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.
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.
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.