A Boring Embarrassment from the Past - Popular Woodworking Magazine

A Boring Embarrassment from the Past

 In Feature Articles, Shop Blog, Woodworking Blogs
Mike Siemsen is a woodworking expert set to speak at the Woodworking in America 2015 event in Kansas City.

Mike Siemsen with a vital shop tool.

I just talked with Mike Siemsen about running the Hand Tool Olympics (HTO) at Popular Woodworking in America 2016. Once again, he’s graciously agreed to wrangle his crew of expert hand-tool woodworkers to run the competition (and teach folks who are new to the included “sports”) for the 2016 conference (in the Marketplace Sept. 16-17, at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center).

And then I came across this altogether embarrassing video that Christopher Schwarz filmed in 2008 of me and Heather Bowron preparing to go head-to-head at that year’s conference (which was our first WIA). If I recall correctly, the on-site throw-down also included Kari Hultman.

My boring and other hand tool skills have improved in the intervening years. This year, I’ll do my best to prove that; I’ll try my hand at each of the HTO events (more on those to come), and you can test your times against mine. Nothing like offering oneself up to the risk of public humiliation. Again.

— Megan Fitzpatrick

p.s. Here’s a palate cleanser (that actually shows something useful): Frank Klausz “Mortising Through Glass” (also from the first WIA).

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Showing 8 comments
  • goldesta


  • hmerkle

    What wood and thickness is used for the “boring” HTO?

    What is the time to beat?

    • Megan Fitzpatrick
      Megan Fitzpatrick

      “Bore a 3/4″ hole in a plank, straight and square to surface of plank (no squares or other aids allowed). It’s not as boring as you might think! Judged for speed. Points off for major blowouts on the backside and any degrees out of square.” I think it was 2x (so 1-1/2″ thick). But I’m afraid I have absolutely no recollection of the winning times. (If I had a 3/4″ bit handy, I’d try it right now and let you know, but it’s at home. And I’m wearing a skirt today.)

      • hmerkle

        Oh… so Skirt wearing woodworkers are in some way exempt? ha ha
        Does that include kilts and ah… ha ha

        Too bad, you don’t have a brace and bit at the shop – I am guessing that would create yet another video!!

        Trying to figure out a way to get to WIA – a little to far this year, I am hopeful you guys will come back to Winston Salem or other points south – everyone who counts is down here!!! ha!!

  • TimmyGriffin

    I cant’ remember the last time I used a hand drill…wow this takes me back. It also gave me an idea for the workshop. We can organise a competition for who can drill fastest.

  • Alysha Smith

    Great Work!

  • Christopher Schwarz
    Christopher Schwarz

    Public humiliation?

    I’ll have to post some photos of you arm wrestling Roy Underhill. (Hint: We all lost.)

    • Megan Fitzpatrick
      Megan Fitzpatrick

      I’m fine with your sharing the arm wrestling ones (I wonder what the winner is up to these days). Just not the Indian leg wrestling ones…

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