Build a Wine Barrel Table

Materials for Project:

1.) sand paper grits 40, 80, 120, 240

2.) matte black paint

3.) 3 or 4 coach bolts with washers and nuts

4.) drill and drill bits

5.) 3 or 4 wood screws

6.) small nail or tacks

7.) hammer

8.) jig saw (reciprocating saw)

9.) clean rags

10.) your favorite timber finish

11.) angle grinder, with sanding disc

12.) about 2 hours

The Barrel:

I found a half barrel the local pub was throwing out. It was almost ready to fall to pieces as two of the bands had fallen off and the top one was also ready to fall off. It would be very difficult to reassemble, so I carefully put the bands back on, and took it home. I was not sure what to make until I saw the nice graphics on the top, so I sanded the top back and put furniture oil on it. It looked good so I decided to keep the graphic which would mean keeping the top intact. My first thought was a coffee table, but as the project progressed, the missus said she liked the height of the table and would like it on the deck next to her chair.

Remove Bands and Paint:

I removed the top two bands with a hammer and a block of wood and then cleaned with thinners. I hung them from the roof with wire and spray painted them matte black. I also painted the heads of the coach bolts.

Grind Sharp Edges:

I decided to make the table with three legs as they don’t rock around on uneven surfaces. I marked out the three slats that are going to be used for legs. I then made sure the bands were straight and tight and drilled and screwed the three slats to the bottom band so nothing would move in the next steps. The top band had quite a sharp edge on it, so I used a grinder with a sanding disc to remove the edge.

Sanding and Oiling:

I used four different grit sand papers starting with 40, then 80, 120 and 240. I only sanded the top and the top of the sides and the legs. You could probably do this step last, but I put a coat of my favorite furniture oil on, so it would be under the bands, helping protect the timber from spills and moisture. Just use a rag to rub the oil on.

I only oiled the surfaces that were not going to be removed.


Next I drilled three holes big enough for my jig saw blade to pass through.

Cutting Out The Legs:

Next, I cut around the bottom line the second band had left. I found the oak was very hard and difficult to cut with a dull blade. I should really have put a new blade in the saw, but the store was closed. Don’t forget to leave the the legs uncut. The waste wood can then be removed.

The barrel with the (now painted) top hoop refitted and legs cut out.

Fitting the Second Band:

The second band can now be fitted. I knocked it down with a hammer and a block of wood and drilled three holes through the band and the legs into which the coach bolts were fitted.

Secure Top Band:

To help keep the top band in place, I drilled 3 small holes and nailed in some carpet tacks as they had an old style black head which matched the look of the table.

Close up of carpet tack holding top hoop to table.

Close up of the coach bolt holding the second hoop to the table.

Remove the Bottom Hoop:

Now that the table has been bolted together, the bottom band can be removed and the legs sanded and finished off. The missus likes the height of the table, but it could be cut down for a coffee table.

More Sanding:

The legs are sanded before more oil is applied.

Finished! The table is sturdy (even though the curve of the staves may give the impression that it is not) and great for serving drinks.