Badger Pond Shop Tours
A Tour of Mike Johnson's Shop
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Entrance to the shop

Welcome to my shop! Don't be afraid, the basement entry is the only -really- scary part :)

After the flurry of recent shop tours, I began to feel that the range of types of shops had widened enough to include my own. Although "only" a basement shop, it does have full 8' ceilings and the lion's share of the space.

Right view of the shop

Once inside things brighten up (well, a little bit). The view from middle to the right is the main walk. On the right in the back shadows is the drill press, jointer, and lumber storage. In the middle is the bandsaw and dust collection. Also, down in front is a 4' square, 1-1/2" thick, piece of MDF that is placed on saw horses as a work table. What you see there is one of the cherry tops for the night tables I'm working on.

Left view of the shop

Then looking to the left, you see the most panoramic view. The clamp rack against the wall. Then the plywood rack with cabinets. The table saw in the middle and the chop saw in the background. Oh yeah, that yellow thing to the left is my Tormek :)

Assembly area

Walking in a few steps and looking to the left is the assembly/bench area. On the wall to the left are some white metal cabinets for storing fastners and abrasives. Beneath it is a sturdy construction lumber bench. I built 4 of these from some plans I found one day searching for anything on benches. These were from an airplane club that used these in parallel to support wings and fuselage....solid as a rock and $60 a pair (one 5 footer and one 4 footer).

Wedged in the corner is my tool box. In the middle of the picture is another of the construction lumber benches, but it has a "case" on it. The case was a crate made for some trade show materials that my company was throwing out. Solid core plywood framed with hard wood :) Also on this bench are the parts for the nightstands I'm working on and my "collection" of handplanes:

  • Miller Falls #14 (equivalent to a Stanley #5 jack plane)
  • Miller Falls #9 (equivalent to a Stanley #4 smoothing plane)
  • Miller Falls #56B block plane (equivalent to a Stanley #18?)
  • Miller Falls #18? rabbet plane (equivalent to a Stanley #78)
  • Stanley 60-1/2 block plane
  • Stanley 113 cicular
  • Stanley #40 scrub plane.

At the right end of the bench I have bed frame models leaned up against a madrone burl veneer that I'm planning to make panels out of. I hope I can get to this project in the next year.

Underneath it is my dehumidifer, which is plumbed right into the city drain (got tired of emptying that bucket!), and tucked under the over hang of the bench is my shopvac.

Metal storage cabinets

Turning around, you'll see my metal cabinets where I store all fluids (finishes, solvents, lubricants, adhesives, etc) in a fire proof cabinet.

Machine area

Now we'll move on into the "machine area". You see the JET contractor saw. What is hard to see is the Vega fence, Forrest WWII, and the INCRA jig router table on the extension. Above is the JDS air cleaner. And just behind the table saw is another of those construction lumber benches. To the right of it is the Delta 18x36 drum sander.

Plywood storage rack

And to the left is my plywood lumber storage rack. On top of the rack you'll see tall triangluar items, these are the stops that allow me to flip through the plywood to select a sheet. They are adjustable for different amounts of plywood. Sadly when you only have a handful of sheets, there is a very convenient "shelf" to put stuff. If it gets cluttered it can be a pain clearing it off to flip through the stock.

Anyway, when I find the right sheet, I pull it towards where you're looking and then fold it to the right. A 4'x8' sheet will lay on the rack and the table saw at the same time, which allows me to muscle it over to the saw fairly easily. Also, under the rack are rolling carts. They are 2'x4' with a melamine top and 4 drawers each. When I need another work surface, I roll them out into the open floor space and place them back to back to make a 4' square assembly table.

Mobile cart

Next, let's go all the way in the back. This is my chopsaw station and planer on mobile cart. The table I made out of leftovers from the plywood rack. I intend to make a fence system, but have not ever got there. I designed the rolling cabinet under it to be made from 1 sheet of 3/4" plywood. I knew that I would need some place to put cutoffs and this provides me with an organized storage (there are 3 "bins" and a trough inside it). It also provides another convertible work table; the top is 2'x4' and is the same height as all the other benches.

The planer cart was from a Shop Notes article. I'm not thrilled with it, but it also provides storage for cutoffs and allows moving the Powermatic planer off to the side when not in use. Oh yeah, and I adjusted the design to be the same height as the chop saw station, to be able to support long boards on both sides.

Drill press

Continuing on to the right, around the bench, is the Delta 17-1/2" drill press, which is right between the drum sander and the dust collector. All of these are plugged into 4 gang boxes I wired to the pole. The table on the drill press I made with close out Incra jig fence and based it on all the designs I saw in catalogs. The best part is the 5" square insert in the middle (1/4" Masonite). I made a dozen to have on hand and I never get tear out! And the Incra jig fence allows easy repeatablity and spacings (stop not in photo but a key part of the jig).

Lumber rack

In the back corner of my shop is my jointer and my lumber storage. The jointer is a Delta 6" Pro on a Delta mobile base (keeps it hidden but still comes out to play). I was one of the unlucky folks that bought one with a warped fence. Delta eventually got it replaced, and I am now a happy camper. The rack and pinon fence is nice and I really like the switch location (high on a stick). It's no DJ-20, but I'm making do. Maybe when I move in the spring I'll sell it and upgrade...I'd love to have the increased capacity!

Oh, my lumber. As much of tool junkie as I can be, it's the lumber that can really get me in trouble! On the top of the rack are 2 pairs of bookmatched slabs of spalted olive (18"x60"x2" each). They're buried by some cherry so that I'll hold onto them until the right project comes along! On the middle rung is approximately 130 bd ft of 4/4 cherry, 25-30 bd ft of 6/4 cherry, and 20 bd ft of ziricote :) On the bottom rung is where I keep the real mixture of woods:

  • 60 bd ft of 4/4 super curly maple
  • 20 bd ft of 8/4 wenge
  • 10 bd ft of 6/4 african mahogany
  • 15 bd ft of 8/4 soft maple (for resawing into drawer sides)
  • 8-10 bd ft of 4/4 walnut
  • a couple bookmatched pairs (quartersawn sycamore, spalted quilted maple)

Spalted maple

Oh yeah, and this sweet piece of 10/4 spalted curly colored maple (30"x16"x2"). And note, the figure you see is without the surface planed/sanded out!


And lying in the pile of construction lumber underneath the rack is my HUGE slab of cocobolo. It is 52"x17"x2" :) I've finally contacted a mill that is willing to resaw it for me :) This is going to be a sweet coffe table! Alright, alright you guys, get your hands off!


I'm sure I left out plenty (routers, plate joiner, homebrew jigs, etc), but I've obviously kept you here too long, as you're starting to look at my wood a little funny. So, let's go; straight ahead, through the door...that's all folks! I hope you enjoyed the tour.

Regards, M.J.

P.S. My HTML is horrible. So, please forgive any formatting issues. (no worries; the Master Woodbutcher is on the job! ed.)

Originally posted 30 October 2001

wb 30 October 2001