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How to Cut a Wine Barrel in Half

Updated February 21, 2017

You can cut a wine barrel in half to create two open-ended containers of equal size. The strong oak planks in wine barrels often outlast their usefulness in making wine, but wine makers have found a variety of uses for the wood and the empty barrels themselves. A half barrel can be given drainage holes and used as a contained garden planter. Halve wooden wine barrels to recycle the materials in a useful way.

Hold the wood blocks up to the end of the wine barrel. Trace the curve of the wine barrel onto each block so it is centred and dips within one inch of the base of the block.

Cut the along the chalkline curve on the blocks with a sabre saw. Remove the half-moon section from the blocks. Place the blocks parallel to each other on a flat surface with the curved indentations facing up.

Lift the wine barrel onto the blocks. Slide the blocks under the barrel until it is supported and stable.

Measure the length of the wine barrel from end to end. Divide the length by two. Mark the barrel with the chalk at the half-length measurement.

Spin the wine barrel and mark it repeatedly at the half-length measurement. Make a mark at least every six inches around the circumference of the barrel.

Connect the marks with the measuring tape. Trace along the edge of the measuring tape all the way around the barrel to create a cut line.

Cut into the side of the barrel along the chalkline. Use the bung hole in the side of the wine barrel as a start point if it has one. Spin the barrel on the supports as you cut all the way around to sever the two half sections.

Tip

Sand the metal straps with coarse sandpaper to clear rust. Apply a layer of moisture-repellent lubricant to the metal surface to prevent future rusting.

Warning

Wine barrels left empty for years dry out completely and pull away from the metal straps. Spray empty barrels with water to keep them moist or seal them with wood sealant to prevent deterioration.

Things You'll Need

  • 2 (2x4) wood blocks (2 feet or longer)
  • Chalk
  • Sabre saw or reciprocating saw
  • Flexible measuring tape
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About the Author

Jeffrey Brian Airman is a writer, musician and food blogger. A 15-year veteran of the restaurant industry, Airman has used his experience to cover food, restaurants, cooking and do-it-yourself projects. Airman also studied nursing at San Diego State University.