need info to seal old wine barrel for dog house use

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Forum topic by tomana posted 07-13-2015 04:56 AM 4141 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2 posts in 1247 days

07-13-2015 04:56 AM

what is the best way to weather seal an old oak wine barrel so it can be used as a year-round dog house? I only get one shot at doing this so I need to make sure it will look right and be a permanent seal. Thanks …

16 replies so far

View SuperCubber's profile


1042 posts in 2482 days

#1 posted 07-13-2015 09:00 AM

This is a little bit out of the box, maybe, but I would think about sealing the entire inside with a coating like Rhino Lining, or something similar. That stuff is pretty much indestructible and made to be outdoors.

-- Joe | Spartanburg, SC | "To give anything less than your best is to sacrafice the gift." - Steve Prefontaine

View dhazelton's profile


2793 posts in 2495 days

#2 posted 07-13-2015 12:47 PM

Seal the inside or the outside? If outside there is no ‘permanent seal.’ If you want it to look natural use marine varnish and be prepared to sand and reapply every year. If you want it to be water tight it’s best to put another roof over it, maybe make a shed roof enclosure for it that gives poochie a place for shade and something to jump up onto.

View alittleoff's profile


541 posts in 1475 days

#3 posted 07-13-2015 12:56 PM

If it were mine and I wanted to keep it looking like wood, I would buy some clear caulking and run a very small bead in the joints. Then seal it with minwax exterior helsman polyurethane. Of course you’ll have to go over it with the polyurethane about every year or so. I’ve had it to last up to 2 and a half years depending on the weather.

View dhazelton's profile


2793 posts in 2495 days

#4 posted 07-13-2015 01:54 PM

Also – is that one of those door flaps that are weather tight for pets? You need an air vent somewhere.

View JayT's profile


5960 posts in 2409 days

#5 posted 07-13-2015 02:01 PM

The problem is that wine barrels are designed to only be sealed when the oak slats swell from the liquid contained within. Sealing the outside is going to be difficult (and definitely a +1 to the air vent if you do) I don’t know if doing a fiberglass and epoxy overlay, like what is done to the bottom of wood canoes, would work or not. It’d be waterproof, but I’m not sure how the changing seasons and wood movement would affect it.

-- In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. Thomas Jefferson

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 3506 days

#6 posted 07-13-2015 02:40 PM

If you don’t want the hoops to fall off when the wood dries out you should drill holes in them and use some fasteners that secure them to the oak. I made a bunch of barrel furniture back in the 60’s and always used 3/4” bronze ring shank nails after I drilled holes in the hoops. I still have one today, almost 50 years later that I kept..but it was not an outside piece…

As others have said there is no one time permanent finish you can use to seal it. Marine Spar Varnish would be best and it is an ongoing maintenance project.
Definitely do something for aid circulation… What is the inside of the barrel like? If it was used for whiskey aging it will have a charred burnt inside. Might get your dog a good buzz going…

View tomana's profile


2 posts in 1247 days

#7 posted 07-13-2015 08:16 PM

thanks for all the replies!

the inside does look burnt with a dark black ring inside at one of the ends of the barrel. As I was reading the clear caulking idea it came to mind; I have a small spray can of expanding foam. I can foam it, sand it then poly or varnish. I need to test the compatibility of the foam with the finish before committing to this method. The lining spray is good too, pickup bed lining. Will call to see how much $$$ they will charge. I may remove the door and then air supply will not be an issue.

Be well …

View dhazelton's profile


2793 posts in 2495 days

#8 posted 07-13-2015 11:22 PM

I wouldn’t worry about the char – if you put straw or other bedding in there I doubt it would be a problem. Expanding foam between the staves is a mistake – it will only make a mess. If you think you can put it on the inside it won’t really stick the way spray foam would. It’s a neat look for a dog house, I’d just keep it someplace protected from the elements.

View leatherstocking's profile


22 posts in 1250 days

#9 posted 07-14-2015 12:01 AM

Have to agree with hazel ton. No matter what you seal or caulk it with, the wood will move as moisture content goes up or down. Also like his idea of building a small roof over it.

-- John, BC, Canada. Wherever I go, there I am.

View Luthierman's profile


221 posts in 1285 days

#10 posted 07-14-2015 12:04 AM

I do log home restoration for a living (amongst other things) and using a caulk we uses to seal joints between logs would work really well for you. Permachink is the manufacturer, and energy-seal is the product line. It remains flexible, will take stain, and is a very hardy material. Give that a look.

-- Jesse, West Lafayette, Indiana

View Bluepine38's profile


3379 posts in 3283 days

#11 posted 07-14-2015 04:39 PM

Sikkens finish is about the best exterior finish I have found. The make stains and paint finishes, so you
should find one you like.

-- As ever, Gus-the 79 yr young apprentice carpenter

View Woodknack's profile


12430 posts in 2578 days

#12 posted 07-14-2015 06:15 PM

IMO, doing anything other building a separate roof will be a future regret.

-- Rick M,

View firefighterontheside's profile


19416 posts in 2055 days

#13 posted 07-14-2015 06:56 PM

How about just shingling the barrel to the point where the water will drop off and not land on the barrel.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View Yonak's profile


986 posts in 1719 days

#14 posted 07-14-2015 07:40 PM

tomana, I hope you’ve run this by your dog. It might smell horribly in there. Crawl inside and stay for awhile. If you can stand it your dog likely will, as well. Sealing the inside with shellac may help. Wear a respirator when you do it and don’t let your dog inside until the fumes have completely abated.

View Woodknack's profile


12430 posts in 2578 days

#15 posted 07-14-2015 08:44 PM

Yeah wine barrels probably smell terrible. Now a bourbon barrel, that would smell like heaven.

-- Rick M,

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