How to Finish a Used Whiskey Barrel

Transform an old whiskey barrel into a trash can or rain barrel, use it to store firewood or as furniture. Whiskey barrels offer many other indoor uses and are available from home improvement stores for around $30. Make a used whiskey barrels look new with a little cleaning, sanding and a coat or two of polyurethane sealer.


Step 1

Find a work space with good ventilation.

Step 2

Check barrel hoops. If they are not secure, tighten with screws and fasten to barrel staves.

Step 3

Clean the barrel hoops with a wire brush, removing any rust. Clean the whiskey barrel with a wire brush or sander, removing any splinters or debris.

Step 4

Drill four or five holes in an x-pattern in the bottom of the barrel for drainage. Use a 1-inch wood drill bit.

Step 5

Use tack cloth or rag to remove all sawdust and debris on the whiskey barrel.

Step 6

Apply an anti-rust primer to the barrel hoops. Protect the whiskey barrel wood with tape or paper while painting to avoid getting primer on the wood.

Step 7

Protect the whiskey barrel hoops with tape. Stain the wood of the whiskey barrel. Lightly sand the stained wood after dries. After sanding, use a tack cloth to blot excess saw dust. Apply another coat of stain and let dry.

Step 8

Apply the first coat of polyurethane sealer and let it dry completely. Lightly sand and use the tack cloth to blot excess debris. Apply a second coat of sealer.