• We invite you to join UKWorkshop.
    Members can turn off viewing Ads!

Best finish for barrel planter

UKworkshop.co.uk

Help Support UKworkshop.co.uk:

RedQueenie

Member
Joined
8 Sep 2015
Messages
15
Reaction score
0
Location
Cheshire
Hiya, I was hoping someone may be able to give me some advice on how best to restore/finish a barrel planter I been given. I think it is oak but not 100%. It has a tab with R A & Lister on it.

I don't want it shiney and new and was think maybe an oil and wax. Is this the way to go?

I'm not planning for it to go outside but it will eventually have a plant in it. It does have an aluminuim tray.

The bottom looks like it's been repaired in the past and the wood is curved, not to sure why and again should I try anf fix it or leave well alone?
 

Attachments

marcros

Established Member
Joined
11 Feb 2011
Messages
11,168
Reaction score
664
Location
Leeds
I have just bought one of these to use outside as a little pond. I am fairly certain that yours will be oak, I haven't seen any that are not but you never know. May be white oak or European oak depending on where it was made, but it won't make any noticeable difference.

Personally I would pin the bands on so that they don't slip. These things are strong when wet because they expand a bit but when they dry out they can get a bit loose. Mine isn't finished and for outside I wouldn't bother. They look a bit odd with weathered wood and painted bands, but each to their own. For inside, the people making furniture from barrels seem to sand heavily and stain and/or oil. You lose the character but it is still obviously a barrel. I would probably use a hard wax oil or tung oil but there are various options. The challenge may be sanding it as much of the furniture is sanded then assembled so yours may be fiddly in places.
 

AJB Temple

Finely figured
Joined
13 Oct 2015
Messages
3,523
Reaction score
753
Location
Tunbridge Wells
Looks like it has been decked out as a log or coal bucket.

If you intend to use it as an actual planter, it will rot from the inside eventually.

If you really want apply a finish to the outside, I would probably just buff some wax on, but I think really they are best left natural.

I used to use whole oak barrels as feed storage for horses. The slight dampness kept the staves in place and they were rat proof with heavy lid.
 

toolsntat

Yep, I collect tools and tat
Joined
8 Dec 2007
Messages
1,901
Reaction score
220
Location
Leicestershire England
This has been previously left to dry out too much and the head (bottom) shrank in its width dropping out of its croze (groove). I dare say it was repaired by adding the blocks to stop this .
The blocks are too big for for the job, unless it had cupped by that much.
A periodic wetting would have stopped this and a good soaking may reverse it but there may now be damage to the croze and head edge.
Cheers Andy
EDIT just looked at pictures again and the bottom may be beyond reinstating as made.
 

RedQueenie

Member
Joined
8 Sep 2015
Messages
15
Reaction score
0
Location
Cheshire
Thank you all for getting back.
It does seem to have dried out quite a bit. Would using tung oil give a some moisture back? Would I also need to sand before I do anything?
 

AJB Temple

Finely figured
Joined
13 Oct 2015
Messages
3,523
Reaction score
753
Location
Tunbridge Wells
No. Barrels are made to be wet. Ie full or beer or wine or spirits, and that is what keeps the wood swollen and tight. A bit of oil will make no difference. Submersing it in water for a few days might help it swell up again. Then you have to stop it drying right out again.

You might be better off just accepting that it is now a weakened structure.
 

RedQueenie

Member
Joined
8 Sep 2015
Messages
15
Reaction score
0
Location
Cheshire
Thanks again for getting back.
I want to use it more as a decorative item with a plant in a pot placed inside so the inside it doesn't need to watertight. I just want to show off the wood and look it to look less dried out.
I like the idea Marcros suggested with the tung oil and wax. What difference would using this make compared to either just using oil or wax on its own? How would they look different and does it do anything different/beneficial to the wood?
Sorry for all the questions
 

marcros

Established Member
Joined
11 Feb 2011
Messages
11,168
Reaction score
664
Location
Leeds
Wax on bare wood soaks in and looks dull quickly so you would need to seal it first. The oil is providing this sealing coat, but you could use a sanding sealer instead. You could use the oil on its own, and may as well do so to start with. The wax adds a softer sheen to the oil so if you feel it needs it, as stage wax later. The oil needs to cure first anyway. There are many ways to skin a cat and it depends a bit on what you want to achieve.

Have a look online at the oils available and a comparison of the effect that it has on oak. The colour change is less with tung than others, but you might want a more golden time that a linseed oil containing oil will bring (boiled linseed oil or Danish, don't use raw linseed).

Depending on the time and effort that you want to put into it, and whether you want it to look new, it might be worth disassembling and sanding the parts separately. Mark them up first so you know how they go back together. It isnt a quick job though. I have got a barrel end to make a lazy Susan from and it is amazing how much grime was on it. A wash using hot soapy water removed some of it, but the oak underneath is still weathered and oxidised (is grey and still dirty looking). If I get a chance to go to Screwfix later and get some tung oil, I will wipe it over the underside of a piece so you can see the before and after. I am not sure myself how it will look on this old oak.
 

RedQueenie

Member
Joined
8 Sep 2015
Messages
15
Reaction score
0
Location
Cheshire
Photos would be great if you get a chance.
I'd loved to take it apart but my other half isn't too keen on me trying. He's convinced I'd never get it back together :)
 

marcros

Established Member
Joined
11 Feb 2011
Messages
11,168
Reaction score
664
Location
Leeds
IMG_20200626_201725__01.jpg


So this is a piece of the end of an oak wine barrel. If relevant, it is the inside face which touched the wine. I assume it was white wine because it isn't stained.

Areas 1 have been washed with hot soapy water and a clean dish sponge. You can see that there are still some water/liquid marks and it is very grey.

Area 3 was sanded with a bit of 180g. It was smooth to the touch. There was a mark on the wood that somebody had used for alignment so I used that to divide the section. The marker pen is to help me reassemble the parts.

On 2 and 3 I wiped over some rapeseed oil. I couldnt get anything suitable when I went out, this is literally all the oil that I have in the house/garage. It will be more yellow than others I think. DO NOT USE IT YOURSELF, it is not suitable for more than this experiment.

I hope that you can see in the picture that the oil has significantly darkened the oak. It has not disguised any mark or imperfection, if anything it has highlighted them. So be very aware of any knocks, dings, scratches, marks, scuffs, torn grain. The sanded section appears darker than the non sanded. I hadn't notices that the sanded section was any different to the rest of it prior to applying the oil, so I was quite surprised when it looked so different after the oil.

Your barrel looks fairly uniform in colour, more so than my piece, and less grey.
 

Attachments

marcros

Established Member
Joined
11 Feb 2011
Messages
11,168
Reaction score
664
Location
Leeds
my issue is that there are markings and paint on the face side that I want to retain, so I cannot really sand mine.
 

RedQueenie

Member
Joined
8 Sep 2015
Messages
15
Reaction score
0
Location
Cheshire
Thank you so much. I really like part 3 that you have sanded and oiled. It seems to have much more character than 2.
Having taken it apart will you have to soak it to get the rings tight? I saw they did this on a 'Repair Shop' recently? :)
 

marcros

Established Member
Joined
11 Feb 2011
Messages
11,168
Reaction score
664
Location
Leeds
that would make sense on the barrel, I hadn't really thought about it. on the end, I have no rings, it is just a circular flat piece, made up of 7 or 8 strips of various widths. it was dry when I got it and had been bodged together with some wire nails. I hope that with some glue it will align ok.
 

Latest posts

Top