Ms Debbie P's 2008 Shop Tour and Inspection #4: May 31 Visit with MrWoody

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Blog entry by Douglas Bordner posted 06-01-2008 07:42 AM 9087 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: March 30 Visit to the Workshop of Le Cheval De Bois Part 4 of Ms Debbie P's 2008 Shop Tour and Inspection series no next part

This inspection tour is a short hop from Ms.Debbie’s home base to the shop of John James of Hamilton, Ontario in Canada.

MrWoody got the wood bug at an early age, ”When I was 8 or 9 my dad brought home some packing crates, not sure why as he was not mechanically inclined. He had a hammer and an old handsaw that I now know was not sharp enough to cut butter. From them I made a ladder so my dog and I could get on the shed roof (I don’t know why) and some boats. I used my allowance to buy nails instead of candy.
When I was in grade 8 we had a shop class and I made a bed tray and a lamp. I think I’m going to try that bed tray again it was very handy.”

His interests run the gamut of woodworking with a career and advocation with steel as well, ”When I was first married we lived on 5th floor and I made a stereo stand and an aquarium stand with a portable jigsaw, drill, hammer, and nails. I’ll bet I was popular. Mid 20’s we bought a 75 year old fixer upper, had 2 kids (boy & girl), and no money. I did ALL the work because I couldn’t afford to hire anyone, so I became a Jack of all trades.
I finally bought a cheap tin top table saw, not for wood working but to cut steel as I was making knives, but because it was there I started making wood projects. I’ve tried most forms of woodworking and am passable at most. I’ve done some carving, made paddles using a draw knife and spoke shave, scroll saw work and bandsaw boxes. I have used dovetails and box joints.”

Although his hand tool skills are a source of relaxation, John admits…”but would never give up my power TOYS.
There is a phrase dear to me! I still have a few yards to go on those hand tool skills. He also managed to have a side business doing remodeling, which paid for a next round of shop machinery.

And that brings us to his shop today…long removed from the kitchen table work of his honeymoon years and the tin top saw of his early adulthood. This shop is wired tight.

Picture 4

Here Deb inspects the heart of the shop, a combined TS – Router table set up (Is that a Veritas insert? I forgot to ask.) Everything in this shop makes intelligent use of space and is well organized. And there is task lighting and bright overhead ambient lighting as well. I hesitate to mention this to you younger woodworkers, but if you plan to keep at the craft into your late forties and beyond you will thank me for suggesting that you include good lighting in the plan for your ultimate shop. And there were extra points awarded for the prominently placed fire extinguisher.

Picture 3

Deb was impressed as well with the access to a phone in the shop should help be needed in an emergency. I as always was a sucker for the saw clock. More organzation is noted in the parts bins and tool racks over the great workbench.

I knew at a glance that this was one winner of a shop. MrWoody has a sweet set up, obviously the product of a lifetime’s working in wood (and more). If I ever set my ship in order there is much to be gleaned from this shop.
Thanks, John for the invitation to visit and the inestimable patience while waiting for me to get your visit posted.
You certainly deserve your certificate.


P.S. Check out these great workstation dollies!

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over a decade.

7 comments so far

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3847 days

#1 posted 06-01-2008 12:20 PM

Thanks Doug and Debbie for another great shop tour and inspection.


I know that these two are a challenging team but you passed with flying colors. Well done.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4324 days

#2 posted 06-01-2008 06:38 PM

Thanks D, & D

For another great shop tour.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View MrWoody's profile


321 posts in 3799 days

#3 posted 06-01-2008 06:52 PM

When Debbie showed up I was extremely worried she was coming after me because I leaked the investigation story. I checked quite closely to make sure there were no rabbits around, but D&D were quite professional and it appeared that there were no grudges held.

-- If we learn from our mistakes, I'm getting a fantastic education.

View Grumpy's profile


23997 posts in 3876 days

#4 posted 06-01-2008 10:37 PM

Thats what you get for leaking stories Woodie, you get miss Debbie the investigator & Dougie the Scrutinizer, LOL. Well done Debbie & Douglas & a great well organised shop Woodie.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6859 posts in 4004 days

#5 posted 06-02-2008 01:16 AM

Hi Douglas and Ms. Debbie,

Thanks for another great tour!

Congratulation on the passing grade Mr. Woddy.


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View toyguy's profile


1654 posts in 3862 days

#6 posted 06-02-2008 03:57 AM

Having visited Mr Woody’s place of frustration….... I knew he would be in for a passing grade. Great tour and congrats on the pass.

-- Brian, Ontario Canada,

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4186 days

#7 posted 06-03-2008 11:44 AM

Not too often (OK, – never!) that a shop tour is less than an hour away from home. That was cool! :)

I have to admit that the rabbit issue did cross my mind as I made my way to Hamilton but I’m a professional and I would never let it contaminate my judgment :)

Thanks for the hospitality and congrats on the pass! :) Not everyone gets a pass, do they Douglas??!! :)

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

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