gets a slightly bigger cut.)
We’re huge fans of Mike and his enthusiasm for teaching beginners. So if you know someone who wants to get started in the craft (or that someone is you), it’s definitely worth checking out.
Editor’s note: Mike Siemsen, the host of “The Naked Woodworker” DVD has built a cool little knockdown bench designed for traveling and apartments. Check it out – and we promise that more copies of “The Naked Woodworker” are on the way to our warehouse! Thanks for your patience.
I decided to try my hand at a knockdown bench for transport to shows and demonstrations. Such a bench could also be used by people with limited space.
It is 5’ long so it fits in the trunk of my Honda Civic with its back seats folded down. With the bench’s aprons folded down, it is 6-3/4” thick. If you pull the hinge pins and remove the aprons it is only 4-1/2” thick. It is 22-3/4” wide and stands 32” tall when assembled. The leg sections do not break down. If you leave the aprons attached there is no loose hardware. As to workholding, the crochet is removable for easier transport; there are no vises, only holdfasts and planing stops.
Above is the bench when it is knocked up.
Here it is knocked down. The aprons are hinged to fold flat, or you can knock out the pins and remove the aprons. The leg sections do not disassemble. The legs slide into the large dados in the aprons and pins lock the aprons to the legs.
This is the hardware I made for the leg-to-apron joint. A bolt through the apron and into the leg would work just as well, but I was going for a tool-less knockdown.
The mortise for the crochet before the top goes on.
I made the crochet just a 1″-square stick that slides in a mortise so it can be removed for easier packing and hauling. Chris thinks this is an emasculator, but it is too late for that!
I made a simple planing stop. A 3/4” dowel with a 1/4” x 1” x 1” square of steel screwed to the top. I sharpened the leading edge and cut in some notches. I still need to recess it into the top. I also made a “doe’s foot” and there is a stick that goes in the slot in the center of the bench for use as a planing stop as well for traversing.
Just another shot with one set of legs removed. It is very solid and a bit heavy. I can move it by myself, though.
Here is the hardware for the pins. It is just 1-1/2” x 1/4” steel bar cut to the width of the leg and drilled for a 1/4” x 4 steel pin. Drill them in pairs so the 1/4” holes match up so the pins slide in after assembly. I drilled the apron plate that receives the pin 1/64” bigger in diameter (that’s 9/64”) for clearance and I ground a chamfer on the ends of the pins. The pin is offset because I wanted the holdfast holes in the legs to be in the center.
I used 4” x 4” hinges for the aprons, three on each apron. When you mortise for the hinges make sure there is no gap between the apron and the benchtop.
I used bigger screws than the ones that came with the hinges.
I clamped the legs to the aprons when I bored the holdfast holes through the apron and into the top of the leg. I drew the location of all the hardware and screws on the face of the apron and top of the bench so I wouldn’t hit them when boring holes. You can see that the holes at the bottom of the leg are offset to avoid the screws that attach the stretcher to the leg.
I used the drill press to bore a 3/4” hole through a thick block of wood for a guide for the brace and 3/4” bit. I clamped it for the first hole and then used a holdfast in that hole to clamp it for the next one.
This is a very solid little bench that I plan to bring to Handworks in May 2015.
Thanks to a solid month of volunteer work, there are now complete transcripts of “The Naked Woodworker” available for Lost Art Press customers.
These transcripts are ideal for woodworkers with impaired hearing or who simply want to check the dimensions from the videos before they make a cut. The transcripts are in three documents: Two documents for the video on tools. And one document for the video on building a sawbench and workbench.
If you already purchased the DVD or video from Lost Art Press, you were sent an e-mail this morning notifying you that the product has been updated and that you can download the new version (so check your e-mail). The new version contains a folder with the transcripts.
And all new customers will automatically receive the transcripts with every order.
If you purchased “The Naked Woodworker” from one of our retailers, send us a note and we will send you the transcripts via e-mail.
Transcribing a technical video takes a lot of time. So please thank Suzanne Ellison for creating the transcription and Mike Siemsen for proofing it. This was weeks of 100-percent volunteer work to assist one reader. And every customer will benefit as a result.
Mike Siemsen’s “The Naked Woodworker” DVDs have been well-received by Lost Art Press customers – we’ve had trouble keeping them in stock during the last month. And the downloaded version has been watched almost 700 times on our streaming site.
If those facts aren’t enough to convince you that “The Naked Woodworker” is an excellent bootstrapping introduction to becoming a hand-tool woodworker, perhaps you’ll listen to what other bloggers have been saying about the videos during the last couple weeks.
Bob Rozaieski of The Logan Cabinet Shoppe wrote up a full-length review of the DVDs on his site this week – check out the full write-up here.
Bob is not a beginning woodworker – far from it. He purchased the DVDs so he could donate them to his local woodworking club.
Here’s the gist of his review: “…let me just say, that if you are the new woodworker I just described, you need this DVD. It will be the best $20 and the most valuable 4½ hours you can spend before you start woodworking.”
And here’s a blog I didn’t know: The Wood Nerd. He discusses the DVDs as his jumping-off point to get into the craft and the results. Good stuff – this guy even gets into his failures. That’s helpful stuff.
“The Naked Woodworker” is available in our store for $22 for the two-DVD set or $20 for the download. Stay tuned for more nudity – Mike Siemsen is working on a video that we will post for free here that shows you how to use the workholding on his bench.
Veteran woodworker Jeff Branch has reviewed our new DVD, “The Naked Woodworker” with Mike Siemsen. Jeff has 30 years of woodworking experience but is just entering the world of handwork – so he’s not a babe in the woods.
Be sure to check out the review so you know what to do when your spouse walks in on you watching “The Naked Woodworker.” All I can say is that it’s a good thing we used an Americana soundtrack for the DVD and not smooth wife-swapping jazz.
If you don’t have time to read the review, here’s the conclusion in a nutshell: “A friend once asked me about woodworking: ‘How do I get started; what do I do first?’ I am going to tell him to buy this video.”