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How to finish a used whiskey barrel

Updated April 17, 2017

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.

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  1. Find a work space with good ventilation.

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

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

  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. 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. 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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Things You'll 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

About the Author

Cheryl McCann writes for online publications and has edited two books and more than 700 business articles for magazines and newsletters. She has been a professional in the information system industry for more than four years and has developed applications using LotusScript as well as @Formula language and JavaScript.

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