Mesquite Buckets

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Project by John Millikin posted 04-03-2010 01:34 AM 2579 views 9 times favorited 27 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’ve been making buckets for about 30 years. I make other things too, but coopering is my favorite craft; blacksmithing is a close second. I started making mesquite buckets about 20 years ago, and haven’t been able to stop. They’re much harder to make than a pine bucket but the result is worth the effort. I have other stuff on Etsy: mesquiteforge. Enjoy, jack

-- Jack

27 comments so far

View Popsnsons's profile


341 posts in 2024 days

#1 posted 04-03-2010 02:19 AM

Nice workmanship Jack…That mesquite looks really good. My only experience with it is soaking chips for the BBQ.

-- Pops ~ In So Cal...

View Frankie Talarico Jr.'s profile

Frankie Talarico Jr.

353 posts in 2399 days

#2 posted 04-03-2010 02:40 AM

those look great. You form all the metal from scratch? Authentic quality, I got to say these remind me of the good ol’ days. Nice buckets…...

“My bucket’s got a hole in it….....”

-- Live by what you believe, not what they want you to believe.

View TJCROSS's profile


149 posts in 2041 days

#3 posted 04-03-2010 03:00 AM

Very Nice!


#4 posted 04-03-2010 03:03 AM

Cool, i didn’t this wood!

-- Charles-Etienne Sauvé-Faucher, Ebéniste.

View RichardH's profile


295 posts in 2045 days

#5 posted 04-03-2010 04:25 AM

Your Mesquite and Iron works have great rustic beauty. I love mesquite and it just looks at home the way you’ve crafted it. Very nice craftmanship.

I’m curious how you got started making buckets and how long it takes you to create one?

-- "It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it...It's the hard that makes it great."

View speedingtickets's profile


34 posts in 2176 days

#6 posted 04-03-2010 05:22 AM

Fantastic workmanship! I love the qualities of the Mesquite coupled with the metal work.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


16494 posts in 2719 days

#7 posted 04-03-2010 06:05 AM

lookiin good!! Welcome to LJ,

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Splinterman's profile


23058 posts in 2404 days

#8 posted 04-03-2010 06:45 AM

Hey jack,
Sweet job…well done.

View JohnnyW's profile


83 posts in 2073 days

#9 posted 04-03-2010 11:07 AM

I think that has to be the finest bucket I’ve ever seen. Great craftsmanship.

-- John

View michelletwo's profile


2444 posts in 2059 days

#10 posted 04-03-2010 12:13 PM

thanks for sharing an “old” craft with us..that mesquite sure makes those buckets look special.

View remy97's profile


206 posts in 2057 days

#11 posted 04-03-2010 05:36 PM

i love it!, the iorn metal really give it a nice look

-- ---ray suppan--- anger + woodworking = -finger AHHHHHHHH!!!!

View lazar's profile


85 posts in 2331 days

#12 posted 04-03-2010 08:09 PM

Nice work.


View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 3204 days

#13 posted 04-03-2010 10:00 PM

that is so beautiful I wouldn’t want to use it .. but since I like to use all my treasures, what a pleasure it would be to carry this around.


-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View WilcoFlier's profile


57 posts in 2056 days

#14 posted 04-03-2010 11:01 PM

Dou you use a lathe to get the inside smooth and flat?


View John Millikin's profile

John Millikin

15 posts in 2019 days

#15 posted 04-03-2010 11:17 PM

Thanks again for your nice comments. I’ll try to answer a few questions. I started making buckets in 1980, plus or minus, after reading an article in Fine Woodworking about an old Swiss guy who had been making them for a living his whole life. The story reminded me that we always had a bunch of wooden buckets laying around the farm that we were always tripping over. I found out later that my granddad kept buying these from an old friend of his who needed the money—just a way to help out. I tried my first bucket in pine and it came out “ok”, but it wouldn’t hold water, and it wasn’t too pretty. It was very challenging, and it took a lot of buckets before they were consistently watertight and true. I do use a lathe for the final sanding, but the buckets are round and smooth from plane work. It takes 6 hrs to make a pine bucket and 22 hrs to make a mesquite bucket. later, jack

-- Jack

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