Tools and Materials

Before starting any project, it’s important to have a good idea of the tools, skills, and materials you’ll need. To build the wine barrel chair, you’ll need moderate woodworking skills and a familiarity with the following tools:
  1. Electric sander (random orbital probably the best option).
  2. At least one electric drill. Two (or a quick switch drill/screwdriver bit) preferable.
  3. Decent set of drill bits. The exact sizes you’ll use will depend on the hardware you pick, but I used one each of 7/64, 3/8", and 3/4”.
  4. Normal handheld wood saw.
  5. Some type of electric saw. I used a miter saw, a table saw would be good too, circular saw or jigsaw would be doable but harder.
  6. All of the clamps! Seriously. You could conceivably be using 13 (or more!) at once, depending on choices you make. You’ll want at least 10 that can open to 2”.
  7. Hammer.
  8. Vice grips or large-ish pliers (for taking apart the barrel).
  9. Flathead screwdriver (for taking apart the barrel).
  10. Jigsaw (optional, for wine glass notch).
  11. Pocket screw jig (optional, makes your life easier in a few places).
  12. Adjustable strap.
  13. Not really a tool, but you’ll want a large, flat working space that you can clamp to.
If nothing in that list looks intimidating, then you’re in great shape! Now, here are the consumable supplies you’ll need per chair:
  1. 4X 3/8"x3” carriage bolt, plus 4X nuts and washers.
  2. 1-lb box 1-5/8" outdoor screws. I used star-head deck screws. The exact number used is highly variable, but this box will do one chair with screws to spare.
  3. 1-lb box 2” outdoor screws. Use the same as above so they match. You’ll use fewer of these than the shorter ones.
  4. Outdoor-quality finish. A barrel is about 25 square feet, so you want enough to cover that. I used a marine-grade varnish, and when that ran out Penofin Verde because a friend had some left over. Something with a lighter stain is better so you don't obscure the wine color too much.
  5. Brushes, gloves, paper towels, etc for putting on the finish.
  6. Lots of sandpaper. Barrels are typically pretty dirty and need a lot of sanding to look nice. You’ll want a lower grade (40-80 worked for me) for a first pass, then something higher (80-150) for the final pass.
  7. A barrel!
That’s it! Not too bad, right? It’s actually a pretty simple project, as far as these things go. Next we’ll talk about some general things to think about when getting a barrel.