About BJ Johnson
Hello! My name is BJ Johnson and I have been building tattoo machines under the name SOBAONE since 1999.
I began tattooing in late ‘97 and began tinkering with machine tuning immediately. The desire to be a better tattooer led me to want to fully understand how my machines worked. The tinkering led to full production of my own models by 1999.
The early days of internet communities made it possible for me to both learn as well as share information about building and tuning machines. I made some great connections and built some great relationships. In 2003 I co-founded the company Workhorse Irons with Seth Ciferri.
By 2007 I had taken full ownership of Workhorse and continued to run the company here in Grand Rapids, Michigan until I stepped down in 2012. I took on a partner to run the company until finally in 2017 I removed myself from all ownership and administrative duties completely.
These days I build my machines in my own workshop and sell them through this site as well as a few international distributors.
It’s been an incredible ride and I look forward to many more years of hand building tattoo machines. I build them one at a time, with the knowledge of actual tattoo application, which I strongly feel is paramount in being able to properly tune a machine.