Author: The WoodGal

Flippin’ a Floatin’ Hutch

I just love it when I can turn a bowl of sour lemons into the best lemonade imaginable.  This hutch at one time was a beautiful Ethan Allen solid maple piece some friends of mine had stored in their basement.  They went on vacation and came home to 14″ of water in their basement due to their sump pump giving out. You can see the water level mark on the lower doors and it goes without saying… was destined for the burn pile.  They contacted me asking if I wanted it to salvage the maple wood.  I honestly didn’t want it that bad but they are both in their upper 70’s and my soft-hearted side wanted to help them out.  It sat in the WoodGal shop for several months as I just didn’t have the heart to torch it.  It hit me one day that I had a perfect place for it in my kitchen where I could put my microwave, coffee pot, some of my bigger baking pans and my wonderful Kitchen Aid mixer.  It was a ton of fun to flip and it makes me wonder how many other burn pile destined pieces there are out there that I could get my hands on!  I hope you enjoy! Oh one more thing……I love to promote the products that I totally believe in (no they didn’t pay me to say any of this!) so a big shout out to General Finishes for their Enduro Black Water Based Poly.  I love, love, love this stuff and this is what I used for this “hutch flip”.  Heck, it’s what I ALWAYS use whenever I need to create something in black.  Check ’em out…..great company out of Wisconsin!






Work In Progress Pics


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 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!

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