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I bought a 25 gallon wine barrel at a yard sale for 10$.  I turned it into a lighted wine rack.

Step 1: The Barrel

Shown here is the barrel as I originally bought it.  It was actually used to make wine by its previous owner.  It did hold water but there were some soft spots on the bottom which lead me to believe there was rotting inside.  I first labeled all of the slats and hoops.

Step 2:

Next I took the hoops off by tapping them off.  I first used a mallet and piece of wood which is shown in the picture.  It worked well until the piece of wood began to break down.  Eventually I switched to the mallet and a masonry chisel used for scoring and cutting bricks.  That worked much better.  The hoops are compression fit so it was relatively easy to remove them.  Next I removed the top to find I was correct in the assumption there was some rotting inside.  I left 2 hoops on during this process so I could keep everything in place.  I also numbered all of the staves to help when putting it all back together. I used zip ties and plastic to label the hoops to move the labels out of the way when cleaning them later.

Step 3:

Next I took the entire barrel apart and organized the staves.  I sanded both the inside and outside of each one to remove the gray paint and rotting wood inside. I used several types of sanders including a wand, orbital and belt sander for this process. As I sanded a stave, I renumbered each one on the sanded section.  The pictures also show a side by side comparison between a sanded and non-sanded stave.  During this process I took care to only lightly sand the ends of each stave so as to not change the shape.  The top and bottom of the barrel fits snugly in each of the stave groves. 

Step 4: Staining

Once all of the staves were sanded I did a test reassembly.  Next I stained all of the staves. I did 2 coats.  I also sanded each of the hoops.  They were not treated before and had a considerable amount of rust.  I also tried electrolysis for this process but it was awkward and time consuming.  So the sanding was the most efficient.  

Step 5: Reassemble

Once everything dried I reassembled the barrel.  I though it looked cool with the silver steel colored hoops but after only a short amount of time they started to show signs of rusting.  At this point I also drove each hoop into place as far as possible.  In each assembly earlier I just loosely put it back together.  I did need to hammer the tops of the staves in place to they were all even on the top.  I used a wooden mallet for this to protect the staves.  Once everything was how I wanted it I marked where I wanted the screws to be and removed the hoops one at a time.  I then drilled all the holes using a drill press.  Next I refit the hoop and drilled holes into each stave.  In each hole I screwed in a hex head self tapping screw.  All in all there are probably around 150 or more screws.  I also tried to make each screw look symmetrical to the others.

Step 6:

Once all of the screws were in place I cut the barrel slats to form the opening.  I used a vibration cutter(oscillating tool) to cut the staves just under a hoop to hide the cut ends.   I also cut the hoops using a dremel rotary tool. When I cut the hoops they actually popped as the barrel expanded when the tension of the hoops was relieved.  All of the screws held keeping the barrel together.  I cut the hoops at the joints of 2 staves on each side.  Originally I though I may have doors that I would close on the front but after cutting I preferred the barrel without the door.

Step 7:

Next I did some minor sanding by hand.  When driving the hoops into place some of them dug into the staves.  I then painted all of the hoops black taking care to coat each screw head as well.  I taped the barrel during this process to avoid getting black paint on the wood but don't have any pictures of this.  Once dry I added one more coat of stain in which I coated the black hoops and screw heads also. The stain gave the whole barrel a nice gloss shine.

Step 8:

    I found an inverted wooden wine glass holder at a second hand store.  The picture is not the exact one I use but very similar.  I took it apart and used only the pieces that hold the glasses.  I attached them to a piece of ply wood the matched the shape of the under-side top of the barrel. Finally I found a 6 foot rope light and snaked it around the plywood piece and used the brackets it came with to attach it to the top underside of the barrel.  The cord was white so I wrapped it in electrical tape to hide it in the barrel.  I was also able to fit it through a hole in the back.  Eventually I'll probably put a switch on the cord but for now I just unplug it.  
     Also in these pictures you can the the wine rack itself.  This is one I found at the same second hand store.  I have seen many of these types around and I was able to cut this one down to fit my needs.  

Finally I made a template out of cardboard to find the shape of the top of the barrel.  With this template I cut a piece of plastic sheet (I think lexanite or acrylic) I found at Lowes on the band saw.  This piece serves to protect the finish of the top of the barrel, and to level it off as well.  The top works nicely as a pouring station or just to leave decorative items.  I also bought a new wooden spigot that is decorative but also holds the plastic in place.  This one is the same as the original but the original split.  I also stained it to match the finish.   I have seen similar pieces like this for over 350$.  All in I spent about 30$
<p>So my lifelong hunt for a wine barrel begins today. I need this! Thanks for sharing.</p>
<p>The end result looks beautiful! Awesome job!</p>
<p>What a great peice! Looks like a lot of work but worth it in the end. </p>

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