Dan Janke’s multipurpose shop serves as a classroom, boat-restoration dry dock, and the seat of his chairmaking activities.
Photo of Dan Janske's shop

When Dan Janke learned WOOD® magazine would be featuring his shop, his first response was, "I'll have to move the boat out of the shop so my wife, Judy, can take photos." Fortunately, the 1937 Chris-Craft, which he has been restoring in the midst of chairmaking and other woodworking projects, fits through one of the shop's two 9' overhead doors.

Drawing of Janske's shop

After moving into their current residence, Dan set about improving the shop building, erected in 2005 by the previous owner. One of his first tasks was to rip the old pegboard off the walls. (He admits he strongly dislikes  pegboard.) After installing insulation, he sheathed the walls with tongue-and-groove car siding, which provides a solid substrate for his French-cleat system and cabinets. He also converted all of the lights to brighter, energy-efficient LED fixtures.

Photo of janske's woodworking benches
Dan's traditional woodworking benches and a large assembly table offer plenty of space for project staging and assembly.
Photo of Janske's portable storage boxes
Portable storage boxes mounted on French cleats secure tools such as drills, sanders, and pocket-hole jigs, plus all their accessories.

A variety of shop-made, portable storage boxes hangs on French cleats on the wall and the backs of Dan's workbenches. With this system, he keeps the right set of tools at hand without cluttering the benchtops. Dan built the boxes using dovetail and box-joint construction. He discovered that the boxes, which he originally built to replace the plastic, blow-molded cases his tools came in, offer more versatility as a modular storage system. 

Photo of saw still in shop
A saw till keeps Dan's tools within easy reach while protecting them from damage. His most-used hand planes fill in the remaining storage space.

Dan makes use of all the wall space. A custom cabinet, or till, holds many of his hand tools, including planes and saws. Various racks along the walls keep lathe tools, screwdrivers, wrenches, and many other items within easy reach.

The workshop doesn't lack for bench space. A large assembly table, with dogholes and T-track in the MDF top, makes glue-ups and clamping easy tasks. Three stand-alone benches, plus the long bench that houses his radial-arm saw, incorporate seven vises, all of which are used for the woodworking classes he teaches. "Once a year I teach a group of four to five senior-citizen students, focusing on the use of hand tools," Dan says.

Photo of boat hull in shop
Dan has been restoring this 1937 Chris-Craft boat for almost a decade.

Dan keeps his radial-arm saw locked in to make perfect 90° crosscuts: Its primary task is breaking down stock into rough lengths. He relies on it so much, he gave away his sliding compound mitersaw.  

A natural-gas heater keeps the shop warm during Wisconsin winters. During the summer, opening the overhead doors keeps the shop at a comfortable temperature. He finds the electrical service installed by the previous owner—a 12-breaker box with 110- and 220-volt circuits—sufficient for his needs. 

Photo of oak toolbox
This oak toolbox keeps Dan's chairmaking tools organized and easily accessible. A similar toolbox, made of butternut, protects other planes and hand tools.

Dan has maximized every bit of space in his 860-square-foot shop. And when he finally finishes his boat restoration, there's no doubt he'll enjoy having even more space in which to maneuver, and build other projects that have been on his long to-do list.

Photo of Dan Janske
Dan Janke learned woodworking from his father and has been at it for over 70 years. He is eager to share his knowledge. He retired after 34 years working for a major food company.