We installed a lean to greenhouse that was donated 8+ years ago and lay wrapped in a poly sheet in the field until last year when we dug it out and erected it.
All the greenhouse lacked was a water supply until my father appeared one day with an old empty detergent barrel he got from the local farm supplies, I had a water butt kit lying in my shed which we hooked up.
It worked very well, but looked a bit gash, so I set about the task of tarting it up a bit.
Sheet timber for the top, (i used scrap 1" thick blockboard shelving)
Old brush shaft
Scrap tin cut into strips
Timber treatment in the colour of your choice
Table saw / band saw, or handsaw if you're a budding superhero
Pop rivet gun & 6 rivets
Step 1: Cutting the Pallet
If you’ve ever de-nailed pallets before, you know what a pain in the backside it is, especially if you want to reuse the wood.
I managed to find pallets long enough trawling about in my usual haunts, and sectioned them as marked in the diagram with a jigsaw.
They are much easier to remove when they are only fixed in the middle, remove all the full lengths, one pallet is enough if you've no damaged bits.
Step 2: Preparing the Wood
The wood is too thick for cladding, it needs ripped up the middle, I used a table saw with the riving knife trimmed for blind cuts, a single pass on each edge gave me the thickness I needed, a bit rough on the cut side, but that side faces in anyway.
Square up the ends on a mitre saw or by hand and mark your first plank to length, my top was 1" blockboard, and i made sure the plank projected past it and marked accordingly. Using this plank as the master, all the rest were cut to length.
Step 3: The Top
The centre point was roughed out and a hole cut in the top as a removable lid, I used an jigsaw set about 10 degrees off square and the starting hole drilled out with a series of small drill holes.
As a handle for the top I was going to use a knotted rope, but it would have turned green within a week, I decided in the end to go with a shaped block and an old brush shaft.
Its sits nice and snug in the hole and has survived 2 winters now with no fit problems.
Step 4: Cladding the Butt
I laid the cladding out roughly round the barrel and trimmed a half inch off the width of a couple of pieces.
With the barrel on a flat stable platform, use packers to lift the board clear of the ground a couple of mm and screw the first board into the blockboard top checking for square.
Use a single screw in each board until they are all installed to give a little movement as the position is finalised, then pop another screw in each board.
The metal bands were cut from a bit of scrap galvanised tin, the bits I had were short, so they were made up from 2 lengths joined with a pop rivet.
They were trimmed to rough length, one end was screwed through into the cladding and with a pair of mole grips the other end pulled round under tension, drilled and pop riveted.
A quick lick of black hammered paint and its done.
Step 5: Installation
While waiting for the stain to dry I formed up a concrete base and finished off a drain that was required by building control, this runs under the butt through a drain pipe, the butt sits nicely on the base with the planks floating 1/4" off it, stops the rot, well slows it down a bit :).
There we go, one tarted up water butt, the final shot here was taken a couple of days ago, needs a lick of stain, thats 2 years wear, its done well... enjoy.