Shop Tour: M. Scott Morton, Part I

It the early winter I took my kids up to Boston for a weekend away. We started with a great day at the Boston Children’s Museum. On Sunday, we made an equally great stop at the shop of M. Scott Morton Furniture Design + Construction in nearby Harvard, MA.
M. Scott Morton: The Man, The Shop.
M. Scott Morton (or just Morton to his fellow woodworkers) is an avid woodworker making custom, “one piece at a time” furniture for his clients. Many incorporate his iconic bent strip aesthetic (I’m making that term up) to wonderful affect.
Morton, working on a prototype hall table incorporating
his bent strip aesthetic.
The finished hall table, on display at WoodExpo.
Morton’s shop is the non-family room side of his basement in a wonderful house that was originally a New England barn. It’s a little divided up by concrete columns, but that’s the price you pay to be able to drive a tractor on the floor above. The shop is entered via the family room, but just next to the shop door is the garage door, so it’s not too hard to get things in and out.

The shop is roughly 30’ x 30’, though the above mentioned columns and some shelves break up the space a bit. There are two windows, one small and one smaller. Luckily, the white walls and columns combine with good artificial lighting to make the space seem open.

When we visited in November, the shop was about 70 degrees, a temperature that Morton says it stays about all year due to it’s being half buried and surrounded by other, conditioned parts of the house.

The equipment cluster around one of the support
columns which interrupt the space.
Morton’s tools are arranged as I suspect many of us would, with a cluster of big equipment in the center. His band saw, jointer and drum sander surround the center column. The drum sander gets plenty of use and was in the middle of a sanding belt change during the tour.

Lumber anyone?
Along the Entry wall, on the right side as you enter, is Morton’s lumber storage. His horizontal racks are filled to capacity, with additional wood stacked on the floor in front. At the far end of the lumber rack, there is a sheet good rack on wheels which holds full 4x8 sheets vertically and has storage for smaller cutoffs in front.

Moving passed the lumber storage, the one window is revealed. Sitting in the window frame is the dehumidifier which must run all summer in order to counteract the miserable summer humidity the metro Boston area is burdened with.
Take that, SCMS dust!
Finally, a small counter that serves as a miter saw cabinet resides in the corner at the end of that first wall. Morton’s recently build dust shroud encases the back of the saw and his fuse box box keeps all the electric conveniently close on the wall behind the saw.


We'll continue around Morton's shop in Part II. Until then, how is your shop setup?