One of the (10 million) highlights of the Woodworking in America conference last weekend was getting to watch woodworkers participate in the Hand Tool Olympics sponsored by the Society of American Period Furniture Makers and run by Mike Siemsen.
By the way, I got my bottom whipped by Dean Jansa in the ripping contest. Of course, I was using Adam Cherubini’s homemade rip saw, the only food I’d eaten that day was a cup of coffee and I’m a terrible ripper.
However, watching me lose wasn’t the highlight. If you’d like to know how fast you can rip a board with a handsaw, watch the short video above. Mike Siemsen, who runs Mike Siemsen’s School of Woodworking, challenged Ron Herman to a sawing contest.
Both are long-time professional handtool users. Siemsen has been a cabinet maker and teacher his entire life. Ron is a seventh-generation housewright who uses hand tools almost exclusively. These two trials were run with Mike’s saws. Later, they jousted again with a variety of different saws. Check it out.