Wooden Puzzles – our new adventure with the scroll saw!

Last week we were browsing around (our extensive library of books) and the internet looking for inspiration for new things to add to our skill set (and the shop!). We found a little pot of gold called “scroll saw puzzles.” 🙂 What set of little hands doesn’t love the weight and feel of a piece of wood? Not to mention the fact that puzzles are great for growing minds … and keeping the wood natural means it’s a completely safe, non-toxic toy! Win, win, and win some more.

There are a number of FREE puzzle patterns available to get you started! The cutest one we found was this T-Rex. (This link takes you to a wonderful page with instructions and other designs, as well! Scroll down for the T-Rex.)  We copied him at 100% and used double-sided carpet tape to adhere the design to a scrap piece of 3/4″ pine. Clear pine is great because it’s knot-free, but it’s also a LOT more expensive. Depending on the details in your puzzle, most books recommend plywood for strength. You can use your discretion. For large pieces that don’t have a lot of detail, solid wood should be fine.

Want to find more free puzzle designs for the scroll saw? Check out my board on Pinterest right here! I will be adding more as we find them … 🙂

Ready to see the finished work? Here are a few that we’ve put together this week!

wooden owl puzzle scotty dog puzzle

There are many more to share with you … so consider this post To Be Continued… on Thursday!

~ The Woodworker’s Wife


A Tray is a Tray? One Style, Three Ways

Well, two styles. Anyway, the point is that I want to show you how one simple tray “style” can become three totally different things when finished! Trays can be a blank canvas (of wood) and be completely personalized. We like to build our trays … (and both of these are our designs!) but you could just as easily transform one that you purchased at the craft store (if you HAVE to …). 🙂 🙂

This first one is just for fun .. I had some reclaimed cedar fence boards left over from making a panel (for a friend) and the scraps were just the right size for a “serving” tray. I used quotations there because, let’s be honest – you can’t actually serve anything on a tray without sides. This tray is just for the table top – just for pretty things that you find make you smile when you walk by. Including, but not limited to, Mason jars, flowers, candles, shiny objects of any size … you get the idea. 🙂 barnwood tray 15barnwood tray close up

This tray is SO PRETTY, and it was a custom order we did for Christmas last year. The monogram really makes this classy and personal at the same time. I’m contemplating adding one to the tray above, as well … maybe for a wedding gift? The Red distressed look is very classic, in a way, and easy to achieve using three coats of a good quality paint, a hard sanding, and then a coat of stain (apply and wipe off) on the top. For extra durability, you should finish it with a coat of poly (over the monogram as well). Quintero Tray

And this one’s for the Huskers. Obviously. One coat of Minwax “Early American” stain, paint the logo, then finish with three coats of water-based poly. I used Matte finish poly on this one just because it’s a more rustic style overall. We have cut the handles instead of installing them on the sides, they are rounded off with the router too for a more comfortable grip. Perfectly practical with sides and everything. Perfect. husker serving tray ruler tray 2015I’ve saved the best for last. This one is the exact same build as the two above! Look how different it looks! 🙂 I simply left the body of the tray natural (it’s reclaimed cedar again, just with the age planed off of it) and used an assortment of antique rulers to fill the bottom. I stained a few of them dark to add color variation. They were simply cut and glued down with (gel) super glue. I weighted them down for a few hours afterwards to help the glue set and keep things in place. LOVE how it turned out.

One basic tray can be so many beautiful things, and so practical, too. 🙂 🙂

~ The Woodworker’s Wife

Giant Rulers — with your name on them.

These are just plain awesome. What could make them better? Personalizing them. Yes. The extra time and effort make such a difference …

Personalized ruler growth chart


I shortened the lines by about one inch to make room for the letters, which were sized (on my computer) to be the same height as the numbers. I didn’t want them to dominate completely… although they do really steal the show. In a good way. 🙂 🙂 Right?

personalized ruler


As a side note, I LOVE paint pens. They make this project so easy and convenient. No smearing or smudges from stencils, and good points on my letters and lines. Beautiful.

Brag post has concluded. 🙂

~ The Woodworker’s Wife


Giant Ruler Growth Charts!!

It’s no secret that these are making a HUGE appearance on Etsy, Pinterest, etc. I had seen them more than a few times and thought, “Wow, that would be easy,” to be followed by, “EIGHTY DOLLARS FOR THAT??!!” (Yes, I am a sort of cheapskate. This comes with being married a very handy, talented man. He builds.)  We were then asked to make one for a sister-in-law for Mother’s Day. What a great idea! The perfect chance to try this thing out and see what all the fuss is about.

There are many great tutorials out there on making these, and I will not be writing another one for you here. Seems silly. But I will add that if you use a speed square instead of just a plain ruler when marking, you can bee 100% sure that your ruler lines are perfectly straight, square to the board, and also perfect matching lengths across. Speed square also makes adding the numbers EASY. On my ruler I lined them all up to start at 6.75″ away from the left side edge (where the lines are) and then when you stand up the ruler, they are all straight up and down. Very important.





Another tip I will share with you: use a paint pen! It’s so much easier and more consistent than using a brush to paint the lines on. Beautiful results, and it’s more natural in your hand than a brush.

ImageAnd — The results! Isn’t it adorable?? I’m in love. We’ve sold several of these in our Adoption Shop over on facebook, and have orders for more! Hooray! If you need one, now you know where to look. 🙂



It’s all in a day’s work … 🙂

~ The Woodworker’s Wife



Wood Crates- to stain or not to stain?

So I’ve been having this mental debate with myself for months… should I stain them? Will it really look different? is it worth the extra time and smell? Does anyone else even notice these kinds of things? Or is this just a wood-nerd thing? 🙂 

I decided that it was best just to try it out and see. I have three of our “early” crates that we built last summer, and they are definitely not the prettiest ones we’ve made. On the other hand, they have screw heads exposed and the ends are solid, so they have a very tough, rustic appeal. The problem was that they had stamps on the ends (from the lumber yard, only the slats were reclaimed wood), and some neon orange markings of some kind. Yuck! 

You’ll have to forgive me… my computer is in the shop so I don’t have a “real” before picture, but this is basically what plain, standard pine looks like in it’s natural state:


I took the plunge. I love the result!! 


The ends got sanded with the palm sander until the markings were (mostly) gone. Then I applied a really heavy coat of Minwax Stain (Early American is the color, if you’re wondering). I let the stain sit on the wood while I worked over the rest of the crate – so that when I went back to wipe off the excess, there was hardly anything left to remove. What a difference it makes! 

You don’t have to seal over the stain – it’s a moisture barrier on it’s own. Just be sure to let it dry overnight (or at least 8 hours) before handling and storing things inside. 

I like them so much now they are in the living room, full of books. 🙂 


What do you think? To stain or not to stain? 

~ The Woodworker’s Wife 


Wooden Crates – home made storage!

Remember those crates we made? It was the first post on the blog… and you can see it here.  We continue to tweak and change how we put the crates together – hoping to make them more user friendly and storage capable. I think these are the best set so far!

This set of three crates were created especially for our sister for Christmas. We loved making them!

This set of three crates were created especially for our sister for Christmas. We loved making them!

The crates are constructed from pine (ends) and the slats are all reclaimed cottonwood.

The crates are constructed from pine (ends) and the slats are all reclaimed cottonwood.

We attached this star ornament just for fun. It's a piece that he cut out on the scroll saw, of course.

We attached this star ornament just for fun. It’s a piece that he cut out on the scroll saw, of course.


One major change between our first crates and these is that the router was used to round over the top edge of the ends, and even inside the handles. This makes for a much more comfortable grab when you go to pick them up. The cottonwood is lightweight and yet strong enough to handle loads of books! Yes, we have tested them on books. In fact, that’s what ours are loaded with. 🙂

What would you stock your crates with?

~ The Woodworker’s Wife

Reclaimed {barn} wood caddy

I am proud to say that these are the first project I have made by myself! Mr. Woodworking could have done these in his sleep… but I am a bit proud of myself for figuring out measurements, using the miter saw, etc. I’m also very pleased with how this entire project was made out of reclaimed lumber! Southern Yellow Pine and Cottonwood, respectively. Two different barns, two different towns, re-made into something for our home. Merry Christmas to me!

The character of the wood is what makes these unique -  this is reclaimed cottonwood from a 100-year-old corn crib... reborn!

The character of the wood is what makes these unique – this is reclaimed cottonwood from a 100-year-old corn crib… reborn!

Southern Yellow Pine has a beautiful grain. This caddy is sturdy, a bit on the heavy side, but so gorgeous.

Southern Yellow Pine has a beautiful grain. This caddy is sturdy, a bit on the heavy side, but so gorgeous!

My little brother came over last week to work on some awesome wood projects for Christmas. Music blaring, good company to work with … and then these just sort of happened. I was scrolling through my Pinterest board for some inspiration and I found this.

Honestly, I like mine better than hers. The reasons are simple: I prefer to have the joinery flush and square. Hers are more rustic in their construction. I also left the real beauty of the wood to show through (nail holes and all!) and I think it lends charm and authenticity to the finished project. What can I say? I think wood-grain is sexy. The handles are antique table legs that we rescued out of Grandma’s basement.

Not bad for an evening of work... reclaimed, reborn barn wood ready for a new life in our home!

I think one of these will be my new gardening companion next Spring…

~ The Woodworker’s Wife