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In 2014, we posted a short article about how we turned a bourbon barrel, previously used to age Old Rip Van Winkle bourbon, into a corner bar table for displaying bottles.

Modern Thirst Bourbon Barrel Table Project

ModernThirst recently did our second official Barrel Selection with The Party Source in Bellevue, KY. This time, we selected a barrel of one of my favorites: Elijah Craig. We also got to keep the barrel, which I decided to again turn into a pub table. Unlike the previous project, I needed this one to replace an older pub table I wasn’t too fond of. So it needed to be higher, not on wheels, and with a bigger top.

First things first, a pub table needs to be bar or counter height, placing it around 40-42 inches high. A whiskey barrel is only about 36 inches high, so I needed to build a base. I needed to add 4-6 inches in height. After searching around, I decided to use pre-built materials, all purchased from Amazon.com. I purchased a round pine edge-glued tabletop that was 24 inches in diameter, knowing that the barrel itself was about 22 inches at the head and base. It is about 3/4 inches thick. I also purchased a set of 4 sofa/furniture feet that are 3 1/2 inches in height, along with mounts for the feet. That put me at about 5 1/4 inches in total added height.

Next was the table top. I went with a tabletop that was the same size as the pub table I was replacing so that it took up the same amount of space in the home bar. Again, I turned to Amazon, and ordered a 30 inch glass tabletop that was 3/8 inches thick. I also used silicone pads to place the tabletop on the barrel.

Total height added: about 5 1/2 inches

Now came the assembly. I used wood stain, a foam brush, screws, drill/driver, ruler, 90 degree tool, and pencil.

First, I had to find the center of the base. That’s a simple matter of a ruler, right angle tool, and a pencil

Next, I stained it and added the foot-mounting hardware:

Then came the barrel. Barrels are heavy, and they’re usually dirty. So I hauled it home, unwrapped it, and wiped it down with a wet towel before driving screws through the metal bands into the wood to keep them from slipping as the barrel dries and shrinks.

The last part was assembly. The feet screwed into the mounting plates. So I turned the barrel upside down and centered the base over the barrel. I drove long screws through the base into the barrel to keep it solidly on the base. I turned the barrel back over and added the silicone pads to the top of the barrel’s edge, and placed the table top on the barrel. Voila! Bourbon barrel pub table!

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About Author

Bill is the Co-Founder, Editor-in Chief, and official Bourbon-o-Phile for ModernThirst.com, and Founder and Chief Blending Officer for Four Gate Whiskey Company. He is a native of Louisville, KY in the heart of Bourbon Country. He attended the University of Kentucky in the mid to late 1990s. He has also been published on Liquor.com. He has conducted various bourbon and whiskey tastings in cities across the country, and consulted for multiple national labels. He is married with two daughters, and lives in east Louisville. You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter @BillStraub and email him at Bill@ModernThirst.com.

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