Shop Tour: Mike Pekovich, Part II

As I do with all the woodwork’s who’s shops I feature, I asked Mike Pekovich eight questions about his shop.Though the convenience of email, here are Mike’s full, unedited answers:

Penultimate Woodshop: Did you plan out your shop layout, or did it just evolve in and ad-hoc fashion?

Mike Pekovich: When I cleared out my shop to put a new floor and walls in, it gave me a chance to rethink the layout. I had a pretty good idea about the workbench and storage, but messed around with the machinery locations a bit. The main goal was to get infeed and outfeed clearance for everything. I could only do so much before actually doing some woodworking. I used the first project after the remodel to fine tune the locations of smaller items like miter gauges and sawblades and such.

The trick to shop layout is to be able to get lumber
onto and off of your equipment.

PW: What is your favorite area of the shop? Least favorite?

MP: Half of the shop is set up for milling and the other half is set up for bench work. The milling area is a little cramped, but I gave myself plenty of room in the bench area, where I like to spend most of my time.

PW: Shop furniture: build or buy?

MP: I build all of my shop furniture and try to knock it out as quickly as possible while still giving it a little flair. An example of this are the arched plywood corbels that support the high wall shelf and my clamp racks.

This is the kind of shop furniture Mike builds.
PW: Workbench: build or buy? What style? Would you change anything about it?

MP: Built my work bench. Cast iron front vise and end vise. The top is a little short at 60 inches. I would love a Lie-Nielsen twin screw vise on the front. I rarely use the end vise and would like a bench with a wagon vise which I first saw on Carl Swensen's bench. My favorite part of the bench is the drawer box which gives it a lot of weight. Also, I use the draws to support doors and tabletops for edge planing.

PW: Do you condition the air? Heat/AC/Dehumidifier?

MP: Wall-mounted direct-vent propane heater works really well. For AC, I have a window unit. I definitely need to get a dehumidifier. I also have a ceiling-mounted air filter.

PW: Favorite activity in the shop?

MP: Shop time is shop time. It's all good. Strangely, I enjoy cleaning the shop. It always used to be a mess and my main goal was to try to clean up between big projects. Now, I clean before every stage of every project, putting all my tools back where they belong and sweeping up, as a way to take a break and reset my focus.

It's hard to clean the shop with this many woodworkers in it.
PW: What tool do you one the most of?

MP: Hand planes, by far. Every plane I own has it's own personality and I end up using each for specific tasks. I actively use 4 different no. 4's; 2 Baileys, a Bedrock, and a L/N. I typically know how sharp each plane is and what it's set up for and will typically use some or all of them in any given project.

Only two routers Mike? Why?
PW: Technical: Shop size? Attached or outbuilding? Lighting type? Heated? A/C?

MP: 20x20 detached garage. Lighting consists of 9 4-bulb fixtures plus task lighting where needed. 2500 BTU propane heater and window unit A/C.

You can read more about Mike’s shop in the full article in Fine Woodworking #216 or the new Fine Woodworking Best Workshops.

You can see all my photos from Mike's shop in the Picasa Photo Album or in this slideshow.

Tune in for Part III, where Mike will take you through the shop himself.

If you missed it, see Part I here.