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How To Build A Whiskey or Wine Barrel Liquor Cabinet

How To Build A Whiskey or Wine Barrel Liquor Cabinet

In this video, we show you how to make a wine or whiskey barrel liquor cabinet with nothing but a drill, hacksaw, and circular saw. The process is simple and you should be able to finish the project in an afternoon.

Below is a list of materials we used.

Whiskey/Wine Barrel Liquor Cabinet Materials

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Whiskey/Wine Barrel Liquor Cabinet Tools

Whiskey/Wine Barrel Liquor Cabinet Instructions

The first step in this build is obviously going to be finding a barrel. There are multiple places to find old barrels, from flea markets to distilleries to wineries. Look around your local area for the best prices. If you buy a barrel that is still viable, meaning that it still actually holds liquid without leaking, you're probably going to overpay. You're also going to cut a hole into a perfectly good barrel, which is just wasteful. Your goal is to find an older barrel that is no longer useable for brewing, winemaking, or distilling. Expect to pay anywhere from $50 to $150.

Generally, these older barrels are going to be a bit rickety due to the wood shrinking over time, which is caused the staves drying out. This was the case with the barrel we used on this build. To rectify that, we tightened the hoops (the metal bands that run around the barrel) by hitting them towards the center of the barrel with a rubber mallet. We removed the two inner hoops during this process, as they would have blocked access to cutting the hole for the door. After tightening the remaining hoops, we drilled four ⅝" holes per hoop around the circumference of the barrel and inserted the carriage bolts. Obviously, you won't be able to put the nuts on at this point but the bolts should stay put due to friction.

After the barrel is reinforced, it's time to cut the hole for the opening. We used the hoops on either end to run our circular saw against and this worked out perfectly. We made the door wide enough to end at the edge of a stave on each end; that way, we only had to make horizontal cuts. You can finish up the cut with a flush trim saw if necessary, but the circular saw should do the trick. After the cut is complete, the staves will most likely fall right through into the barrel. Prepare yourself for the cloud of char dust. You don't want to breathe that stuff!

After the opening is cut, you can add the nuts to the bolts. You will want to use some lock washers on the inside as well, which will help the nuts from digging too deeply into the wood and will keep the bolts from loosening over time. You'll also want to add the other two hoops that we removed earlier. Just tighten them in the same way as before, drill the holes, add the bolts, nuts, and lock washers, and trim them flush to the opening with a hacksaw. You might want to file the edges of the cut hoops as well, as they can be left fairly sharp by the hacksaw.

Once the nuts and bolts are fully installed, it's time to add the shelf. This is as simple as screwing the four corner braces to the inner wall of the barrel and then screwing the shelf onto the braces. Measure up from the bottom of the barrel to make sure your corner braces are at an even height and space the braces evenly. Predrill the holes to avoid splitting the wood and then drive in the screws. After you screw everything together, you're done! Load it up with whiskey and admire your handiwork!

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