Wednesday, August 24, 2016

A Barrel of Fun Project!

I owe this barrel of fun project to my cousin, Amber. She posted a photo of a wine barrel porch light and I fell in love with it. I couldn't stop thinking about. However, wine barrels can cost between $110 - $250 a piece. That's a little out of my price range. So, I kept looking and finally got a fantastic deal at my favorite antique store for this barrel. It is a little smaller, was missing a ring and of course you can see one of the ends is missing.

I found a place in Salt Lake City that sold barrel rings individually. They couldn't match the width of the ring already on the barrel, so I bought two wider rings that matched. They were under $5.00 a piece. The first thing I did was sand the barrel to accept the finish.

Next came coming up with a design. I have punched enough tin that I knew how difficult this project could be. I kept the pattern simple. I didn't want a pattern that would be seasonal, like the snowflake pattern on the photo Amber had posted. I came up with this design.

I enlarged it to the size I needed for each section and photocopied the design.
I decided on the spacing between the patterns. Don't panic if it doesn't turn out exactly perfect. The spacing on the last pattern is 1-1/2 inches between instead of the one inch on the rest. It's hardly noticeable. Just make sure you start at where you intend the back to be. If you don't end up with a full pattern, try repositioning. I just taped the pages (8-1/2 x 11 inches) right to the barrel with scotch tape.

It is extremely important to have the right drill bits for this project. I used brad-point wood drill bits; a 15/64 for the smaller holes and a 3/8 for the larger holes. Just center the point of the drill bit right in the middle of the hole on the paper pattern. Make sure your holes aren't going to be too close.
Drill directly through the paper pattern. Don't worry if the paper hole tears bigger than the drill bit size. It will look fine underneath on the wood.

Here is the very first completed pattern.

What was so awesome about this project was my enthusiasm was contagious. My youngest son wanted to dive in and help. He had inherited his uncle Randy's drill and was just itching to give it a try. After he gave it a go and liked doing it, we headed to our local Harbor Freight store and bought a second set of drill bits ($14) so we could both be drilling at the same time. We had lots of fun, and he was so proud to use his uncle's tools.
I used my dad's old drill, wondering if it was the same drill he used when he installed our swap cooler and drilled through his index finger.  Oh, the memories! 

And, of course, I couldn't have done this project without my husband. While we were drilling, he built the platform and light stand to go inside. I don't think I even asked him. He loves lighting. He treasures his antique lightbulb collection, and when we go to the hardware store, he always gets detained on the lighting aisle.

He used LED bulbs to make it more energy efficient and to keep it cooler.

So, here is the completely punched barrel with a test run on the lights. We blew out the holes with an air compressor. Each pattern took about 10 minutes to drill. We did it in an afternoon.

Next came the finish. I used Watco Golden Oak danish oil. This old wood was very dry. It took several coats. I finished the barrel with two coats of Minwax Tung oil. These are my favorite products on all wood projects. We turned it upside down and used the bottom for the top.

I just love it! And, what made it special was we worked on it together. Whatever you do, have fun doing it!

Cindy A. Christiansen
Sweet Romance, Humor, Suspense...and Dogs! 
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