How to make furniture with wine barrels

Written by marlene inglis
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How to make furniture with wine barrels
Wine barrel furniture can add an interesting flavour to a room. (Getty Creative)

Around the 13th century B.C., the Celts in communities around Northern Europe developed the wooden barrel for transporting goods through Europe. Today, wooden barrels are used almost exclusively for the production of wine and spirits. With some work and a little creativity, these barrels can be converted into chairs and tables to add an unusual and interesting touch to dens and recreation rooms in your home.

Things you need

  • Wine barrels (2)
  • Cloth or sponge
  • Warm soapy water
  • Rivet removal tool
  • Tape measure
  • Black permanent marker
  • Hand saw
  • Sandpaper
  • Stain
  • Varnish
  • Oak for table top, 13 mm (1/2") thick
  • Hammer
  • 38-mm (1.5-inch) stainless steel small-headed spiral nails
  • Round cushion

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  1. 1

    Select two used wine barrels since they are less expensive than new ones, and choose ones in good condition. Use one for the table and the other for a chair. Take a sponge or cloth and wash the inside and outside of the barrel with warm soapy water. Allow the barrels to dry completely. Remove the rivets which are used to secure the staves with a rivet removal tool. Slide the staves off the barrels and set aside the rivets and staves.

  2. 2

    Measure 12/5 cm (5 inches) up from the bottom of the first barrel with a tape measure and with a black marker place a mark on this spot. Continue marking the entire circumference of this barrel. Find the height of the second barrel by measuring from the top to the bottom of the barrel, then divide this measurement in half to find the centre of the barrel. Place a mark at the centre of the barrel and continue marking around the entire circumference of this barrel. Saw both barrels horizontally with a hand saw along the marks indicated. Use the taller barrel for the table and the shorter one for a chair.

  3. 3

    Sand the outside of both barrels first with a 120 to 150 medium grit sandpaper and finish the sanding with a finer grained sandpaper such as 180 to 200 fine grit. Remove the fine dust from the sanding with a damp sponge and check to make sure that the barrels are completely free of dust particles.

  4. 4

    Apply a light oak-coloured stain or any stain that you prefer with a paint brush, over the entire outside of both barrels. Follow the directions shown on the stain as to the drying time. Apply a clear coat of varnish over the stain with a different brush, to give the wood a glossy look and let it dry completely. Apply another coat of varnish if you feel it is necessary.

  5. 5

    Sand the metal staves down with a coarse sandpaper. Remove all traces of dust with a damp cloth and paint the staves the colour of your choice. Allow the staves to dry and place them back onto the barrel. Secure the staves with new rivets painted the same colour as the staves.

  6. 6

    Purchase a 13-mm (1/2-inch) thick piece of oak that is 60 cm (24 inches) in diameter wider than the top of your taller barrel. Sand the cut edges of the wood with medium 120 to 150 grit sandpaper and remove all traces of dust from the wood with a damp sponge or cloth. Use a brush to apply a coat of varnish to the top, bottom and outside edges of the wood and allow it to dry completely.

  7. 7

    Place the oak slab of wood on the head or top of the taller barrel and centre it. Hammer it on using the nails spaced every 20 cm (8 inches) around the table top, securing the table top to your wine barrel. Purchase a colourful round cushion from a home furnishing store, and place it on the top of the shorter barrel to create a comfortable seat. Enjoy your new wine barrel table and chair.

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