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How to Make a Wine Barrel Sink   25 comments

This step by step description should help anyone create a beautiful outdoor (or indoor) bar sink from a discarded wine or whisky barrel. This is your typical 55 gallon barrel, I bought for $30  from John at Quinta Ferreira  winery in Oliver, BC. You will need some tools, so I will list them as we go.

finished sink

The next time you are in wine country, and you have finally convinced the vintner to sell you a barrel, you are well on your way. Next you will need a small bar sink. This one was $45 from a new & used building supplier.

typical 55 gallon wine barrel

New (old) wine barrel

With your tape measure, centre the sink in the top of the barrel. Either end of the barrel will do, so pick the best end for the top. Orient the sink the same direction as the end slats. Trace the outline with a pencil, remove the sink and measure in 1/2″ on the ends and 3/4″ on the front and back so your cutout will be smaller that the outline of the sink.

Trace the outline of the sink, and the inner cut-out line

drill corners of the cut-out

drill corners of the cut-out

cutting the hole to drop in the sink

Cut out the hole with a sabre saw.

The top opening of barrel will be your workspace

You may want to lightly sand the edges of the opening, because you will be spending some time leaning into this hole.

Drop in the sink to check the fit

Now drop the sink in gently, and check the fit. Adjust with your saw, if the hole is too small. You don’t want the hole too large of the fit will be sloppy.

On the back side of the sink, as you have determined which is the back side, drill 4 small holes just inside the two metal hoop straps, on a stave joint. This is in preparation for the access door into the barrel, for plumbing, and storage access. The reason for the holes to to locate where to saw the top and bottom of the door.

Drill 4 holes on the stave joints, 7 staves apart

Looking through the top hole, look for the 4 drill holes. These will be the corners of the access door. Get some Simpson Stong-Tie straps, and 1/2″ Robertson screws, and fasten straps about 1″ inside the top & bottom holes, and about 1/2″ inside stave joints. Hint: As this is an awkward way to work, use Robertson square drill screws to hold on the impact driver bit.

Fasten galvanized straps to hold stave access door together

To create the access door, use a hand saw to cut along the metal hoop straps from drill hole to drill hole. Only top and bottom cuts are required because the stave joints are only butted and will come apart. Fasten metal one tie-strap to the outside of the access door.

Cut between the drill holes, just inside the straps.

Once the cuts are started with the hand saw, they can be finished off with your sabre saw.

Access door comes out in one piece

Now your project is read for stain. Use a sponge sanding block to remove grunge, mold, stains, and the like. A good even sanding will really bring out the character of the wood. This barrel is oak, and the sanding and water based stain will bring it to life. I used a foam brush, stroke in the direction of the grain, and wipe excess off with a cloth as your go.

Once the wood stain is dried a couple of days, mask off the barrel to paint the metal barrel hoops. I chose a satin black enamel. This is the time to fasten hinges and a door pull. For hinges, you will want a long strap style hinge, and position them towards center, in from the top and bottom edges of the access door. This will allow for the distorted swing caused by the curvature of the barrel. If the hinges are too close to the top and bottom edges, it will stress the hinges. Add a barrel bolt to keep the door closed.
Screw strap style hinges to the door, and mask off barrel to paint the metal barrel hoops. Our barrel is now all stained and door hardware is fastened.

Our barrel is now all stained and door hardware is fastened.Our barrel is now all stained and door hardware is fastened. Now we can add some plumbing. I used a discarded single handle Delta faucet from a past kitchen renovation. Note the right side cold inlet will be the only side used and the hot left stem will be capped off.

Single stem kitchen faucet with cold-only side right. Hot left is capped off

Water is supplied by a 1/2″ PEX waterline run underground from the house. (more on this below). The PEX line is terminated at a regular garden hose shut-off valve, on a screw-mount base. You will need a female hose thread to 3/8″ faucet stem coupling to connect. I found one for $2.39 at Rona.

For drainage of our sink, I clamped on an 1 1/4″ flexible shop vacuum hose. More on where this goes below.

Drain stem goes to an old vacuum hose

I decided I wanted underground water supply to my outdoor sink, rather than a tacky looking garden hose attached to trip over. This takes some effort and planning to source the water from the house. I chose to put a tee connection on the closest inside basement cold water line, and inserted a shutoff immediately after the tee. I then ran a PEX plastic and then copper through the wall of my basement, and terminated at a hose bibb. Just before the hose bibb, I soldered a tee downward which would be my water source.

Water source for our outdoor sink

Connection to the house is in fact the last connection to make in the line, but I prefer to show it in reverse order

PEX waterline from the house
underground waterline under the bricks

Open all the valves starting at the sink, and going backwards to the source. Be sure to seal all threads with silicone thread tape. Check all connections and solder joints for leaks. Basin is stuck in place with plumber`s putty. Roll the putty out into long worms and place around the hole in the top of the barrel. Press down firmly on the sink. You can fasting it down with hold down screws which hook under the sink on welded tabs.

Check all connections and solder joints for leaks

You will notice a side table attached to my sink. This was an afterthought after I finished, which worked out well. It is a teak fan tail off a small boat, which washed up on the shore of our lake after a big storm. It sat around for years waiting to be used in a project.

fan tail from a boat for a side table

I traced the outline of the barrel onto the fan tail and cut out the crescent with a sabre saw.

trace outline of barrel, and cut out crescent with sabre saw

It fit snug and just below the rim of the barrel, but need some support from some wood brackets and added hooks that fit into the support brackets on the fan tail.

side table in place on the barrel

Lastly, you will need a drainage connection to your sink. Unless you are spilling sewerage and toxic chemicals down the sink, which this was never intended for, draining into a rock pit should satisfy the City fathers. I tied into a 4`inch yard drainage system with a 1.25 inch drain line and some elbows.

drain connection

Finally, we are done, and ready to call the guests over for a few brews, some bbq steaks and never again have to run in the house to wash the raw chicken off your hands.

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Posted November 13, 2011 by mondolake in wine barrel sink

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