Galion man raising his spirits by making miniature barns

GALION — Therapy comes in various forms for different people. For Galion’s Dave Woodruff, woodworking was a perfect fit.

A Vietnam veteran who grew up in southern Ohio, Woodruff first ventured into wood crafts in the 1990s. At the time, he was living in the southern United States and loved the look of log cabins he continually saw on drives in the countryside.

He decided to make a miniature version of his own, which developed into an incense burner, and later on a night light.

He started to explore the option of craft shows as a way to supplement his income, and his success was more than he anticipated.

Unfortunately, a stroke in 2004 changed his momentum.

Woodruff gradually lost everything as a result of the stroke. In 2014, after connecting with some veteran friends who were renting a home in Galion, he accepted their invitation to become their roommate.

He immediately moved and hasn’t looked back.

“No place is perfect, but I love my home in Galion,” Woodruff said.

Since his stroke almost 13 years ago, Woodruff hasn’t built anything. Between recovering from the physical damage of the stroke, the financial strain also made woodworking an impossibility.

Add to that the lingering affects of his time at war.

Woodruff enlisted in the U.S. Army on his own, and served in Vietnam from April of 1969 to May of 1970. Three weeks after he left the service he was back home.

“Life was never the same,” said Woodruff. “Military teaches so much, but the aftermath of war is far-reaching.”

Six weeks ago, Woodruff decided it was time to re-discover his passion with woodworking.

Now on a fixed income, his funds for extra spending are limited. By using Facebook connections, he was able to find an investor to get him started with tools and supplies.

But this time around, he has his focus set on a different structure.


“When I build them, I feel like I’m there. I can smell the animals, and I can hear the sounds,” Woodruff said.

In the short time since he has been back to building, he has sold his incense burning barns to buyers, nationwide including some shipments to Rhode Island and Illinois.

Each piece of wood, stone, or detail on his barns is hand cut and placed.

Woodruff plans to work on his current construction to resemble the design and look of Mail Pouch barns.

He also wants to incorporate the use of metal into his building ideas also. The sound of rain falling on the tin roof of a shed where he grew up is a memory he hopes to recreate.

Woodruff is currently planning to participate in local area craft shows this coming fall. He will also be displaying his barn incense burners at Galion Public Library in October where they will be available for purchase.

Each barn has its own name, and no two of them are the same … with one exception.

They all include a miniature American flag.

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Erin Miller

Galion Inquirer

Contact Erin Miller at or 419-468-1117 x-2049.