Women in Woodworking - Meet Sadie Mae John
By Char Miller-King
This month's column features Sadie Mae John, a wonderful woman I had the privilege of meeting at
Workbenchcon back in February of this year. Sadie has made her mark in the world of woodworking and
partnered with several reputable sponsors such as Kreg, Graco, and Osborne. Sadie's humble and
passionate spirit lends itself to great builds in her home shop. She is a respected sought after maker who
gives advice to anyone who asks and welcomes people to follow along on her journey of making.
There is something heating up over in Tempe, Arizona, and that's Sadie Mae John also known as The
Awesome Orange. Sadie's journey began when she left her corporate job in realty with a desire to do
something creative to fill her time. She wanted to make her house feel more like a home and give it the
"Sadie Touch." After a chance visit to the lumber yard with another maker friend, Sadie purchased some
lumber and made the first piece for her home that would ultimately turn into a love for making. Her first
dining room table was made using several reclaimed pieces of Pabst Blue Ribbon Factory Flooring and
legs found on Craigslist. What an AWESOME feeling to create something you love. It was here that the
Awesome Orange was birthed.
Sadie's shop is located in her two-car garage that is 100% dedicated to making. Everything in her shop is
mobile for ease of use. She has two pull out carts and a modular miter saw station, which she shares
step by step plans for on her blog. The entire five phase series was part of her shop upgrade which she
partnered with Kreg Tools to design and create. Her shop upgrade includes the modular miter saw
station and a flip-top workbench. Sadie's builds are not only aesthetically pleasing, but functional and
designed so that anyone can build them. The foundation of her miter saw station is comprised of mostly
2 x 4's and pocket hole joinery.
After completing that build she continued on to find a new home for her trusty Kreg Foreman and Rigid
thickness planer...the flip-top workbench was the perfect spot. It is perfectly aligned to not only serve as
an outfeed table, but storage for her smaller hand held tools and an additional assembly area for big
builds like the cedar and pine outdoor bench she recently completed.
Sadie's favorite tool is her jointer, she refers to it as the "game changer." It's the tool that pushes you
into the real woodworking. Those 90 degree angles equal success and allow you to turn rough sawn
lumber into wonderful, commissioned builds, which Sadie does a fair share of, in addition to her
awesome social media presence and her build, design, and upcycle inspired blog. She recently made a
knock off Restoration Hardware stacked dining table for $100 for a client, which retails for about $3500. Her
goal is to build things that are accessible to readers and require fewer tools and fewer resources that
the weekend woodworker may not have access to.
The blog includes great tips on what to do with old wood you have lying around, such as making a quick
outdoor table made from pallet wood. Her blog also includes a triple dog bowl holder with storage,
where she uses a standard router to cut circles for the bowls by making several passes with the
assistance of a circle jig. She also touches on the most important aspect of building and that is finishing.
Furniture can be craft fully designed, perfectly joined and still be undesirable with the wrong finish.
Sadie is sure to share with her customers and readers that the depiction on a can of stain can differ
based on the species of wood, the number of coats used, and many other factors. She even highlights
the stain colors she uses most, which comes with experience of knowing how each stain will behave,
another way in which she is AWESOME.
Last year, Sadie coined the term, "WoodworkHER" and attached the word to her almost sold out line of
t-shirts, along with the definition: A girl who makes AWESOME stuff from wood. The tagline is about a
Celebration of making stuff and knowing that we all have to start somewhere and feel pride in anything
we create. Along with selling both men and women's t-shirts and her detailed plans online, Sadie has
some other hard goals she'd like to reach within the next year. With the rise for visual content to reach
new makers, Sadie hopes to increase her audience and reach with her content by utilizing YouTube
more. While her primary focus over the past few years has been dedicated to woodworking, she plans
to incorporate more general DIY projects into her content creation. One of her first projects on the
docket is working on creating a patio space.
The Awesome Orange has some phenomenal advice that will not only get lady makers going, but anyone
interested in entering the woodworking arena or those looking to get to the next level in their hobby.
She is very candid about making mistakes and how she fixes them and admits that this is a journey. Most
importantly, she remarks about building self-confidence and the time and effort taken to learn how to
build has paid off in a major way. She wholeheartedly believes you can "do anything you want" and it's
not about making things one way.
One of Sadie's favorite words is Awesome and her favorite color is Orange; hence the Awesome Orange.
The color orange is involved in many aspects of Sadie's style; the hue of the sun setting, vintage style, and
the accent wall she has in her home. These adjectives are the perfect combination for a woman in
woodworking who believes Everybody Deserves Awesome and to seal the deal, she includes an "orange
emoji" with all her correspondence; surely a memorable brand. Sadie also knew she wanted her
moniker to match her pet pooch, Oscar, who has his own online following @theawesomeoscar.
You can check out Sadie's website at https://www.theawesomeorange.com/ and follow her on
Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube @theawesomeorange.
You can check out Char's website at https://www.thewoodenmaven.com/ and follow her on Instagram at @woodenmaven.
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