Harvest Table on Steroids!

I’ve learned when you have a crane company owner contact you about making a harvest table you’re not going to sway from him from his BIG CRANE mentality. When he said he wanted a BIG, BEEFY top, he meant it with all his heart and never once did he back down from that.  I’m certain my eyes bugged out when he told me he wanted the harvest table top to be 3″ thick.  I’m always up for a challenge though so I agreed to take on the job.  The couple wanted a 4’x9′ slightly rustic, old world plank looking table so I deliberately left the top boards a little loosey goosey when joining them together so you could see each individual plank. I pride myself in building heirloom furniture and I hope someone in their family will still be using this big monster 100 years from now! This table was a joy to build and the response I’ve had from it has been overwhelming.  Here are the final pictures of the table with nearly 60 build-it pictures as well. I can’t think of a better place for a harvest table than in the heart of Iowa with the rolling farm fields and corn crib in the background. Gosh….I love Iowa and its people!

In Barnyard Shot Final w WM

Inside No Chairs with WM

Inside With Chairs with WM

Whether you’re a woodworker or not you may find the below work-in-progress pictures interesting.  Let me know if you have any questions…..I’m always happy to share any knowledge I have about woodworking and finish work too. Enjoy!


Words of Distress (ing)

In my last post I mentioned I took the plunge into the YouTube world by posting my first official video.  I’m probably nuts (or you’re nuts for putting up with me) but I’m wanting to learn more about video recording and video editing so here’s video #2.  I get asked all the time what finishing products I use.  Along with describing my techniques for distressing furniture, I briefly talked about my finishing schedule and my love for General Finishes products. I hope you like this video and if you have any questions be sure to send me a message….I’m always happy to talk shop!!


New Blooms Bring Hope

I’m a gal who loves change and I certainly love the changing seasons of Iowa.  I’m not sure how the winter days went by so quickly but I’m not complaining about the wonderful springy like weather we’ve experienced the last week or so.  Each fall I drag as many plants into my shop as room allows with the hopes of keeping them alive over the winter.  About this time of year I take cuttings from the plants that survived and attempt to start new plants for the upcoming growing season. Basically I just need my “fix” of getting my hands in the dirt and awake the gardening monster that lives within me.  You die-hard gardeners know about this monster….as soon as we see the first signs of spring, our heads start to spin about this year’s growing season.  I was granted a wonderful surprise this morning when I went out to the shop and found two of my “winterovered” plants blooming.  Early morning songs from the birds, warm winds from the south and old plants coming to life brings me great hope that spring is here….well…very close at least!

WoodGal Post March 14 2015

Almost December….Still Bloomin’

Winter Pink Gem (1 of 1)

If you’ve read some of my older gardening posts you know how much I love Proven Winners plants. Their Supertunias and Superbells are unbeatable for glorious mounds of color all summer long. When fall rolls around I have a terrible time letting the frost deliver my favorite plants an undeserving death.  Several weeks ago when I heard rumblings that Iowa was going to get its first cold snap of the season, I had to decide which plants made the “Save List”. Not an easy task for this flower lovin’ gal. I think this Superbell Pink Gem is especially grateful I saved it as it’s been putting on quite a blooming show inside my shop. Although not as showy as when it was in its prime this summer, I’ll take anything that produces flowers when it’s 20 degrees outside.  Hopefully I can keep this Pink Gem alive until February so I can take cuttings and start new plants for next year’s growing season. You can bet I’ll create a post on how I do that next February or March.

Loft Barn Doors

Yee Haw!  It’s looking a little barn like in the shop today with the added loft doors I just completed last week. Since I built a cupola for the shop, doesn’t it seem fitting to add some barn doors too? My contractor persuaded me to add storage trusses in the two outside sections of my shop, which I had not planned on when designing the shop. With the cost not being all that much more than regular trusses, I decided that even if I didn’t use it a lot the next occupant of this building might. I told my builder to just rough it in and I’d build some loft doors later. Good grief, I never intended it to be 4 years later but like I’ve said a hundred times….my projects are always the last to get done.  Anyway, here are a few in progress pics.

After moving into the shop, the last thing on my mind were the loft doors so to get me by I covered the opening up with 1/4″ plywood backed with some insulation. Although quite ugly, this setup did a pretty amazing job of keeping the heat in my building during the winter.

Plywood Cover (1 of 1)

A look inside.

Inside Storage Area (1 of 1)

 It started with a simple mitered frame. I opted to use the rough side of the cedar boards to match the barn door theme.

Frame (1 of 1)

 Roughing in the boards for the 2 doors. I really love cedar because it has so much character in the wood.

Placing boards (1 of 1)

 Add some bracing and brad nailed it all together. Such a simple build but a lot of fun!

Frame + Doors (1 of 1)

 I’m so happy to have this to look at now rather than the lame 1/4″ plywood!

Loft Barn Door WM



Some Cupola Love

TheWoodGal Shop

For some reason I’ve always loved cupolas. I don’t know…..maybe me growing up in the country with chickens and sheep running around gave me a love for barns. It seems to me that country and cupolas go hand in hand so when designing my shop I knew I just had to have one. I’ve been in my shop for 4 years now and I’m embarrassed to say I just got the cupola finished and installed in October. My projects are always at the bottom of my to-do list so for once I took some time and FINALLY did a project for myself! Not too often do I get to keep what I build as most of the projects I do are for other people. This was a build that stayed in-house…..or should I say on top-of-house!  Hope you enjoy the in-progress pics!

Mr. Scraps Scarecrow



Mr Scarecrow


I just love fall time, especially in Iowa. Just thought I’d share one of my favorite fall decorations……Mr. Scarecrow. Would you believe this guy was all built out of scraps from the shop? Like most woodworkers, I hate throwing wood away so I look for any way to use up even the smallest pieces if possible. Mr. Scarecrow is mostly made out of MDF which paints up really, really nice. I hate working with the stuff as it’s terribly dusty but there’s no better material to paint on. I painted this from a paper pattern by Renee Mullins many years ago when I was a new mom. Having an infant left little time for me to do woodworking so I turned to painting which still allowed me to scratch my creative itch. Hope you have a great rest of October! Oh how I’ll miss the beautiful colors!

Cedar Planter Box – You can do this!

Yellow Banner with Deer

Wide Shot of Planters

Next to my two sons I have two major passions in life. One is woodworking and the other is gardening. I’m a happy gal when I can smoosh the two hobbies together and create something to feed my creative bug. I built these planter boxes nearly 5 years ago and they’re the most often asked about item in my garden. They were simple to build and the only tools I used were a tape measure, miter saw and a cordless drill. In August I built one for a gal after she saw mine while on a garden club tour I hosted at my home. The planter was identical to my three with the exception of me adding the Kreg Jig tool to my bag of tricks which stiffened the corners up. You’ll see this tool in use as you read through this post.

When I was designing my planters boxes I had certain things on my wish list. Here they are:

1. I wanted to be able to reach the plants easily and have it high enough to keep the weeds from invading the box. I have a wild flower field beyond my property line so weeds are definitely part of the landscape.

2. I needed some method of containing the soil and plants without having to build an elaborate treated wood box. Inevitably, a wooden cavity design would eventually rot out. Furthermore, a wood box would have added to my materials list considerably raising the cost as well.

3. Lastly, I wanted some way of easily removing the soil and plants should I decide to move the planter to another part of the garden. For example, needing to move a planter further into the shade during the extremely hot parts of the summer.

Keeping all the things on my wish list in mind, the planter below is what I designed.  I used 2 concrete mixing tubs you find at the big box stores located in the building supply department. They’re made of heavy plastic and measure 36″ x 24″ x 8.5″deep at a cost of around $15.  Basically the entire planter is built around these heavy tubs.  The tubs fulfilled all 3 of my wishes. They’re high off the ground, they won’t rot, they are inexpensive and they’re removable. With the help of one other person you can pull the tubs out, set them on the ground, move the cedar planter and replace the tubs without disturbing the plants.  I’ve even gone so far as to pull the tubs out of the planters and into the garage when I knew there was a major hail storm coming! All gardeners know that heartbreaking feeling of watching all your hard work and money being crushed by 3-4 minutes of hail!

I’ll give you the exact measurements of all the wood pieces I cut but the chances of you finding the exact same tub I used are probably slim. Just keep in mind you’ll have to build your box around whatever heavy tubs you can find. No worries though….you can do this!!

Final Pic 2

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