Recrafting An Old Wine Barrel – Stain And Prep

Sneak peak on a special order – Part 3

Taking a dilapidated old wine barrel and making it look better than new is a challenge when it has an end of it that is rotten – as we stated when we started this project.  Plus the wine barrel had previously been stained and painted which made the work all that more tedious.


There are at least two bands left on a barrel at all times while staining and sealing.

Now we take the barrel and remove some of the hoops off so we can stain and seal using a darker stain than we normally apply.  We call this color leather because it gives the wine barrel the look that it is encased in leather.  As we go along, we move some of the hoops (or bands) off and replace them with others to keep the barrel together, waiting between times to let the stain and sealer on the barrel dry.

And we should note ever so importantly that we can’t take all the bands off or the barrel would come apart and that isn’t a pretty thing to have happen – think of the funniest comedy scene you’ve ever saw.  Yes, we’ve been there and don’t want to do it again.

Now that we have the barrel stained, we will need to prep the barrel with the hoop bands on it and ready the bands for paint.  Again, we will use burgundy on this one which makes it meld into the barrel for a more subtle look.  The owner of the barrel wanted that particular kind of appearance.  By the way, go to our poll and give your opinion of what color you think would look the best.


The bands are in place and prepped with paper and tape used to keep the band paint off the wood.

Having had a classic restoration business, we know all too well how much time and effort goes into prepping, which is one of the most unrewarding jobs to do.  We use the county rag (San Luis Obispo Tribune) for cover – it has to be good for something.

We will paint next and then let dry before buffing and shining it up a bit.  You can see how that goes with what should be our last installment of ‘Recrafting An Old Wine Barrel’.

Salootie Patootie!

Ron and Daryle Hier





4 thoughts on “Recrafting An Old Wine Barrel – Stain And Prep

  1. Dan

    Hello, nice article. How do you put the rings back on after you have stained and varnished? All the videos I have seen require beating the heck out of them with a hammer and block to get them back on. Wouldn’t that ruin the newly stained/varnished wood staves?


    1. PasoDr Post author

      It’s really not tricky – just two simple things we do. First, you have to have a rubber knocker to move your hoops down, as they don’t tend to chip or make any marks. Second, when we do have a scratch or two, we just take a small paint brush and dab sealer and then varathane on them. Thanks for the interest! – Daryle


  2. Chris Stevens

    Great article, my question is how do you clear up the surface of the old barrel, sandind ? Or soap water or sand blasting ?
    Western Australia


    1. PasoDr Post author

      We give most every barrel a quick wipe or wash. After the hoop bands are sanded and taken off, we use a belt sander on the oak barrel. Thanks for asking. – Daryle



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