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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.