Mike Siemsen's blog

Tool Making Weekend: Mallet, Marking Gauge, Moxon Vise and Marking Knife

We had a good couple of days making tools and learning some useful skills. We shaped, hardened and tempered steel for the marking knife blades and the cutters for the gauges. We used a screw box to thread the Moxon vise and improved our mortising and layout skills. We used the mallet and marking knife we made on the first day to make the marking gauge on the second day. Making and using tools you have made only adds to the fun of woodworking!

We had beautiful weather, the crab apple tree was in full bloom!

HandWorks 2015

A Couple More Auger Bit Quotes

Some more information on the topic of auger bits that I came across.

quoted from ALF at, http://cornishworkshop.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/lead-astray.html

Lead Astray

Occasionally I delude myself that I've got a bit of a handle on this old tool business - and then I clean up some auger bits and confusion descends like a familiar cloud.

Irwin vs Jennings auger bits.

I did a quick search of the Internet to see what the prevailing wisdom on Jennings vs. Irwin auger bits is. Here are a few snippets of what I found.

„Jennings bits with fine pitch are the ones to have if you're going to be working with hardwoods.“

"The Irwin bits have a coarser screw and some of the smaller sizes have bigger diameter lead screws than the Jennings, probably to make up for the coarser pitch.

Mortice and Tenant

I am always struck by how many hand tool operations are the same or very similar, filing isn't so different from sawing or paring. chopping firewood with an axe isn't very different from chopping waste from a dovetail. Today I chopped a mortise for a friend. I scribed the ends and the sides V'd out the waste and chopped the ends square. The difference was I was working in earth and my tool was a shovel, the operations were pretty much the same otherwise. The tenant was my old dog Mickey, I will miss him. Never a burden, our friends are never so heavy as when we lift them into their graves.


In working on my goal to make entry level woodworking simple and accesible I am pondering the inexpensive workbench again. I am giving a demonstration on workbenches for the Minnesota Woodworkers Guild here at my shop. We are making a Nicholson bench at this meeting and giving it away at the guilds HTO in January. The entire bench will cost less than $100 and can be built in a day or two with handtools. I have decided to eliminate any vises attached to the bench and work with 2 holdfasts, a crochet and a double screw vise like Moxon or Holme show in their writings.

Nageltreffen and the HTO at WIA 2012

I would like to thank my friends Dean Jansa, Emily Bonham, Bob Rozaieski, Tom Howard, Steve Schwabacher and Nick Stahlman for all the work you do in the booth to make this happen. I would like to thank Popular woodworking for gathering up the prizes and giving us booth space and I would like to thank the vendors who donated prizes, Bad Axe Tool Works, Lee Valley, Rob Cosman and Ron Herman. It was a fun weekend!

Everyone that participated in Nageltreffen and the HTO is a winner.

Preparing for WIA 2012 - Midwest and the HTO

In a couple of weeks we will be in our booth in the Northern Kentucky Convention Center running the Hand Tool Olympics for the fifth time.

Hammer Time!

We have been making a few hammers just for fun. The heads are made from O-1 steel hack sawed, turned on the lathe and filed to shape. The eye is drilled out on a mill/drill machine, They are then heated red hot and quenched in peanut oil. After cooloing they are polished a bit so you can see then metal and then heated at the center of the head until the head and pein reach straw color and are quenched again in peanut oil. This gives the head a diferential hardening with the center being softer than the head and pein.

Under the Greenwood Tree , Hand Woodworking

Under the greenwood tree, Who loves to lie with me, And turn his merry note Unto the sweet bird's throat, (Shakespeare)

It is my never ending quest to find interesting classes that cover skills that people seek to acquire, while making something valuable to take home and treasure. I have designed a great class for green woodworking. How does one get wood from the log to a project with those beautiful, tactile, faceted, shimmering surfaces from hand planes? This „unplugged“ class will cover riving timber from the log using froes, mallets, gluts and wedges.

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