Splitting a whiskey barrel

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Forum topic by jwielinga posted 10-09-2014 12:12 PM 5646 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1 post in 746 days

10-09-2014 12:12 PM

Topic tags/keywords: barrel whiskey coffee table

I am trying to split a whiskey barrel in half length wise. I am trying to make a coffee table, and i do not how to split the barrel. Is it smarter to screw the bands in and cut through them? Or should i take the bands off and reassemble it?
I appreciate every ones help.

6 replies so far

View mahdee's profile


3462 posts in 1188 days

#1 posted 10-09-2014 02:04 PM

You probably can use duct tape on both side of the band and remove the band. Then you have to come up with a second band for the other half.


View FellingStudio's profile


93 posts in 1103 days

#2 posted 10-09-2014 02:42 PM

From my understanding of barrel construction which is admittedly slim, the steel bands around the barrel are what hold it together, so cutting through them will cause the barrel to fall apart, as will removing them. I would guess that screwing through the strap to the staves, then cutting the strap will keep the half barrel intact. If you take them off, you will be faced with a tricky glue up to reassemble.

-- Jesse Felling -

View 2Dusty2's profile


44 posts in 752 days

#3 posted 10-09-2014 02:59 PM

If it were me I would screw the staves and bands together. Trying to reassembele a wooden barrel is very frustrating. I know because I have been down that road. For one thing what would you use to hold the barrel staves in place, are you planning to manufacture something a cradle that serves as legs. I am trying to visualize the finished piece can you provide a picture.

-- Cheers

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 2729 days

#4 posted 10-09-2014 03:13 PM

You can also use small ringshank nails to hold the staves to the metal straps. They will be less noticeable and hold great. I made quite a few barrel tables and furniture years ago and the one in the photo is one that I made around 1969 and still have it in my living room. It is easy to make two tables out of one barrel. You should glue the ends together.

View Nomad62's profile


726 posts in 2379 days

#5 posted 10-09-2014 03:24 PM

Once the staves are attached to the bands you could use a “saws-all” with an appropriate blade and cut thru it all. A little clean up and you’ll be good to go. Greg, very nice tables!

-- Power tools put us ahead of the monkeys

View Loren's profile


8159 posts in 3068 days

#6 posted 10-09-2014 04:32 PM

I would remove the hoops, cut the top and bottom in half
and the re-assemble both halves together using glue
and using the hoops to clamp the glue. Afterwards
remove the hoops and cut them in half for looks
if desired, then reattach using screws or nails. You’ll
have two glued half-barrels. I would put additional
glue blocks inside at the corners, perhaps using
pocket screws.

I built conga drums in my youth.

It may be possible, depending on the size of
the barrel and stave thickness, to pocket screw
the staves together. At some point it may become
awkward to drive the screws due to the emerging
shape though. A flexible screwdriver shank
would help that… weird tool. I have one around
some place. Sears probably sells them.

Pinch dogs can also be used, though the end
grain will be marred.

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