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How To Care For Whiskey Barrel Furniture

“Find out how to care for whiskey barrel furniture from the pros.”

How To Care For Whiskey Barrel Furniture by the Hungarian WorkshopSo I am guessing you own some of our items and now you are looking to find How To Care For Whiskey Barrel Furniture. Don’t worry it’s very simple. You should’t have too much to worry about unless your furniture is covered with varnish. Thats when the grunt work will come into play which might leave you just blowing off proper maintenance. In this blog I will go over the simple procedures and the difficult ones, hoping it will help your Whiskey Barrel Furniture last for many more years to come.

Lets start with you chair, table or stool is graying and drying out. The first thing you’d want to do is check through and make sure none of the major joints have become separated and the furniture is still structurally sound. I probably don’t have to tell you but if something is broken please replace before doing anything else. Once we are all good with the furniture frame we move onto a light sanding. Using a 150 grit sandpaper you’ll want go through all gray areas to bring back that nice oak’s colors and patina from the barrel. Most likely its going to be the flat surfaces that take the most sun damage. (Arms, seats, backrest) Always sand with the grain of the wood and wear some protective gloves from splinters. Keep in mind there is a general rule of thumb on where to place these furniture even when kept out doors. I will go over this important subject as well.

How To Care For Whiskey Barrel FurnitureOnce you have the chair looking the way you like its time to apply the oil finish. NO VARNISH! The oak needs to be moistened to keep from drying out and cracking. A varnish finish will just protect the surface from UV rays and the wood will still become brittle and weak. IF you still want to stand by a varnish finish by all means go ahead just make sure you cover the entire chair. I mean EVERY nook and crevice. The material must be sealed of completely for it to last. But again keep in mind that no matter what, throughout time the moisture will escape one way or another and with a layer covering the piece there is no way to refinish unless you are ok with stripping it all off.

The oil I prefer and stand by is called Penofin. They make a wonderful outdoor hardwood finish which is made from Brazilian Rosewood Oil. Provides excellent protection from weathering. Teak Oil is another good alternative along with Tung Oil or you might be able make your own secrete concoction if you know one. When applying the oil the furniture must be out of the sun. I’d say do it at nighttime right after the sun has set and then the piece can dry overnight. Apply heavily throughout and let sit for 15-20 minutes. Then with a dry rag wipe away all excess thats built up. You must wipe that away otherwise it can dry on the surface creating a top coat. Trust me, you don’t want that. It will leave blotchy shinny areas you will have to sand away.

How To Care For Whiskey Barrel FurnitureI recommend repeating these steps seasonally but it’s really up to where you keep the furniture. Which brings me to this very important part of the blog. Where to keep you furniture. I understand you want to keep them outdoor but at least I must insist you keep them in a covered structure. The #1 enemy here is the sun. The sun will do far more damage than rain or anything else. When kept in a cover patio the refinishing most likely can be cut down, but I still recommend always doing it just to ensure the products life. Any furniture kept indoors will have virtually no problems. Unless kept by a big bay window of course. For indoor finishes use mineral oils and beeswax once or twice a year. Simple formulas available at local hardware stores.

Well I hope I didn’t leave anything out, if you have any questions please feel free to ask.

Thanks for stopping by and have great day.

-Balazs Moldovan


how to care for whiskey barrel furniture



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How to care for wine barrel furniture

“Restore and learn how to care for wine barrel furniture the right way.”

The Wine Barrel Love Seat (How to care for wine barrel furniture) - Hungarian WorkshopTaking care of outdoor furniture doesn’t have to be a hassle. Most importantly if you keep up with a simple maintanace routine, the job should never turn into a long weekend chore. In this “How to care for wine barrel furniture” blog I will go over a couple maintenance techniques, what products to use and the ideal places to keep your Wine or Whiskey Barrel furniture during the seasons to minimize the ware and tare.

Oil Finish

With our barrel furniture I use an oil finish. Brazilian Rosewood Oil by a company called Penofin to be exact. An oils finish will absorb into the wood and protect from the inside. I find this to be the best because of the simple application and great protection it provides. Not to mention, 90% of my customers like a natural kind of finish with no glossy surfaces. Any oil finish (Teak Oil, Tung Oil Linseed Oil, etc.) will work well as long as you apply it periodically. The rule of thumb I go by is when water stops beading up on the woods surface, the wood starts to gray or when it feels dry to the touch, then it is time for a fresh coat. You can apply oils with a brush, rag or sprayer. Just be sure to wipe away the extra build up.

Whiskey Barrel Bench (How to care for wine barrel furniture) - Hungarian WorkshopVarnish

When you use a varnish maintenance is very very low. Pretty much once you apply it, you most likely won’t have to do anything for minimum a year. But in reality, that depends on the type of varnish you go with. If you decide to go this route I recommend using a heavy duty marine varnish (Sikkens, Man-O-War. etc.) for maximum durability, because when it’s finally time to re-finish the furniture there will be a lot of sanding. The last thing you want to is to go through this process often. Different type of varnishes are available and all home improvement centers and boating stores. Since I pretty much never use this stuff I highly encourage you to go online and see what others prefer and use.

Whiskey Barrel Furniture (How to care for wine barrel furniture) - Hungarian WorkshopLocation

Where you keep your barrel furniture is very important when it comes to the life expectancy of the product. Obviously keeping them indoors away from any weathering is the best. When you place them outside be sure to put them in a covered patio area with minimal sun shine. Be aware that the sun will always do far more damage than rain because white oak is naturally durable agains moisture. (Hence the reason why it’s used in barrel making) Keeping them off grass that get water a lot is vital. Many lawn furniture will start rotting on the bottom from being in a spot where it can never fully dry. If you happen live in an area where there is harsh winters, think putting the furniture in storage or buying a cover for season.

If you have any other question about how to care for wine barrel furniture please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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-Balazs Moldovan


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Making a Wine Barrel Chair: TOOLS

So now that you are back in your work space with the barrel staves lets talk about a few tool you’ll need to make your job easier.

The Miter Saw is going to be your workhorse, not one staves goes without getting cut by this tool. This is by far the best and fastest way to clean up your barrel staves. To get all the correct angles and taking a small amount of material at a time, use a 40-60 grit sand paper.

Drum/Flapper Sander – This tool is excellent for cleaning up the staves. First, you’ll want to run the wood through the sanding bladder (left side which you can control the hardness by an air pump). Sand the whole surface and the sides real well, but makes sure not to go over board. You don’t want to start taking off any of the natural discoloration that the barrel has collected over the years. Then I like to sand down the edges a little too to get rid of any sharp corners. When you think the piece is acceptable for use, go ahead and run through the flapper which will give it an extra smooth finish and buff out any marks left by the sander. For each barrel I like to spend between 60-90 minutes cleaning to ensure quality.

Bench Sander  – This tool will come in handy when you need to take away quit a bit of material that is too small for the miter saw. Besides, with most of the pieces you will have to play with a little at a time anyways to get that perfect fit. You want to make sure you are using sand paper that is real course ,40 or 60 grit should do it. Free hand work where you are mainly measuring with your eyes on what angle to sand and how much to take off can be a little tricky at first, but with a little trial and error you will pick it faster than you think. The key is to remember that all pieces are going to be different, you don’t need to have everything exactly the same measurement. As long as the chair is not wobbling and looks good, don’t worry about the tiny imperfections that only you ( who built the chair) knows about and a tape measure.

Miter Saw – A saw like this is absolutely necessary for this project because 90% of the staves will have to be cut on way or another. A really important thing to keep in mind while making cuts to a stave is safety. Obviously the material you are cutting is not flat and even the edges are at a miter so the wood will not always have enough support, which needless to say can make working a little risky. So make sure you keep a good firm grip on each piece and easy into each cut nice and slow.

Band Saw – I mainly use it when its time to cut the front  stave in the seat. It work perfectly since the whole entire cut is at a curve. But an easy alternative to this tool is just a Jig Saw. That will do the job also but now you’ll need to hold down the material with clamps. A band saw will also help you out if you don’t have a rough sander to take away material and you can also make any intricate cuts that might be needed.

Drills – It’s pretty evident that you will need to drill holes and drive in screws, therefore don’t even think about starting without a good set at hand. I usually use two just because I like to keep one ready for drilling pilot holes and the other to drive in the screws. It may not seem like it but have to switch out bits during work will take up a lot more of your time than you think.

Kreg’s Pocket Hole Jig –  Using pocket holes will make it much easier for you to put joints together and will conceal the hardware. This is not an absolute have to but if you are like me who dose not like too many screws out in the open you will find it useful as well.  Just remember to set it up for the right depth and width of the material.

Clamps – The clamps will help you out tremendously when you are putting the pieces together. Not having to hold a drill in one hand and the stave in the other will needless to say make your job easier and less frustrating.  Also I’m the kind of guy who likes to make sure everything fits just right and look perfect before committing with the glue and the final hardware.


If you have any additional question please don’t hesitate to send me an email. Thank you for stopping by and have a great day. 

-Balazs Moldovan


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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)