Wood Barrel Restoration

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About: Love to spend time in my workshop, transform ideas into the real world !

There are several ways to restore an old wooden barrel.

In my case, I wanted to get a clean look, but at the same time keeps an old look ... I dont know the age of the barrel, but I estimate at least 80-100 years old... (the hoops were far from comforming to the slaves ... the slaves were deformed with many visible gaps ...)

In short, the best solution to get what I wanted was to dissamble everything and see what I can do with it ! I knew the task was going to be huge ... but when you have a passion for this kind of stuff, it's just more fun!

Hope you'll enjoy the result !

Step 1: Disassembly

Disassembly can be considered an easy step ... and it's true!

On the other hand, in the case of a barrel, it is very important to mark each parts well to be sure it will be place back at the right location.

- First, take off all the small nails from the hoops (around 3 by hoops)

- Remove the top hoops (Chimes) by giving small strokes with an hammer, continue by removing the second one

- Turn upside down the barrel

- Again, remove the hoops and somewhere somehow, everthing should fall a part !

Step 2: Staves Rough Sanding

I used a Belt Sander 3'' with 36 grit paper.

I had to spend about 6 hours to get through the 21 Staves ...

To remove all surface residues, I had to sand down to a certain depth ... and from that moment, I figured that the hoops would become too big in circumference to fit the shape of the barrel and respected their original location.

The good thing of having 6 hours of sanding, you have plenty of time to find ideas to counter this future issue ...

Step 3: Bung Hole

Before putting everything back together, I had to redo the hole for the bong hole because it had an oval shape.

Simple setup on my drill press ...

Step 4: Head and Bottom Boards Rough Sanding

As you can see on pictures, nothing glued on a wood barel ... even the head and bottom boards ... so be carefull when you need to manipulate them. (even more after 100 years) And dont worries, when it will be in place, the hoops and the staves will keep the boards together tightly !

I used a electric planar to do the rough sanding ... quite easier versus the belt sander ... It took me around 10 minutes ...

Unfortunaltely, some wood stud appeared on the bottom board (see picture) ... it will be hidden anyway :-D !

Let's continue de work !

Step 5: Hoops Cleaning

As you can see on the image, the hoops were really dusty ...

I used a silicone carbide wheel brushed to do the job ... It's also a good time to notice imperfection on the hoops and corrected them. (Hammer stroke) ...

Step 6: Put Everthing Back Together

Unfortunately, I do not have many pictures to show how to put it all back together.

A good practice will be to prepare yourself by aligning all the staves in order first ... so you wont need to search for it !

I will try to explain it in words:

Take in hand the second hoops and start by fixing with a clamp the first staves on it. - Then, conform the next 2-3 staves and put a small clamp that will hold them in place - Continue this way by placing a clamp at each 3 to 4 staves.

This task is really easier with an helper. (Thanks to my girlfriend for her invaluable help).

Once the round is completed, insert the 3rd hoops gently.

It's a bit scary at the begining ... but slowly, you'll see the barel shape getting back ...

Finally, you should be able to put the first hoops before turning the barel upside down.

Once upside down, it's time to insert the bottom board before the staves are getting to tight. Again, no special trick ... Use you imagination and custom tool if needed ... you'll maybe need to loose top hoops to put it in place.

When the bottom board is in place, stroke the bottom hoops tightly.

Turn upside down the barel again. Remove the 2 first hoop and insert the top board.

Once done, place back the top hoops...

At this point, I had the confirmation that the hoops were now to big for the barel diameter.

Step 7: Reducing Hoop Circumference

It was now time to reduce the circumference of the hoops to make it fit at the original location ...

It's rare that I use welding machine so I enjoy the task.

I reduced the circumference from 1 1/2 in. on each hoops ... (Before welding, I've done some dry fit)

I'm pretty satisfaied of the result ... I've aligned all the weld so it's will be easier to hide them by placing that barrel face against the wall.

Step 8: Hoops Painting

Naturally, I would have preferred painting the hoops once disassembled, but I was sure I would have a lot of adjustments to make on them when reassembling, so that's why I decided to paint them once the barrel assembled.

The task of masking went well and 2 small layer of paint was enough to achieve the desired result !

Step 9: Barrel Stain

Last step :-D

The process was quit simple ... masking the hoops and stain the wood ...

I apply one layer of ipswich Wood Stain.

Step 10: Final Touch

I've added a glass over the top board since the barrel will be used as a side table in my house.

It give a nice glossy look also !

I'm pretty satified with the final result !

Hope you enjoy the restoration and wish it will inspired you :-D

Trash to Treasure

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Trash to Treasure

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    8 Discussions

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    ksjunto

    18 days ago

    Beautiful!

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    Dickerson888

    20 days ago

    I think less resizing of the hoops would have been necessary if the barrel could have been soaked in water. The staves dry out and shrink. Of course that may have been a difficult thing to accomplish. Once it started to expand you might have been able to fill the barrel with water. I had a similar issue with a whiskey barrel half used as a planter.

    1 reply
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    Simon_CloutierDickerson888

    Reply 20 days ago

    Hi !
    I agree with you ! (Regarding Soaking the staves in water ) that would propably fixed the hoops issue.
    Thanks for the comments

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    AnandM54

    21 days ago

    WOW.... Amazing idea and did it .!

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    Simon_Cloutierjessyratfink

    Reply 21 days ago

    I appreciate your comment thank you ! Even more from a an instructor like you :-D