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About Soba One

SOBAONE is a the tattoo machine brand of BJ Johnson.  BJ is a tattooer and machine builder from Grand Rapids Michigan who began tattooing in late 1997 and started building machines in 1999. The year 2000 saw the release of the first models: the "Rusto" and the "Phantoms".

In 2003,  Workhorse Irons was founded with friend and fellow machine builder Seth Ciferri.

  • BJ builds only COIL tattoo machines, NOT rotaries.
  • Tattoo machines are sold through and  Workhorse Irons.  
  • REPAIRS and MAINTENANCE on SOBAONE machines go through the Workhorse Irons return process.  To begin this process please email They will take care of all your needs and insure your machine ends up on the SOBAONE workbench!

Over the years BJ has extensively experimented with surface finishes, frame fabrication processes, frame geometry and component materials. Nearly all of his energy had gone into creating a variety of coil machines.  BJ still builds "customs" and "one-offs", but these days spends a lot more time tattooing so the one offs are less frequent.  Please follow @sobaone on Instagram to see all the new machines as they become available.