Category: Projects

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!!


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!

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

Weight Lifting Platform

The great thing about doing custom woodworking is getting those “unusual” kind of jobs.  I received a call from Scott Carnahan from Sports Plus, a local sports medicine and physical therapy center, asking if I’d build a floating platform for their weight training station.  Basically it’s a combination of plywood, squishy mats and hardwood flooring. I have to admit this was new territory for me but I’m always up for a challenge. Scott introduced me to Matt McQuiston who is their strength & conditioning specialist.  Matt knew exactly how he wanted it built and had it nicely planned out for me on paper. One of the biggest challenges with this build was keeping the floating floor in place which required the handy work of a talented welder. I left this part of the job in the hands of John Jr. at Central Iowa Machine Shop in Marshalltown, Iowa.  He and his guys did a great job of creating what I asked for and I’m for sure keeping their number handy for the future when I need them again.  Enough background….here are the project pics!

Final Pic

Final 2


Welded frame starts the process
First layer
2nd Layer-Thin rubber mat
3rd Layer
4th and final layer-3/4" rubber mat
My Festool track saw did a wonderful job cutting this very tough mat. Lots of shallow cuts!
Installation time at the site
Center panel needs lots of cushion. Planed down 2x6 did the trick
1 layer of CDX plywood and the start of the oak flooring
Created this template to use for a pattern when cutting the CDX plywood for this section
I sprayed 3 coats of General Finishes Water Based Poly after the decals where installed
Can't imagine not having my beloved Fuji Sprayer! Love this machine!
Matt giving the new platform a try


Old Fashioned Ice Box

This is the second piece I’ve created to be auctioned off for a fundraiser for our high school’s new athletic facility. You can read about the first piece I made and a little background about the fundraiser here. I really enjoy giving back to my community and especially to our school district as both my boys will be at the high school next year.  I’ve enjoyed seeing all the cooler chests people have created on Pinterest and thought this might be a popular item for a fundraiser using the school’s old bleacher boards. It’s going to be hard seeing this project leave my shop as it would be PERFECT for my son’s high school graduation party next year!

Overview:  This cabinet holds a 48 quart ice chest. I added a drain in the bottom which it did not have.

Cooler w: Sign


Stadium Star

I’ve been blessed with a beautiful shop and a community that has been very good to me so when I was approached about creating some projects for a fundraiser for our high school’s new athletic facility I was thrilled to help out.  The renovation calls for all the douglas fir bleachers to be removed.  I stood in awe when I went to the roundhouse to help remove some of the wood for the projects. I was told there’s close to 60,000 linear feet of wood in that gymnasium.  Makes me cringe to think of the demolition crew just ripping it all out.  We’re working on trying to save as much as we can before the crew arrives at the end of the school year to start their work.  Anyway, here’s a sample of my first creation.

(Where’s Waldo….I mean where’s kitty…anyone find her in the picture below?)

Stadium Star Intensify

Simple but a Sweet Tweet

I love it when I can use cut-offs for little projects like this birdhouse.  I made this from some left-over bleacher board I had when I made this project and this one too.  Although this birdhouse is rather plain the angles in it pose a little bit of a challenge.  Overall though it was a fun project and I’ll be donating it and the other bleacher board projects to a fundraising event our community has going on tomorrow night at the country club.  All proceeds will go towards a new athletic facility being built at our local high school. Go Bobcats!!

Bleacher Birdhouse

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