How to Make a Coffee Table from a Whiskey Barrel

If you’re looking for some DIY projects to make with your friends, whiskey barrels are a hot commodity right now. The wood is great for firewood and it’s possible to hand-cut the pieces into useful furniture that can last a lifetime.

A whiskey barrel is a great way to make a coffee table. Whiskey barrels are also very popular for making other items, such as planters, furniture and more. Read more in detail here: whiskey barrel table top ideas.

Note from the editor: This is a guest article by Pete Sveen. It was first published on his website, diypete.com. 

A friend of mine stumbled upon a couple old whiskey barrels and phoned me to say we needed to do something with them. So, after some thought, we decided to create a whiskey barrel coffee table. We came up with the idea to add hinges so we could utilize the barrel for storage as well after some additional thinking. It turns out that the barrel can contain a lot of icy cold drinks! As a result, we completed the project just in time for the Super Bowl, and it was a big hit with both men and women. And now I’d like to show you that project!

I couldn’t find any plans that I liked, so we made our own and recorded the whole process so you can make your own whiskey or wine barrel coffee table. This table is guaranteed to generate a discussion and will be showered with praises. This multi-functional table may be used to store blankets, pillows, firewood, and other household things in addition to serving as a cooler.

Homemade diy whiskey barrel coffee table.

You’ll learn what equipment you’ll need, where to get a barrel, and how to convert that old, worn-out barrel into the greatest piece of furniture in your house (or out on the patio!) in this lesson. We’ve also included a video tutorial of the full procedure at the bottom of the page.

Note that depending on the size of the barrel you choose, your particular dimensions may vary. Before starting on your own, make sure you take your own measurements based on these guidelines.

Non-Lumber Materials

  • Whiskey barrels may cost anywhere from $25 to $200 depending on their condition and where they are found.
  • 3-inch (ten screws), 1 1/2-inch (15-20), and 1-inch (15) wood screws
  • 1 1/4-inch Kreg Jig screws (1 package) to join tabletop planks and frame
  • I used Minwax’s “Special Walnut” stain for the wood stain.
  • To help preserve the tabletop, use polyurethane (Minwax).
  • 2 hinges for the chest
  • 1 support for the chest lid
  • Sandpaper with grits of 120 and/or 220
  • Level
  • Measurement tape

List of Lumber

  • One 212 with a 6 foot length (used for table base)
  • One fourteenth, length: ten feet (used for table apron)
  • two eighteen, length: eighteen feet (used for tabletop)
  • 6 ft. one 13 or 12 ft. one 13 or 12 ft. one 13 or 12 ft. one 13 (used for decorative base pieces)

Needed Equipment

  • Miter saw – a hand saw will suffice, but a miter saw will speed up the process.
  • The Kreg Jig is used to join the tabletop boards together.
  • Jig saw – used to cut the base arch and could also be used to split a whole barrel in half.
  • If you’re splitting a complete barrel in half, you’ll need a reciprocating saw to cut the metal bands.
  • saw with a circular blade (optional)
  • Drill
  • Orbital sander is a kind of sander that is used to
  • Clamps
  • To remove the metal bands and smooth out the boards, use a pry bar and a rubber mallet.

Where Can I Purchase a Whiskey or Wine Barrel?

Old whiskey barrel in bed of pickup truck.

Finding a whiskey or wine barrel for the project is the first step in making the table. When it comes to obtaining barrels, you have a few possibilities. First, I’d contact local whiskey distilleries and/or vineyards in your region to see if they have any old inventory they want to sell or dispose. The next step is to go to Craigslist and look for both wine and whiskey barrels. In my hometown of Montana, I was fortunate enough to locate a really friendly gentleman who was trying to get rid of a few items, including barrels. They were in need of a new home, and they put it to good use! Barrels, which are often advertised as planters, are sometimes available at home and garden shops.

 

I’d suggest purchasing a used barrel from Amazon or eBay if you can’t find one locally. However, they will be fairly costly, with shipping costs as high as $100! If you’re not in a rush, I’d suggest keeping an eye on Craigslist for a few weeks. You may also post a wanted ad on Craigslist, stating that you are looking for an old barrel to utilize for a furniture project. You may be shocked by the outcome.

I purchased as many barrels as the local vendor would allow. Each half barrel cost $25, while the whole barrel cost $100.

Whiskey barrel cut in half for craft diy project.

The barrels that had previously been split and were intended to be used as planters may be seen here. They’d been sitting outdoors for a while, but I thought the weathering gave them a lot of character. I didn’t demonstrate the procedure of cutting a whole barrel in half since I utilized the pre-cut half-barrel for my project. However, you may accomplish it by using a reciprocating saw to cut the bands and a jigsaw to cut through the wood. Often, the length of the barrel may be divided along a seam without the need for a cut.

1. Dismantle the Barrel

How to make a whiskey barrel coffee table.

The metal bands must first be removed using a pry bar. The bands are fastened in place with tiny nails and should simply snap off. To keep the barrel together, keep the end bands in place.

How to make whiskey barrel furniture.

After that, smooth out the boards as much as possible using a rubber mallet. After removing the bands, some of the boards may seem to be out of position, and this procedure may help wash them out.

Sanding a whiskey barrel.

Lightly sand the outside of your barrel using 120- or 220-grit sandpaper. I selected 220-grit since I didn’t want to take away any of the worn wood’s charm.

2. Apply a stain on the barrel

How to stain a whiskey barrel.

In record time, the staining procedure will give your barrel a completely new appearance. I applied one layer of Minwax’s “Special Walnut,” a dark-colored stain.

3. Put everything back together.

How to make a whiskey barrel table.

Allow time for the stain to cure before reattaching the metal bands. To guarantee that the holes in the metal and the original nail holes in the wood are in the same orientation, line them up.

Whiskey barrel furniture ideas.

Reattach the metal bands with 1-inch wood screws.

4. Construct the Table Bases

Whiskey barrel chest.

The next step is to use the 212 board to make two table bases. I’d suggest cutting each base piece to the same width as the barrel’s widest portion. My boards were cut to a length of 27 inches.

Now we must cut the arc in the 212 board to provide a location for the barrel to sit. Because we desire a tight fit between the barrel and the base, this is one of the most difficult components of the project. If you have any more questions regarding this phase, check out the video lesson (at the bottom of the page) where I explain and demonstrate the procedure. The depth of the barrel where the base connects is 13 inches, as seen in the picture below. At that time, the barrel is 25 inches wide.

 

Whiskey barrel table plans.

Whiskey barrel base instructions.

Make a mark on the 27-inch-long 212 at 13.5 inches (halfway). (Depending on the size of your barrel, the exact measurement may vary.) The important thing to remember is that it’s in the middle of the length.) As indicated in the figure, I placed the mark 3 inches from the top of the board, intersecting with the center point. To achieve 12.5′′, divide the width of the barrel where the base will rest (25 inches in my instance) by two. Drill one little hole towards the top of a paint stick. Match the hole to the mark you made earlier. Drill another little hole 12.5 inches down from the first hole. The pivot point will be this little hole. To enable the paint stick to pivot, secure it with a tack or screw (into scrap wood). The top hole will be used to create your curving line using a pencil. (Watch the video for additional information.)

Whiskey barrel table base.

I used the paint stick as a compass, just to be clear. The arc will be drawn using a pencil in the top hole. The bottom hole serves as a pivot point and should be attached with a screw or tack to a spare piece of wood (in my case, a scrap piece of 212).

Whiskey barrel table legs.

Oofda! The arc measurements are now complete. It’s really rather easy, but expressing it may be difficult. This phase will be repeated twice more, with the arcs on the 212 bases being carved using a jigsaw. To smooth things out, use an orbital sander or an angle grinder with a flap disk. The angle grinder may be used to swiftly remove wood and sculpt the precise fit for your barrel.

Whiskey barrel coffee table tutorial.

Check the fit of the barrel on your base. Make sure the barrel rests level using a level and a tape measure. Make any necessary changes.

Wine barrel furniture.

Here’s a picture of the barrel in your new base. It should be a tight fit.

Staining whiskey barrel.

Using a cloth, stain the basic pieces. Microfiber towels have shown to be particularly effective in this situation.

How to make wine barrel furniture.

Pilot holes should be drilled through the barrel and into the base. The wood will not split as a result of this. Then use 3-inch wood screws to secure the barrel to the base. For each foundation, I used 3 to 4 screws.

5. Make the Apron for the Table

Whiskey barrel table.

Using 14 timber, construct an apron around the top of the barrel. My barrel was 37 inches long, so I cut two parts to the same length. It’s worth noting that the exterior of the 14 is flush with the barrel’s widest section. For the sides, cut two smaller pieces; mine ended up being 20 inches long.

Whiskey barrel chest tutorial.

To make a frame, join the 14 boards together. For this project, I used a Kreg Jig to drill two pocket holes on the ends of each short board, for a total of eight pocket holes. Attach the boards with 1 1/4-inch Kreg screws.

Attaching apron to whiskey barrel.

Attach the frame to the barrel with 1 1/2-inch wood screws in the center. Pre-drill pilot holes to prevent the wood from splitting!

 

Whiskey barrel helper.

It’s always helpful to have a second pair of hands in the business. Nala learned how to use an impact wrench from me. What a wonderful puppy!

6. Decorative Base Pieces: Make and Attach

Whiskey barrel table legs decorative.

To make the base’s feet, use a 12 or 13-inch board. Make them 2 inches longer than the 212 in length. I trimmed the feet to 29 inches and then beveled each end at 45 degrees since my 212 was 27 inches.

Whiskey barrel table legs attaching.

Use 1 1/2-inch wood screws or an air nailer to secure the feet.

7. Put the Tabletop Together

kreg jig whiskey barrel table.

It’s time to start constructing your tabletop! Because my whiskey barrel was 37 inches long, I opted to make the top planks 38 inches long. Because of the additional inch, the tabletop may overhang the base and create a lip on both sides. It’s easy to open and shut with the lip. For your top, cut four 18-inch boards in total. Drill pocket holes every 6 to 10 inches after that. 1 1/4-inch Kreg Jig screws are used to join the boards together.

8. Secure the lid support and hinges.

Whiskey barrel chest hinges.

Attach two chest hinges to the frame’s exterior. Make use of the screws that came with the hinge.

Whiskey barrel chest lid support.

Between the frame and the lid, attach the lid support.

Final Suggestions

Finish staining the boards that haven’t been coated yet, then coat them with polyurethane. Minwax’s oil-based polyurethane was applied in three thin layers. It provided a beautiful warm glow to the top while also protecting it from spillage.

Cheers! You did a fantastic job. Relax and appreciate your new furniture by sitting back and relaxing.

Diy Pete whiskey barrel furniture.

Diy Pete whiskey barrel table plans.

Diy Pete whiskey barrel table instructions.

Recycled whiskey barrel furniture.

Good luck with your whiskey barrel project and have fun!

View the project’s video tutorial:

 

View the project’s video tutorial:

Pete now lives and performs in Bozeman, Montana. He likes skiing, kayaking, jogging, flying aircraft, and hanging out with friends and family, in addition to all of his interests in the garage. He is the founder of diypete.com and has just launched a podcast to help people acquire new skills and express themselves more creatively. Take a look!

 

 

The “table top for whiskey barrel” is a process that takes about an hour and a half. The table top is made from the inside of the barrel, which is then covered in a layer of plywood.

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