How to finish a used whiskey barrel

Written by cheryl mccann
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Transform an old whiskey barrel into a dustbin or rain barrel, use it to store firewood or as furniture. Whiskey barrels offer many other indoor uses and are available from home improvement stores for around £19. Make a used whiskey barrels look new with a little cleaning, sanding and a coat or two of polyurethane sealer.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Whiskey barrel
  • Paint brush
  • Wood stain
  • Polyurethane sealer, water-based
  • Tack cloth
  • Wire brush
  • Screws
  • Drill
  • Dust mask
  • Goggles
  • 1-inch diameter spade wood drill bit

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  1. 1

    Find a work space with good ventilation.

  2. 2

    Check barrel hoops. If they are not secure, tighten with screws and fasten to barrel staves.

  3. 3

    Clean the barrel hoops with a wire brush, removing any rust. Clean the whiskey barrel with a wire brush or sander, removing any splinters or debris.

  4. 4

    Drill four or five holes in an x-pattern in the bottom of the barrel for drainage. Use a 1-inch wood drill bit.

  5. 5

    Use tack cloth or rag to remove all sawdust and debris on the whiskey barrel.

  6. 6

    Apply an anti-rust primer to the barrel hoops. Protect the whiskey barrel wood with tape or paper while painting to avoid getting primer on the wood.

  7. 7

    Protect the whiskey barrel hoops with tape. Stain the wood of the whiskey barrel. Lightly sand the stained wood after dries. After sanding, use a tack cloth to blot excess saw dust. Apply another coat of stain and let dry.

  8. 8

    Apply the first coat of polyurethane sealer and let it dry completely. Lightly sand and use the tack cloth to blot excess debris. Apply a second coat of sealer.

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