Introduction: Rustic Wine Barrel Table and Storage

About: Liberty University alumni carpenter and welder

most importantly for this project you will need a wine/whiskey barrel, you may be able to find these around your local town for $100-$200. I wouldn't recommend spending more than that or ordering online, the shipping for something this large will be very expensive. Don't worry about the barrel looking too gross, it will most likely sand away and whatever doesn't, will give it character. Just try to use a barrel that isn't too warped or damaged.


power sander (belt sander, or orbital)

measuring tape

chalk box


jig saw

pocket hole jig (I borrowed one from a friend), or a biscuit jointer

stain (I used English Chestnut 233)


Step 1: Cut Barrel in Half

You must measure and find the center of your barrel at both ends then pop a chalk line vertically, intentionally trying to get all the best parts of the barrel you want on one side (such as the least damage and the bung hole, yes that's what its called). You must now drill a hole and drill a screw into the metal bands on both sides of the chalk line so that the bands to not spring off when cut and the barrel falls apart. next follow this line as best you can with a reciprocating saw with a metal blade until barrel is separated. Use ratchet straps to keep the barrel together tightly. NOTE: when drilling the holes at the top and bottom of the barrel where the disk is, try to not drill directly into this disk so that a bolt with a nut can connect and hold the band together. See step 4 for example.

Step 2: Sand, Sand, Sand!

This is the most simple but time consuming part of the build, though it is extremely satisfying to see the rust and grime come off of a beautiful barrel. I would recommend a handheld belt sander for this step to take off the most very fast, I actually did it with an orbital sander with around 60 grit paper I believe, it just took almost all day. Take off only one band at a time when doing this to get every inch and put it back on after your past that section.

Step 3: Stain Barrel and Paint Bands

One of the most beautiful steps to all woodworking projects is the staining, and that's no exception here. I took off all the bands but the outer two and just tried to get as little stain on them as possible while wiping off stain that does touch the bands. While the bands are taken off I spray painted them black, put the center ones on after the stain had dried, then took the outer two off and spray painted them.

Step 4: Reconnecting Metal Bands With Bolts.

After everything was dry I painted the heads of stainless steel bolts black and drilled the holes that my screws were in a little bit bigger so that the bolts would fit in and hold everything together. NOTE: remember the tip on step 1, I did not think about how I would connect my bolt and nut on when drilling my hole so remember to have the hole lower so you can connect a nut from the other side.

Step 5: Cut Legs for Barrel.

For me, this was the most intimidating step of the whole process. You must find a large, thick chunk of wood that will elevate your table around 10" off the ground, it depends on how you want it. For me this type of wood was very hard to find due to where I live, also the wood was slightly cupped but it worked out fine. I placed the slab on the table and set my barrel on top of it, tracing out the half circle shape. There are many different ways to do this that I would probably recommend over this, this just looked the most simple. Then cut out your markings with a jig saw. and put on. I then put the table standing up like it will when its done and screwed the legs to the barrel from the inside of the barrel.

Step 6: Add Middle Support and Footers.

I got a piece of oak from Lowes and cut it to fit in the center for support and screwed it in from the outside. I also ripped a piece of wood that is barely wider than the legs and about an inch longer, then cut a 35 degree angle for looks, this is optional.

Step 7: Make Table Top

I used pine and pocket joined them together to the same length as the barrel but with a 1" extra width for grip when opening the table. I do not actually own a pocket hole jig but borrowed one from a friend, this can also be done with a biscuit jointer. I would not recommend using pine like I did because it will get kind of splotchy when staining, but it is a cheap wood if you're on a budget. I finished by staining it and then putting about 4 coats of polyurethane.

Step 8: Create Frame

I had pieces of wood that was about 4 inches wide and I made it so that it was the same width and length as the thickest and longest part of the barrel. I connected the rectangle frame together with the pocket hole jig. I would attach this frame with finishing nails but my air tank stopped working, (no thanks to me dropping it the last time I used it) so I had to just settle and screw it on with four screws. I put about 3 coats of polyurethane to finish it.

Step 9: Add Hinges, Support Arm, and Details

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