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New Ottoman For the Barrel Chairs

Hi everyone,

A great way to relax and enjoy the beautiful weather.

It has been a while since my last blog but finally I found sometime today to inform you guys about my new Wine Barrel Chair Ottoman. It has been in the making for the last few days, and now its all done and ready for marketing. The demand for these ottoman has been pretty high, almost all my wine/whiskey barrel chair customers have been asking if I have made some before. The funny thing is I have been designing it in my head for a while, it was just hard for me to find the time to sit down and put it down on paper. Especially while so many orders were coming in and keeping busy. Luckily I caught up with all my work in ahead of schedule and made it happen.

The Design:  There were a couple things I had to keep in mind while creating this ottoman. First, they had to have matching appearances. I integrated the chair’s features by basically recreating the whole lower half but in the dimension that will be adequate as a footrest. Second; using scraps and extra pieces of staves. Since I really enjoy trying to use a barrel 100%,  I keep all my cut-off pieces just in case. Accumulating stacks of staves that were between15-18  inches long have seemed like the perfect opportunity to use them. This piece will complete your set.Third and most importantly was comfort. Many factors went into this part. The height I made the same as the chairs seat in order for the person to have maximum contact between the two pieces because no one wants to turn their legs into a bridge while trying to relax. The back stave curves along with chairs front one, therefore the whole ottoman fits perfectly in front of the chair with no additional gaps. I have made the legs and frame open towards the front because people don’t just like to sit with their legs straight forward. We like to put them in all sorts of directions and you’ll find it hard to do that on a little skinny one. Last, you will notice that the surface is actually bowing upward unlike the chair. This is a great feature as well because your legs will be supported even more through out its surface.

Whiskey Barrel Ottoman bottom view    Whiskey barrel Ottoman top view.

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Making a Wine Barrel Chair

PART 1 – Picking out the barrel

Making  wine barrel chairs is really enjoyable  and fun, but there are some helpful things you should know that will make your project go even smoother. I’m going to talk about few little hints that I picked up along the way which will have you working with barrels like pro.  First and for most is snagging up a barrel. A good place to look for some are of course local wineries, give them a call to see how much they have and what the prices are. Another good place is home improvement stores, you’d be surprised on how many places will have them just sitting in the outside garden section waiting for some one to turn them into planters or whatever. If you still did not find one then there is always a chance in the local news paper ads or the Internet publication like Craigslist. I know its a long shot but you never know. Once you finally hunted one down its time to pick the right one. What I look for in a barrel are a few things: Make sure that there are a minimum of 2 stave that are 4″ wide which you’ll need for the arms. I find it important to have the arms of my chairs nice and wide to keep it looking in proportion. Next some barrel have the bung hole still plugged up, try to find one that isn’t because there is a good chance that the inside is very moist and might make your sanding job a bit more messy. But if that’s the only one don’t worry, just break the barrel down and let it dry for a while. Another benefactor of having the hole uncovered is that you will be able to tell what the barrel contained wine or bourbon. ( Also you might be able to identify what was inside by finding the companies name or logos on the top or bottom.) Now that you decided on you barrel its time to take it back to your shop. If you have a pick up truck that is a simple process, just throw it in the back but make sure you tie it down very well no body likes to play Donkey Kong in real life, ha ha. If you only have a car and don’t mind it getting dirty a little breaking down a barrel is a cinch. All you need is a hammer and flat head screw driver. Just pop out the nails (there are two in each ring) then hammer the rings off by working it on both sides, a little at a time. IMPORTANT! – When you place the screw driver between the ring and barrel try to put it where two staves come together, that way if any damage occurs its only in area where you’ll have to sand anyways. Will talk more about that in part 2. Now that you have the barrel back in your shop, I say congratulation because in my opinion the hardest part is over.


PART 2 – Getting Started ( Coming Soon)



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New Material Available for the Adirondack Chairs

A little bit ago, I had a few customers asking me what other type of wood I have used to make my chairs besides my usual Sequoia (redwood). The more I thought about it, the more I realized I have not really ventured out and worked with any hardwoods and any exotic woods. Well I think its time for me to start and we are going to jump right into it with some of the worlds finest and most durable species of wood. I am going to talk about their characteristics along with some general information.

Cypress– I am going to kick things off with Cypress, which is a moderately hardwood and has good strength and stiffness. It has medium bending and crushing strength.  It works easily with hand and machine tools, holds screws well, glues satisfactorily, sands easily and accepts finishes readily.  The heartwood contains oils that make it very durable when its exposed to moist weather. It grows on the east coast of the USA.

Jatoba–  Also known as Courbaril, West Indian locust and Brazilian Cherry Wood. It is very hard, tough and strong. Can be moderately difficult to work with because of its hardness but with skill can be bought to a great finish. It can be stained well and its gluing properties are good along with its steam-bending properties.  Jatoba is durable and very resistant to dry-wood termites and is very popular for furniture. It grows in the West Indies, South and Central America.

African Mahogany-  The wood is usually light pinkish-brown when freshly cut, darkening on exposure to a deep reddish color, often with a purple cast. The grain is typically interlocked but can be straight. Swirly figures are often present and the texture is variable. Resistant to shock loads and its generally easy to work with. It turns, sands, bores, glues and nails satisfactorily. Also it stains and polishes very well. The heartwood is highly resistant to preservatives. Its grows in the tropical areas of West, Central and East Africa.

Sapele– This wood is in the mahogany family also called scented mahogany, aboudikro, penkra and sapele mahogany. It has a very high crushing strength and is fairly easy to work with. It bores, routes, carves, nails, screws, staines, varnishes and paints very well, and sands great.  The wood can exhibit an attractive range of figure, with ribbon, bee’s-wing and regular stripe on quarter sawn stock. Typically used for musical instuments, window frames, furniture and boats. It grows in West, Central and East Africa.

Purpleheart– This wood is definitely one of my favorites. It is hard, dense and heavy, with high crushing, stiffness and bending strength. It glues, waxes, stains and polishes well. When freshly cut it is bright purple then turning a deep purplish brown color on exposure. It is straight grained but can be wavy or irregular. Purpleheart is highly durable and very resistant to decay fungi and dry-wood termites. It is used in quality furniture, boat building, billiard or pool cue butts and heavy exterior construction. It grows in Central America and northern South America.

Teak– The mother of all woods, ha ha. Most Teak is a dark golden-yellow that turn to a rich brown with darker, deep brown markings. The distinct narrow to medium-width sapwood is white to pale yellow. The grain is typically straight but sometimes wavy and feels oily to the touch.  It is a hard, medium density wood that is strong,  incredibly durable and has a high crushing strength. Working with it is relatively easy but it does have a severe blunting effect on cutting tools.  Amazingly Teak is acid and fire resistant due to its silica content. Very resistant to termites and fungi and an excellent material for outdoor furniture. it grows in Burma ( Myanmar) India, Indonesia, Thailand, and Java; also Malaysia, Borneo, Philippines, Central America and tropical Africa.

I hope this information was beneficial and helped guide you in the right direction of what type of wood you would like you furniture to be made from. If you are interested in prices you will have to contact me because prices at lumber yards tend to change often and some lumber may have to be special ordered. 

Thank you for stopping by   T H E   H U N G A R I A N   W O R K S H O P    and have a great day!



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New Coffee Table Design

Table on the grass  New Coffee Table
Last week I was finishing up a full set order, and realized that so far I have made small changes and improvement on all my pieces except the coffee table. I did not want to steer away from my original top because I have received so many positive comments. That is why I mainly just focused on its legs. Wanting to get away from the thicker exterior furniture look and more like a slender interior piece, I first decided to use more narrower legs.  Then, I positioned the legs evenly apart to keep the tables stability high like to original piece. This time when it came time to connect the legs I put the braces on the bottom in a stylish cross pattern. The table top is attached to the legs with a pocket hole system and the octagon slats are secured from the bottom as well. From underneath this method fairly resembles the side table’s design. Finally l used a 1/2″ rounder over bit on all the edges, except for the center octagon. That’s because I want the slats to be thick as possible and top piece at a more plane surface.  Its funny how sometimes the simplest change can make such a big difference.

Table behind bush  





C O M I N G  S O O N : 

Have your favorite Adirondack Chair made out of :

Spanish Cedar, Cypress, Jatoba, Mahogany, Sapele, Purpleheart & Teak!!!

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Wine and Whiskey Barrel Chairs are a great hit in San Diego

Wine barrel chairs with the back fanning in.Wine Barrel Chair with the back fanning out.

The wine and whiskey barrel chairs are a great hit! I cant believe how well they are selling and I cant wait to make more. Making these chairs has been a lot fun but sometimes they can also be  a little tricky. I feel like every time I make one, I learn something new. There is so much to take in consideration, like not one barrel is same as the other, each stave can be different in shape, size and color. That is why before assembly I really have to go through and pick out the right pieces for the right spot. Buying the barrels for some can be difficult at times too, but luckily here in beautiful San Diego we have plenty of wineries near by to keep us craftsman busy. To my surprise most local lumber yards keep a few in their inventory at all time, saving me quit a bit of time and money on traveling. The barrels I picked out for these chairs were used for red wine which explains the woods amazing deep purple and burgundy patina.

I wish I could have taken some better pictures but as soon as they were done, they were sold and out the door!

I already have a few new orders and I am planing on doing an instructional video on how I build these very comfortable and durable chairs.

So be sure to come back and visit us soon!!!


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San Diego Union Tribune

UT San Diego Feature on Hungarian Workshop

UT San Diego Feature on Hungarian WorkshopTwo weeks ago I had a photographer ask me if it would be alright for him to shoot a couple photos while I was working, I of course agreed not knowing or thinking twice where this would lead me. I was so caught up in finishing my  project that I didn’t even pay much attention to him.

He followed me around the shop, taking pictures while I was using all sorts of different tools. After about 20 minutes of me feeling like a celebrity with all the pictures being taken, he walked up and asked me to spell my name for him and describe what I was working on. It was right around this point when it finally hit me, “wait a sec, this guy is from the San Diego Tribune and he is asking questions from me?!” After a brief  conversation he left and I got back to business with my new whiskey barrel chair.

Hungarian Workshop is In the papers!!!

That Sunday I received a call from my friend Pete, he was asking me if I have seen the paper because I have apparently got the cover with not only one but with two photos. I could’t believe what I was hearing, so I ran out to the nearest market to pick up a few copies. Seeing my name and those pictures has definitely boosted my morale and now I am even more eager to strive forward with my business and become successful.

To see the finished whiskey barrel chair please visit the new product section of the website or look at my previous blog posts.

Thank you and I hope you come back and visit us soon.

-Balazs Moldovan


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Whiskey Barrel Furniture?

Last week I had an opportunity to work with some used wine barrel staves which was a blast mainly because it was hard wood (white oak) that I never worked with and also because it was very different approach to furniture design. This was the first one I made. Will there be more?Usually I draw up a plan and start with brand new material that I can cut in anyway, but not this time. It was like having all the puzzle pieces but I had to create a whole new picture. Before I got started I figured it would be a piece of cake, I mean how hard is it to make a chair since all the pieces are already there, ha ha. Boy, I was wrong. I totally forgot to put in consideration that not all pieces are alike in any shape, size or color. It took a little time to sort through and find all the right pieces for the project, but once I did, I was ready to begin. Wine barrel staves chair in the front yard of a house that is over 150 years old.First I started with legs and because the design was pretty similar to my Adirondack chairs, I didn’t have a lot of trouble with the measurements.  Once I got the frame standing all the other pieces just started falling into place. The Kreg jig also gave me a helping hand, like always I don’t have any plugs or visible hardware. After a few hours and a little tinkering my first chair was done. I had multiple people all sizes test out my new creation and I received 100% positive feed back. Not one person disliked a single thing about the chair. This has definitely opened a new door for me and I am ready to create more pieces using this great material.

My First Wine Barrel Staves Chair by the blacksmith's shop

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10 More for Stone Brewery



This is the best spot in the beer garden where you can relax and drink a cold one.                                     Stone Brewery Escondido, CA     Photo: Austen MoltenWell, it looks likes Stone really liked my first 2 chairs because I just dropped off 10 more for their beer garden! Summer is definitely off to a great start for the Hungarian Workshop. It was prefect timing because the day of our delivery had happened to be their first movie night for the summer. The whole place was packed full of people having a good time enjoying their delicious food and great beer. My friends and I started bringing in the furniture before the movie even got started and to my surprise as soon as the chairs legs touched the grass, they were immediately taken over my Stone’s customers! This is definitely one of my favorite chair.             Photo: Austen MoltenThat made all my hard work feel totally worth it and it just felt great to see everyone relaxing in my chairs. We even had a chance to go around and have a little photo shoot and everyone was delighted to pose for a few pictures. Before we left, Frank Busic gave me a big barrel of used wine/whisky barrel staves to see what the Hungarian Workshop can create so be sure to visit us next week to see our new line of barrel furniture! As always, have a wonderful day and I hope to see you back here at the Hungarian Workshop.Here are some satisfied customers.  Photo: Austen Molten


Thank you,

Balazs Moldovan